Sunday, June 26, 2011

Subprime meltdown culprits
...ACORN, for example, has used the CRA as leverage to compel banks to create pools of loans for low- and moderate-income families. Its efforts have generated about $6 billion in loans to these borrowers, while also generating funds for ACORN’s nonprofit housing corporation....

The Purposeful Flooding of America's Heartland
...But after about thirty years of operation, as the environmentalist movement gained strength throughout the seventies and eighties, the Corps received a great deal of pressure to include some specific environmental concerns into their MWCM (Master Water Control Manual, the "bible" for the operation of the dam system). Preservation of habitat for at-risk bird and fish populations soon became a hot issue among the burgeoning environmental lobby. The pressure to satisfy the demands of these groups grew exponentially as politicians eagerly traded their common sense for "green" political support....

...Greg Pavelka, a wildlife biologist with the Corps of Engineers in Yankton, SD, told the Seattle Times that this event will leave the river in a "much more natural state than it has seen in decades," describing the epic flooding as a "prolonged headache for small towns and farmers along its path, but a boon for endangered species." He went on to say, "The former function of the river is being restored in this one-year event. In the short term, it could be detrimental, but in the long term it could be very beneficial."...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Did Obama Really Prevent A Second Great Depression?
...IBD reviewed records of economic forecasts made just before Obama signed the stimulus bill into law, as well as economic data and monthly stimulus spending data from around that time, and reviews of the stimulus bill itself.

The conclusion is that in claiming to have staved off a Depression, the White House and its supporters seem to be engaging in a bit of historical revisionism.

Economists weren't predicting a Depression.

White House economists forecast in January 2009 that, even without a stimulus, unemployment would top out at just 8.8% — well below the 10.8% peak during the 1981-82 recession, and nowhere near Depression-era unemployment levels.

The same month, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that, absent any stimulus, the recession would end in "the second half of 2009." The recession officially ended in June 2009, suggesting that the stimulus did not have anything to do with it....
Blue State Schools: The Shame of a Nation
When it come to excellence in education, red states rule — at least according to a panel of experts assembled by Tina Brown’s Newsweek. Using a set of indicators ranging from graduation rate to college admissions and SAT scores, the panel reviewed data from high schools all over the country to find the best public schools in the country.

The results make depressing reading for the teacher unions: the very best public high schools in the country are heavily concentrated in red states.

Three of the nation’s ten best public high schools are in Texas — the no-income tax, right-to-work state that blue model defenders like to characterize as America at its worst. Florida, another no-income tax, right-to-work state long misgoverned by the evil and rapacious Bush dynasty, has two of the top ten schools.

Newsweek isn’t alone with these shocking results. Another top public school list, compiled by the Washington Post, was issued in May. Texas and Florida rank number one and number two on that list’s top ten as well.

There’s something else interesting about the two lists: on both lists only one of the top ten public schools was located in a blue state. ...
The Status Anxiety of Liberal Elites
Remember when any self-respecting liberal thought the 1950s was an era of blatant social injustice, mind-numbing conformity, obsessive anti-communism, systemic racism, sexism and harrowing sexual repression? Michael Barone (subscription required) is just the latest right-of-center pundit to notice how fondly liberals suddenly remember the 1950s. In case you haven't noticed, they're now being remembered as the "golden years“ when "[i]ncome distribution was significantly more egalitarian than it is today” and liberalism was a vibrantly democratic movement because “Americans had far more confidence in big government” than they do today. Barone brings this all up to remind us that, like all nostalgia, liberal nostalgia is the product of selective memory.

If anything, he understates how selective. Could any level-headed liberal really prefer the political economy of the 1950s and early 60s to our own? If the social distribution of benefits and burdens in the 1950s was so great, why did liberals need to wage the War on Poverty in the sixties?...

...Permit me a little armchair social psychology. You’ll notice that the testimonials to political economy of the 1950s aren’t coming from rank-and-file Democrats, most of whom probably can’t imagine living without their air-conditioners, micro-computers, ATM cards and cell phones. They’re coming from liberal intellectuals, like Paul Krugman, whose 2007 book Conscience of a Liberal (“CoL”) is arguably the locus classicus of highbrow liberal nostalgia....

...Notice that Krugman’s burnished memories have as much to do with the social status of liberal ideologues as with the realization of substantive liberal values. ...
Video: Guy with four kids [Al Gore] endorses “fertility management” to save the planet

The Failure of Al Gore: Part One
...Gore has the Midas touch in reverse; objects of great value (Nobel prizes, Oscars) turn dull and leaden at his touch. Few celebrity cause leaders have had more or better publicity than Gore has had for his climate advocacy. Hailed by the world press, lionized by the entertainment community and the Global Assemblage of the Great and the Good as incarnated in the Nobel Peace Prize committee, he has nevertheless seen the movement he led flounder from one inglorious defeat to the next. The most recent, failed global climate meeting passed almost unnoticed last week in Bonn; the world has turned its eyes away from the expiring anguish of the Copenhagen agenda.

The state of the global green movement is shambolic. The Kyoto Protocol is withering on the vine; it will almost certainly die with no successor in place. There is no chance of cap and trade legislation in the US under Obama, and even the EPA’s regulatory authority over carbon dioxide is under threat. Brazil is debating a forestry law that critics charge will open the floodgates to a new round of deforestation in the Amazon. China is taking the green lobby head on, suspending a multibillion dollar Airbus order to protest EU carbon cutting plans....

...But while some forms of inconsistency or even hypocrisy can be combined with public leadership, others cannot be. A television preacher can eat too many french fries, watch too much cheesy TV and neglect his kids in the quest for global fame. But he cannot indulge in drug fueled trysts with male prostitutes while preaching conservative Christian doctrine. The head of Mothers Against Drunk Driving cannot be convicted of driving while under the influence. The head of the IRS cannot be a tax cheat. The most visible leader of the world’s green movement cannot live a life of conspicuous consumption, spewing far more carbon into the atmosphere than almost all of those he castigates for their wasteful ways. Mr. Top Green can’t also be a carbon pig....

...If the heart of your message is that the peril of climate change is so imminent and so overwhelming that the entire political and social system of the world must change, now, you cannot fly on private jets. You cannot own multiple mansions. You cannot even become enormously rich investing in companies that will profit if the policies you advocate are put into place.

It is not enough to buy carbon offsets (aka “indulgences”) with your vast wealth, not enough to power your luxurious mansions with exotic low impact energy sources the average person could not afford, not enough to argue that you only needed the jet so that you could promote your earth-saving film.

You are asking billions of people, the overwhelming majority of whom lack many of the basic life amenities you take for granted, people who can’t afford Whole Foods environmentalism, to slash their meager living standards. You may well be right, and those changes may be necessary — the more shame on you that with your superior insight and knowledge you refuse to live a modest life. ...

...Consider how Gore looks to the skeptics. The peril is imminent, he says. It is desperate. The hands of the clock point to twelve. The seas rise, the coral dies, the fires burn and the great droughts have already begun. The hounds of Hell have slipped the huntsman’s leash and even now they rush upon us, mouths agape and fangs afoam.

But grave as that danger is, Al Gore can consume more carbon than whole villages in the developing world. He can consume more electricity than most African schools, incur more carbon debt with one trip in a private plane than most of the earth’s toiling billions will pile up in a lifetime — and he doesn’t worry. A father of four, he can lecture the world on the perils of overpopulation. Surely, skeptics reason, if the peril were as great as he says and he cares about it as much as he claims, Gore’s sense of civic duty would call him to set an example of conspicuous non-consumption. This general sleeps in a mansion, and lectures the soldiers because they want tents...

...The average citizen is all too likely to conclude that if Mr. Gore can keep his lifestyle, the average American family can keep its SUV and incandescent bulbs. If Gore can take a charter flight, I don’t have to take the bus. If Gore can have many mansions, I can use the old fashioned kind of shower heads that actually clean and toilets that actually flush. Al Gore looks to the average American the way American greens look to poor people in the third world: hypocritically demanding that others accept permanently lower standards of living than those the activists propose for themselves....
Don’t tinker with the NHS. Completely rethink it
...The recent BBC Panorama exposure of abuse at the Winterbourne View hospital for people with severe learning disabilities near Bristol suggests that the debate about NHS reform is taking place in a parallel universe far removed from the realities of the healthcare system....

...Supporters and critics of the government health reforms are united in a sentimental and complacent outlook towards the NHS that takes no account of the experience of patients at institutions such as Winterbourne View. Though conditions there may be extreme, there have been reports of poor standards of care affecting other patient groups, including the wider population of people with learning disabilities and mental-health problems, the elderly, children, women in childbirth – substantial sections of society and those with the greatest need of healthcare....
How did Obamacare get so screwed up?
...If this issue is any indiction, we have a clue as to how Obamacare got so screwed up. Those who drafted and now tout it have a shaky understanding of how markets operate and a built-in preference for top-down management. But it turns out that millions of people making individual health-care decisions are a lot smarter than the bureaucrats who constructed such a massive structure that no one can be expected to understand it and its consequences. Who knew?
Did climate scientist James Hansen personally benefit from public office?
The American Tradition Institute’s (ATI) Environmental Law Center filed a lawsuit Tuesday to force the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to make public ethics records for global warming activist and chief climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies James Hansen — to ensure that he did not use his public position for personal gain.

According to ATI, over the past four years Hansen has earned an estimated $1.2 million from outside opportunities.

ATI hopes to find out if NASA approved Hansen’s external endeavors and if his gain was a result of his “taxpayer-funded employment,” as he allegedly began making this money when he increased his amount of global warming advocacy – specifically in the years following a 2006 “60 Minutes” interview in which the climate scientist accused the Bush administration of “censoring” his warming views....
Another ATF gun used in a murder
CBS News has confirmed that ATF Fast and Furious “walked” guns have been linked to the terrorist torture and murder of the brother of a Mexican state attorney general last fall.

Two AK-47 variant rifles were found at the scene of a shoot-out with the murder suspects. Sources say the weapons were part of the controversial ATF program in which agents allowed thousands of guns to fall into the hands of suspects trafficking for Mexico’s drug cartels....

Operation Fast and Furious — How the Obama Administration Conned the Washington Post
...On December 13, 2010, the Post ran a story about U.S. gun dealers with “the most traces for firearms recovered by police.” The Post included “the names of the dealers, all from border states, with the most traces from guns recovered in Mexico over the past two years.” The Post did not reveal where it got this information, but pointed out that Congress passed a law in 2003 exempting the trace information maintained by the ATF from public disclosure. So the Post had to have gotten this information through a leak directly from the ATF (or by illegally hacking the ATF’s records, a far-fetched and highly unlikely scenario).

Two of the gun dealers the Post’s story assailed were Lone Wolf Trading Co. in Glendale and J&G Sales in Prescott, Ariz. Lone Wolf Trading is number one on the list for Mexican traces; J&G is number three.

However, at the time the ATF was apparently leaking this information to the Post, both of these dealers were cooperating with the ATF in the Fast and Furious Operation. When Fox News talked recently to the owner of J&G, Brad DeSaye, about the ATF’s disastrous operation, he said that when he questioned the ATF about whether the agency wanted the gun shop to sell to the cartel front men, the ATF said, “Keep selling.”...

Issa camp says Washington Post wrong on Gunrunner story
...A Wednesday Washington Post story used anonymous Justice Department sources to bash Issa’s investigation into Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious.

The anonymous sources claimed that Issa attended a classified April 2010 briefing for members of Congress and their staffers about the programs that have allowed American guns into Mexican drug cartels’ hands.

Issa spokesman Frederick Hill told The Daily Caller the Post is the first newspaper to run these DOJ claims, but not the first one the Justice Department went to with them.

“We have had people who have contacted us before the Washington Post,” Hill said. “They told us people in the Justice Department were trying to push this story and I think a number of publications didn’t think it was credible or, for whatever reason, decided not to run it.”

Hill said there was a briefing that Issa attended back in April 2010 on a similar subject. “There were questions at the time about the number of U.S. weapons that were ending up at Mexican crime scenes,” he said. “Basically, [it was about] the efforts of the ATF to stop cartels from doing this.”

Did Project Gunrunner or Operation Fast and Furious come up at that briefing at all? Hill says “they certainly did not.”...

‘Gunwalker’ Goes Pravda: White House Unleashes MSM
...The Washington Post has printed a character assassination piece targeting Issa which PJM sources confirm had been shopped around to other news outlets and blogs by the Obama administration since the House Oversight Committee hearings last week.

The administration-authored Post story attempts to claim that Rep. Issa, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform which issued the damning report last week about Gunwalker, had been briefed about the program a year ago and had no objections to it at that time.

The evidence for this claim? There isn’t any....

ATF Round Up
...Imagine the DEA telling pharmacists to illegally sell oxycontin to known drug dealers or they would be shut down. Then imagine the DEA using the fact that more oxycontin was on the street (and hundreds of overdose deaths) as a pretext for making it harder for patients to get prescribed narcotics. This is essentially what happened with the ATF and Project Gunwalker...

[ATF] The gang that couldn't sting straight
...The idea behind Fast and Furious, which was run in 2009 and 2010, was to track "straw purchaser" gun buyers in Arizona and link them to major weapons dealers south of the border.

What happened instead was that hundreds of high-powered weapons -- including AK-47-style semiautomatic rifles -- wound up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels while ATF agents essentially stood by and watched.

And two of those weapons turned up at the scene of a shootout in Arizona that took the life of Brian Terry, a Customs and Border Protection agent.

"Although my instincts made me want to intervene and interdict these weapons, my supervisors directed me and my colleagues not to make any stop or arrest," said ATF agent John Dodson. He told the House Oversight Committee last week that he was ordered to "keep the straw purchaser under surveillance while allowing the guns to walk."

His claims were backed up by two other ATF whistleblowers -- one of whom, Peter Forcelli, said that "to allow a gun to walk is idiotic," adding: "This was a catastrophic disaster." ...
Private emails detail Obama admin involvement in cutting non-union worker pensions post-GM bailout
New emails obtained by The Daily Caller contradict claims by the Obama administration that the Treasury Department would avoid “intervening in the day-to-day management” of General Motors post-auto bailout.

These messages reveal that Treasury officials were involved in decision-making that led to more than 20,000 non-union workers losing their pensions. ...
Clinton and Weiner
...But liberals, wipe those self-satisifed smiles off your faces. How many times in the past 15 years have you ripped into Republicans for trying to impeach President Clinton over his sexual indiscretions and untruths? Somehow all these Democratic leaders who have spent years painting Ken Starr and the congressional GOPers as waging a puritanical crusade against the will of the people took just a few days to conclude that Weiner had to go.

Weiner sent tweets to young women; Clinton had an actual affair with his intern.

Weiner lied to the press; Clinton lied under oath.

Weiner lied for a few days; Clinton lied and roped his Cabinet into the lies for about eight months.

And another thing: Most of the people calling for Weiner to take a hike don’t even live in his district. Clinton was everybody’s business.

So why exactly did Weiner have to go but Bubba had to stay?

OK, OK, that’s politics. But still....
Report: Union heads make six figures
...As the standoff between unions and Wisconsin Republicans wages on, an analysis of the nation’s 10 largest labor unions shows some top leaders — who are being derided as “union bosses” — make six-figure salaries funded by members’ dues.

Leaders earned between $173,000 and $618,000 at major unions, the Center for Public Integrity found in examining 2009 tax records, with some groups paying dozens of employees in the six figures. At the three major unions , which together represent more than 5.6 million public workers, presidents’ salaries in 2009 ranged between $400,000 and $500,000.

Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, was paid $479,328 in salary and benefits in 2009. He was one of 10 employees of the 1.5 million-member union who made more than $200,000 that year. ...
Quotes of the day
“If the Constitution was intended to limit the federal government, it sure doesn’t say so [except for that pesky 10th amendment]. Article I, Section 8, the longest section of the longest article of the Constitution, is a drumroll of congressional power. And it ends with the ‘necessary and proper’ clause, which delegates to Congress the power ‘to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.’ Limited government indeed…

“We can pat ourselves on the back about the past 223 years, but we cannot let the Constitution become an obstacle to the U.S.’s moving into the future with a sensible health care system, a globalized economy, an evolving sense of civil and political rights. The Constitution, as Martin Luther King Jr. said in his great speech on the Mall, is a promissory note. That note had not been fulfilled for African Americans. But I would say the Constitution remains a promissory note, one in which ‘We the People’ in each generation try to create that more perfect union....
"What begins with centralized planning ends with centralized killing".
-- Tony Judt
"To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except by the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return. Money permits you to obtain for your goods and your labor that which they are worth to the men who buy them, but no more. Money permits no deals except those to mutual benefit by the unforced judgment of the traders. Money demands of you the recognition that men must work for their own benefit, not for their own injury, for their gain, not their loss – the recognition that they are not beasts of burden, born to carry the weight of your misery – that you must offer them values, not wounds – that the common bond among men is not the exchange of suffering, but the exchange of goods. Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men's stupidity, but your talent to their reason; it demands that you buy, not the shoddiest they offer, but the best your money can find. And when men live by trade – with reason, not force, as their final arbiter – it is the best product that wins, the best performance, then man of best judgment and highest ability – and the degree of a man's productiveness is the degree of his reward. This is the code of existence whose tool and symbol is money. Is this what you consider evil?"
-- Ayn Rand
Kill a man and you're a murderer.
Kill a million and you're a conqueror.
Kill them all and you're a god.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gunwalker: From Obama’s Inauguration to Issa’s Report
...Within weeks of President Obama’s inauguration in January of 2009, newly installed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder began to craft the meme that Mexican drug cartel violence was rooted in what they view as lax American gun laws. By February 4, we were hearing the infamous “90 percent lie,” the administration’s false accusation that 90 percent of the guns used in cartel crime could be traced to U.S. gun shops.

The assertion was not based upon the total percentage of civilian-origin firearms captured from Mexican cartels and traced back to U.S. gun shops, but upon the small percentage of weapons that the Mexican government saw markings on which indicated they could have come from or through the States. Only this much smaller percentage of guns were sent to the ATF for tracing. Unsurprisingly, a large percentage of guns with U.S. markings did come from the U.S., but they were a small fraction of the total number of guns confiscated by Mexican authorities.

How large was the discrepancy between the Obama administration’s lie and reality?

Mexico has more than 300,000 confiscated weapons locked in vaults. Mexico has asked the U.S. government to trace just a small fraction of those, including just 11,000 in 2007-2008, of which a little more than half — close to 6,000 — were successfully traced. This means roughly 5,000 of the 11,000 submitted could not be traced at all. Of those 6,000 guns that could be traced, 5,114 were traced to the U.S....
Does the NYT care about the carbon footprint of its wonderful pizza-cooking technique?
"Heat the oven and pizza stone at 500 degrees for one hour..."

Oh, hell! Shut up about my light bulbs. Just. Shut. The. Fuck. Up....
BATFE Report
...3) Fast & Furious worked exactly as the ATF and the people holding its strings -- the Department of Justice and probably Homeland -- planned for it to work. That is, it put demonstrably made-in-America, sold-in-America guns at Mexican crime scenes, waiting for the largely inept, totally corrupt Mexican law enforcement to find them, submit them to the US for tracing and shout loudly that they had found the literal "smoking gun," that American gun shops/shows were flooding Mexico with arms. That's why supervisors were "jovial, if not giddy" when the first Gunwalker guns began turning up at Mexican crime was working!

4) I think ATF believed it had enough regulatory juice to keep the gun stores involved from talking, or if not keeping them from talking demonizing them, and maybe driving them out of business, if they did....

Just so you don't forget what the left and ATF was trying to claim:

GUNS SOLD HERE KILL IN MEXICO / Plentiful shops, border proximity make Houston the go-to market for drug cartels

Gun dealers rarely charged in trafficking plots

Weapons sold in Houston kill in Mexico

As Mexico drug violence runs rampant, U.S. guns tied to crime south of border

Monday, June 20, 2011

Union, Texas Congressional delegation agree: The EPA is threatening the Texas economy
...That Texas economic success story you’ve been hearing so much about in the news lately? The EPA’s actions here threaten it very directly, by increasing electricity costs while throwing thousands of Texans out of work. If the EPA wants Texas’ unemployment rate to climb up to the higher national average, this ruling may help that along....

The EPA assault on Texas
The necessary precondition for Texas’s unique economic success – a beacon in a deep recession – is energy. And the EPA is closing in for the kill.

This would be one thing if Texas were an outlier among the 50 states in terms of dirty air or an otherwise demonstrably imperiled environment. But the truth is closer to the opposite: the air in Texas has been getting cleaner; in the urban areas, much cleaner. And in spite of being by far the largest electric power producer of the 50 states, and heavily reliant on coal, Texas has been steadily reducing its emissions of the EPA’s least-favored compounds from coal combustion (e.g., sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide). Its emissions of NOx and SO2 are substantially lower than the national average; Texas is ranked the 11th lowest in NOx emissions (.098 lb/mmBtu in 2009, versus a national average of .159 lb/mmBtu), and 24th in SO2 (.309 lb/mmBtu in 2009, versus a national average of .458 lb/mmBtu).

But the EPA isn’t really making the argument that Texas is an environmental pigsty. It’s not putting any data or findings behind that premise, at any rate. Instead, it is simply acting high-handedly, assuming an authority that nothing in written law confers on it, to pronounce Texas’s procedures in violation of EPA rules – even when there is no basis for making that claim. To put it bluntly, the EPA is making a power grab....
Rex Murphy: Climate scientists make a mockery of the peer-review process
...Much of what the world bizarrely allows to be called climate “science” is a closet-game, an in-group referring to and reinforcing its own members. The insiders keep out those seen as interlopers and critics, vilify dissenters and labour to maintain a proprietary hold on the entire vast subject. It has been described very precisely as a “climate-assessment oligarchy.” Less examined, or certainly less known to the general public, is how this in-group loops around itself. How the outside advocates buttress the inside scientists, and even — this is particularly noxious — how the outside advocates, the non-scientists, themselves become inside authorities....

...Kind people may put this down to pure sloppiness on the part of the IPCC. Coming after its disastrous handling of the Himalayan glacier melt, however, it looks to me more like deliberate mischief. The IPCC cannot be that stupid by chance. Why these stories, and others of comparable magnitude, have not worked their way into the consciousness of the world’s politicians despite such clear demonstrations of the IPCC’s ramshackle processes is a mystery. But thanks to Steve McIntyre and others of near-equal courage, standing firm against the rage and mockery of the alarmist warming establishment, at least some of the IPCC’s dubious and chillingly erroneous practices are revealed.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Forfeiture Fraud
Working with the feds, the Anne Arundel County, Maryland, Police Department set up a fraudulent payment processing business for online poker players. They then took the players’ money, under false pretenses, and deposited it in the federal government’s asset forfeiture fund. Complaining players, none of whom were ever charged with a crime, were told they’d have to try to recoup their losses from the poker sites, which of course have now had their assets seized in a separate federal investigation, and which never actually saw the money from these particular players, anyway.

Under federal “adoption” policy, any local police department working with the federal government in a criminal investigation gets to keep up to 80 percent of the property it seizes in that investigation. And once the feds get involved, the whole thing officially becomes a federal investigation, which allows local police departments to skirt state laws aimed at protecting citizens from forfeiture abuse.

In this case, the Anne Arundel Police Department bagged $30 million seized stolen from online poker players. They celebrated with a press conference and oversized novelty check. They’ll use the money to buy some cool new police equipment. ...

A Bad Week for Climate Change Alarmists
...Close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows.

This statement comes from an IPCC press release. The study on which the claim was made wasn't made public until a month later. By then the media had moved on, and the meme that renewables could solve climate change by 2050 launched. What McIntyre found was that the scenario highlighted in the press release was ulitmately derived from a report issued jointly by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council. That's right - activists and lobbyists collaborating. Who would have thought?...

...The University of Colorado’s Sea Level Research Group decided in May to add 0.3 millimeters -- or about the thickness of a fingernail -- every year to its actual measurements of sea levels, sparking criticism from experts who called it an attempt to exaggerate the effects of global warming.

"Gatekeepers of our sea level data are manufacturing a fictitious sea level rise that is not occurring," said James M. Taylor, a lawyer who focuses on environmental issues for the Heartland Institute....
The Definitive Scandal: ‘Gunwalker’ Much Worse Than ‘Iran-Contra’
...The more than 2,000 weapons that the Obama Justice Department allowed to be delivered to Mexican narco-terrorist cartels are thought to have been used in the shooting of an estimated 150 Mexican law enforcement officers and soldiers battling the cartels. Two American law enforcement officers have also presumably fallen prey to these weapons, along with an unknown number of civilians on both sides of the border.

President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice has purposefully armed narco-terrorist drug cartels that have been accused of bombings, ambushes, mass murders, public executions, and the assassination of police, politicians, and civic leaders.

Obama’s Justice Department armed the enemy of our neighbor and ally, providing enough arms to equip ten infantry companies, or two battalions, of violent drug dealers.

Iran-Contra was a misguided attempt to trade arms for hostages and supply a covert supply of arms to rebels fighting against a communist dictatorship during the Cold War.

Gunrunner was an attempt to develop enough gun-running evidence to bring down a cartel, and instead supplied thousands of arms to drug cartels locked in a life-or-death struggle with a key U.S. ally and trading partner.

Democrats try to channel scandal into gun control push
Faced with bracing evidence and the testimony of four ATF agents contradicting the Justice Department’s initial blanket denials that assault weapons were knowingly allowed to escape into the clutches of Mexican drug cartels, Democrats tried a new approach at a hearing Wednesday.

Rather than focus on questioning the GOP’s investigative tactics, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee sought to subtly channel the burgeoning scandal into a push for new gun control laws.

For instance, Rep. Gerry Connolly, Virginia Democrat, connected the apparently reckless investigative strategy to the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) lobbying pushes....

...Rep. Carolyn Maloney, New York Democrat, also drew a link between the Operation Fast and Furious scandal and whether ATF agents are plagued by “toothless” laws....
Is A Bigger, More Expensive Obamacare Coming Next Year?
A new employer survey by McKinsey & Co. finds more than half American companies are going to "dump" their workers into government sponsored plans.

The paper says more than 90 million workers with employer-provided care will end up in the "Obamacare" exchanges, increasing the cost of the plan by $400 billion over the next 10 years.

Further suggesting the point of "Obamacare" is to put all Americans in the program, McKinsey projects the annual public cost would eventually increase by $800 billion....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Big drop in solar activity could mean much cooler Earth
Scientists say the Sun, which roils with flares and electromagnetic energy every 11 years or so could go into virtual hibernation after the current cycle of high activity, reducing temperatures on Earth.

As the current sunspot cycle, Cycle 24, begins to ramp up toward maximum, scientists from the National Solar Observatory (NSO) and the Air Force Research Laboratory independently found that the Sun's interior, visible surface, and corona indicate that the next 11-year solar sunspot cycle, Cycle 25, will be greatly reduced or may not happen at all....

House panel releases initial report on ATF 'Fast and Furious' gun scandal
...“ATF agents have shared chilling accounts of being ordered to stand down as criminals in Arizona walked away with guns headed for Mexican drug cartels,” Issa said. “With the clinical precision of a lab experiment, the Justice Department kept records of weapons they let walk and the crime scenes where they next appeared. To agents’ shock, preventing loss of life was not the primary concern.”

Among the report's highlights, according to an Issa spokesman, are these:

* The supervisor of Operation Fast and Furious was “jovial, if not, not giddy but just delighted about” walked guns showing up at crime scenes in Mexico according to an ATF agent. (p. 37)...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

‘Gunwalker’ Under Fire
Rumors began to fly over a week ago that a .50 BMG weapon supplied to Mexican drug cartels by the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) was used to bring down a Mexican military helicopter in May. According to CBS News, the use of that weapon can be confirmed, and it turns out the helicopter was one of two fired upon by suspected cartel members.

The raid on the cartel that the helicopters were supporting was successful, netting more than 70 weapons, including the helicopter-down .50 BMG rifle and other weapons traced back to the botched ATF Operation Fast and Furious, also know as “Gunwalker.”

To date, the ATF operation, which encouraged gun shops in the American southwest to sell weapons to suspected criminals and let them carry the weapons across the border, has resulted in an estimated 150 Mexican law enforcement officers and soldiers shot with ATF-supplied weapons. While the theory behind the plot was different, the end result is no more deplorable than Iran’s arming of Iraqi terrorists.

At least two American law enforcement officers have been murdered with ATF weapons as well. ...

When Government Jumps the Shark
...At this point the program enters the third stage of life: it is now a Great White Elephant. It is a large and expensive program that does less and less good at a higher and higher cost. Fannie Mae stops helping creditworthy borrowers get affordable mortgages through simple and straightforward processes. Federal housing policy becomes increasingly complex as new layers and levels of subsidy and promotion are tacked on. As the incentives become increasingly misaligned, the country begins to over invest in housing; consumers start buying more house than they need because government support makes housing an attractive investment.

The Elephant process takes place in many ways. Health care programs become inflated with bells and whistles; programs originally intended to provide basic medical care gradually swell into huge and expensive monstrosities. Shouldn’t chiropractic care be covered? Psychiatric care? Acupuncture? And since government is paying for the care shouldn’t it regulate who provides the care through licensing procedures? Costs go up, procedures become more complex; efforts to control costs lead to more red tape....

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ten Years And Counting: Where’s The Global Warming?
Global greenhouse gas emissions have risen even faster during the past decade than predicted by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other international agencies. According to alarmist groups, this proves global warming is much worse than previously feared. The increase in emissions “should shock even the most jaded negotiators” at international climate talks currently taking place in Bonn, Germany, the UK Guardian reports. But there’s only one problem with this storyline; global temperatures have not increased at all during the past decade.

The evidence is powerful, straightforward, and damning. NASA satellite instruments precisely measuring global temperatures show absolutely no warming during the past the past 10 years. This is the case for the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, including the United States. This is the case for the Arctic, where the signs of human-caused global warming are supposed to be first and most powerfully felt. This is the case for global sea surface temperatures, which alarmists claim should be sucking up much of the predicted human-induced warming. This is the case for the planet as a whole....

...Most powerfully, global temperature trends during the twentieth century sharply defied atmospheric carbon dioxide trends. More than half of the warming during the twentieth century occurred prior to the post-World War II economic boom, yet atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions rose minimally during this time. Between 1945 and 1977, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels jumped rapidly, yet global temperatures declined. Only during the last quarter of the century was there an appreciable correlation between greenhouse gas trends and global temperature trends. But that brief correlation has clearly disappeared this century....

Sunday, June 12, 2011

In Bid To Reform Fannie and Freddie, Obama Can’t Shake Crony Clintonistas Who Caused the Mess
...As it turns out, former President Clinton packed the boards of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with virtually as many personal allies and beneficiaries as they could hold. The most visible was Franklin Raines — Fannie Mae chairman, CEO, and former Clinton budget chief — who later resigned in disgrace with a multi-million parachute.

And then there’s President Obama’s current White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who served on Fannie Mae’s board for a mere 14 months and raked in a cool $320,000.

Clinton also packed the Fannie board with Democratic Senator and “Keating Five” defendant Dennis DeConcini. Hillary Clinton’s confidante Jamie Gorelick got a prized seat, as did Bill and Hillary favorite Harold Ickes, Democratic strategist....

Obama and the Fat Cats
...Does the condemnation include fat-cat Clintonite Robert Rubin (who earned nearly $115 million from Citigroup and served as a mentor to Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner) or the administration’s own Larry Summers (who collected more than $5 million for a year’s work at a hedge fund, and another Rubin protégé)? One could mention other liberals who cashed in at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, such as James Johnson, aide to former Democratic vice president Walter Mondale, Franklin Raines, budget director under Bill Clinton, Jamie Gorelick, deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration – and Rahm Emanuel, a Freddie Mac board member who did quite well, despite the implosion. ...

June 28, 2004 open letter to Pres Bush from House Dems (PDF)
The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC 20050

Dear Mr. President:

We urge you to reconsider your Administration's criticisms of the housing-related government sponsored enterprises (the "GSEs'') and instead work with Congress to strengthen the mission and oversight of the GSEs.

We write as members of the House of Representatives who continually press the GSEs to do more in affordable housing. Until recently, we have been disappointed that the Administration has not been more supportive of our efforts to press the GSEs to do more. We have been concerned that the Administration's legislative proposal regarding the GSEs would weaken affordable housing perfonnance by the GSEs, by emphasizing only safety and soundness. While the GSEs' affordable housing mission is not in any way incompatible with their safety and soundness, an exclusive focus on safety and soundness is likely to come, in practice, at the expense of affordable housing....

Government by the ‘experts’
...The point of PPACA is cost containment. This supposedly depends on the Independent Payment Advisory Board. The IPAB, which is a perfect expression of the progressive mind, is to be composed of 15 presidential appointees empowered to reduce Medicare spending — which is 13 percent of federal spending — to certain stipulated targets. IPAB is to do this by making “proposals” or “recommendations” to limit costs by limiting reimbursements to doctors. This, inevitably, will limit available treatments — and access to care when physicians leave the Medicare system.

The PPACA repeatedly refers to any IPAB proposal as a “legislative proposal” and speaks of “the legislation introduced” by the IPAB. Each proposal automatically becomes law unless Congress passes — with a three-fifths supermajority required in the Senate — a measure cutting medical spending as much as the IPAB proposal would.

This is a travesty of constitutional lawmaking: An executive branch agency makes laws unless Congress enacts legislation to achieve the executive agency’s aim.

And it gets worse. Any resolution to abolish the IPAB must pass both houses of Congress. And no such resolution can be introduced before 2017 or after Feb. 1, 2017, and must be enacted by Aug. 15 of that year. And if passed, it cannot take effect until 2020. Defenders of all this audaciously call it a “fast track” process for considering termination of IPAB. It is, however, transparently designed to permanently entrench IPAB — never mind the principle that one Congress cannot by statute bind another Congress from altering that statute....
Blessed are the Spongers? That’s not what St Paul said, Archbishop
Why is it so bad to draw a line between the deserving and the undeserving poor? I have searched the Sermon on the Mount for the words ‘Blessed are the Spongers’ and I cannot find them – or anything remotely like them.

So why does the Archbishop of Canterbury speak as if it was obvious that we should treat people who can work, but won’t, in the same way as we treat those who are truly in need?

As Dr Williams has decided to take up political commentating, I think I shall do a little bit of Archbishoping. Here beginneth the first lesson: In St Paul’s first epistle to Timothy, Chapter 5, we read: ‘If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.’

And in his second epistle to the Thessalonians, St Paul rubs it in, in that way he has: ‘This we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.’...
'Saint Bono' the anti-poverty campaigner facing huge Glastonbury protest – for avoiding tax
He is the rock legend dubbed 'Saint Bono' for his long-running campaign against global poverty.

But when Bono's band U2 perform at Glastonbury later this month, protesters are planning to accuse them of avoiding taxes which could have helped exactly the sort of people the singer cares about so dearly.

Members of activist group Art Uncut will hoist a massive inflatable sign with the message 'Bono Pay Up' spelt out in lights during the Irish band's headline performance.

They will also parade bundles of oversized fake cash in front of the singer.

The protest has been provoked by U2's decision to move their multi-million-pound music and publishing business away from Ireland – thus allegedly avoiding taxes on record sales. ...
School District Hit With New Mac Spying Lawsuit
..."A former student at a suburban Philadelphia high school has sued his school district for allegedly spying on him and his family using a school-issued Mac laptop, according to court documents. The Lower Merion School District of Ardmore, Pa. was first sued in February 2010 by another student using similar charges. That case, dubbed 'Spygate' in some reports, was settled last October when Lower Merion agreed to pay Blake Robbins $175,000 and cover $425,000 in court costs. On Monday, Joshua Levin, a 2009 graduate of Herriton High, charged the district with violating his civil rights and privacy by remotely activating the notebook's built-in camera to take photographs and screenshots. On Wednesday, Lower Merion spokesman Doug Young called Levin's lawsuit 'solely motivated by monetary interests and a complete waste of the taxpayer's dollars.' Levin begged to differ. According to his lawsuit, Lower Merion used his laptop to take more than 8,000 photographs and screenshots between September 2008 and March 2009. A district report uncovered more than 30,000 photographs and 27,000 screenshots taken. Last June, lawyers made photos and screenshots available for viewing by the 76 affected students. 'Plaintiff opted to view the recovered images, and was shocked, humiliated and severely emotionally distressed at what he saw,' Levin's lawsuit stated."...
"I've been fangirling him for years and every time I see something like this I fangirl him a little bit more. THIS is what leadership looks like."
The second comment — right after "Wow!" — at a post called "Rep. Anthony Weiner for President" at the "progressive feminist blog" Shakesville. It's from last July, when Weiner got "quite rightly, mad as hell about it—and he's not going to take it anymore" at the blogger Melissa McEwan saw it, responding to this Weiner freakout on the floor of the House...
The dangers of bone-headed beliefs
Surely it's time for climate-change deniers to have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies.

Not necessarily on the forehead; I'm a reasonable man. Just something along their arm or across their chest so their grandchildren could say, ''Really? You were one of the ones who tried to stop the world doing something? And why exactly was that, granddad?''

On second thoughts, maybe the tattooing along the arm is a bit Nazi-creepy. So how about they are forced to buy property on low-lying islands, the sort of property that will become worthless with a few more centimetres of ocean rise, so they are bankrupted by their own bloody-mindedness? Or what about their signed agreement to stand, in the year 2040, lashed to a pole at a certain point in the shallows off Manly? If they are right and the world is cooling - ''climate change stopped in the year 1998'' is one of their more boneheaded beliefs - their mouths will be above water. If not …
More Questions Arise As Second Police Shooting Video Is Released
In the ensuing moments after Miami Beach police shot and killed Raymond Herisse in a hail of bullets on Memorial Day, one officer turned his gun on a man who had recorded the shooting.

That video, which was posted on Youtube late Monday, then goes blank.

But Narces Benoit, a 35-year-old car stereo technician from Palm Beach County, said the officer dragged him out of his car, grabbed his phone and smashed it down on the ground, destroying it.

Police then detained him for several hours at the police station, Benoit told the Miami Herald.

The only reason he was able to salvage the video was because he was able to remove the memory card from the broken phone after the cop had placed it back in his pocket and hide it in his mouth.

The video, the second citizen video to be posted on Youtube since the shooting last week, provides more insight into the shooting that left a 22-year-old man dead....

Cop To Citizen: "If You Take My Picture Again, I'm Going To Fucking Break Your Face"
A police officer from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority in Buffalo walked up to a citizen who was filming him and threatened to "fucking break" his face.

The cop said he was speaking "not as a police officer, but as a person."

The only problem is, the sonofabitch was in full uniform with a police dog in tow....

Chicago State's Attorney Lets Bad Cops Slide, Prosecutes Citizens Who Record Them
When Chicago police answered a domestic disturbance call at the home of Tiawanda Moore and her boyfriend in July 2010, the officers separated the couple to question them individually. Moore was interviewed privately in her bedroom. According to Moore, the officer who questioned her then came on to her, groped her breast and slipped her his home phone number.

Robert Johnson, Moore's attorney, says that when Moore and her boyfriend attempted to report the incident to internal affairs officials at the Chicago Police Department, the couple wasn't greeted warmly. "They discouraged her from filing a report," Johnson says. "They gave her the runaround, scared her, and tried to intimidate her from reporting this officer -- from making sure he couldn't go on to do this to other women."

Ten months later, Chicago PD is still investigating the incident. Moore, on the other hand, was arrested the very same afternoon.

Her crime? At some point in her conversations with internal affairs investigators, Moore grew frustrated with their attempts to intimidate her. So she began to surreptitiously record the interactions on her Blackberry. In Illinois, it is illegal to record people without their consent, even (and as it turns out, especially) on-duty police officers.

"This is someone who is already scared from being harassed by an officer in uniform," said Johnson. "If the police won't even take her complaint, how else is a victim of police abuse supposed to protect herself?"...
Report: Reform May Move Millions More Off Employer Insurance
The more a company knows about coming changes to the nation’s health care laws, the more likely it is to consider radically restructuring the way it provides insurance to employees, according to a study by the consulting firm McKinsey and Co.

The study, which is being circulated among Republicans, predicts that as many as 30 percent of companies will stop offering health insurance benefits, reduce the level of benefits, or offer benefits only to certain employees. If this prediction holds, the number of Americans who could see changes to their health insurance would be far more than the 9 million to 10 million estimated by the Congressional Budget Office.

That means that the cost of subsidizing plans for those people—about $19 billion a year, according to the CBO—could more than triple. And, if the report's predictions are borne out, many Americans would lose their health insurance....
U.N. Agreement Should Have All Gun Owners Up In Arms
...While the terms have yet to be made public, if passed by the U.N. and ratified by our Senate, it will almost certainly force the U.S. to:

Enact tougher licensing requirements, creating additional bureaucratic red tape for legal firearms ownership.
Confiscate and destroy all “unauthorized” civilian firearms (exempting those owned by our government of course).
Ban the trade, sale and private ownership of all semi-automatic weapons (any that have magazines even though they still operate in the same one trigger pull – one single “bang” manner as revolvers, a simple fact the ant-gun media never seem to grasp).
Create an international gun registry, clearly setting the stage for full-scale gun confiscation.
In short, overriding our national sovereignty, and in the process, providing license for the federal government to assert preemptive powers over state regulatory powers guaranteed by the Tenth Amendment in addition to our Second Amendment rights....

More on "Project Gunwalker"
Gunwalker guns are linked to a shootdown of a Mexican government helicopter.

Issa's House Oversight Committee has interviewed witnesses and is preparing more subpoenas. No word yet on what he's going to do to enforce the earlier ones....

Justice Officials in 'Panic Mode' as Hearing Nears on Failed Anti-Gun Trafficking Program
Officials at the Department of Justice are in "panic mode," according to multiple sources, as word spreads that congressional testimony next week will paint a bleak and humiliating picture of Operation Fast and Furious, the botched undercover operation that left a trail of blood from Mexico to Washington, D.C.

The operation was supposed to stem the flow of weapons from the U.S. to Mexico by allowing so-called straw buyers to purchase guns legally in the U.S. and later sell them in Mexico, usually to drug cartels.

Instead, ATF documents show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms knowingly and deliberately flooded Mexico with assault rifles. Their intent was to expose the entire smuggling organization, from top to bottom, but the operation spun out of control and supervisors refused pleas from field agents to stop it.

Only after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry died did ATF Agent John Dodson blow the whistle and expose the scandal. ...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Kennedy and the KGB
...The second step, the KGB head informed Andropov, was a Kennedy strategy to help the Soviets "influence Americans." Chebrikov explained: "Kennedy believes that in order to influence Americans it would be important to organize in August-September of this year [1983], televised interviews with Y. V. Andropov in the USA." The media savvy Massachusetts senator recommended to the Soviet dictator that he seek a "direct appeal" to the American people. And, on that, "Kennedy and his friends," explained Chebrikov, were willing to help, listing Walter Cronkite and Barbara Walters (both listed by name in the memo) as good candidates for sit-down interviews with the dictator.

Kennedy concluded that the Soviets needed, in effect, some PR help, given that Reagan was good at "propaganda" (the word used in the memo). The senator wanted them to know he was more than eager to lend a hand....
Documents show FCC coordinated 'Net Neutrality' effort with outside group
...Free Press was co-founded by Monthly Review editor Robert McChesney and the Nation contributor John Nichols. The Monthly Review is "an independent Marxist journal," while the Nation has long described itself as "the flagship of the left." Free Press is partially funded by George Soros' Open Society Institute.

In April 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the FCC did not have the legal authority to regulate the Internet. Despite this ruling, in December the FCC voted 3-2, along party lines, to begin the Net Neutrality regulation process anyway....
Sooner Tea Party headquarters burglarized
...“It was definitely political,” said leader Al Gerhart, 53, noting that the burglars took a lot of Sooner Tea Party records, but passed over expensive tools and equipment in the west Oklahoma City carpentry shop where he kept the records. An air-conditioner and a laptop computer Gerhart used for his business were the most expensive items Gerhart mentioned as being taken.
Ellsberg: All the crimes Nixon committed against me are now legal
Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg said Tuesday that disgraced former Republican President Richard M. Nixon would "admire [President Barack] Obama's boldness" in trying to stifle whistleblowers.

"Richard Nixon, if he were alive today, might take bittersweet satisfaction to know that he was not the last smart president to prolong unjustifiably a senseless, unwinnable war, at great cost in human life," Ellsberg told CNN. "And his aide Henry Kissinger was not the last American official to win an undeserved Nobel Peace Prize."

"He would probably also feel vindicated (and envious) that ALL the crimes he committed against me -- which forced his resignation facing impeachment -- are now legal," he continued....
True cost of Fannie/Freddie bailout more than twice Obama administration claim
... In a report delivered to the House Budget Committee on June 2, the CBO said a “fair value” accounting of guaranteeing the two defunct mortgage companies – known as Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) – was more than twice as high as the Office of Management and Budget had accounted for.

“Specifically, CBO treats the mortgages guaranteed each year by the two GSEs as new guarantee obligations of the federal government,” the CBO report said. “For those guarantees, CBO’s projections of budget outlays equal the estimated federal subsidies inherent in the commitments at the time they are made.”

“In contrast, the Administration’s Office of Management and Budget continues to treat Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as nongovernmental entities for budgetary purposes, and thus outside the budget,” the report stated. “It records as outlays the amount of the net cash payments provided by the Treasury to the GSEs.”

The total of those cash payments is $130 billion, and is normally reported as the cost of the bailout of the GSEs to date. However, the CBO said that merely counting the cash payments, and not the cost of federal subsidies granted to the GSEs, obscures their real costs.

Essentially, the CBO is accounting for the cost of the federal government guaranteeing the loans bought and securitized by the GSEs....

Fanniegate: Gamechanger For The GOP?
...If Morgenson and Rosner are right, there is someone the American people can blame for our current economic woes and it is exactly the cast of characters that a lot of Americans love to hate. Big government, affirmative action and influence peddling among Democratic insiders came within inches of smashing the US economy....

When Government Jumps the Shark
...But Fannie Mae represents a special problem for the Democratic Party and Democratic ideas. It is not just a vitally important institution led by prominent Democratic figures and part of a broader Democratic patronage network; Fannie Mae is one of the original New Deal institutions and the vision it was intended to serve stands at the heart of the concerns of the Democratic Party of the 20th century.

The fall of Fannie Mae is bigger than just another politicos run wild scandal. It stands as one of several signs that our current way of life is reaching its limits and that big changes are on the horizon. The Fanniegate debacle tells us that the progressive ideal is in the process of jumping the shark....

...At this point the program enters the third stage of life: it is now a Great White Elephant. It is a large and expensive program that does less and less good at a higher and higher cost. Fannie Mae stops helping creditworthy borrowers get affordable mortgages through simple and straightforward processes. Federal housing policy becomes increasingly complex as new layers and levels of subsidy and promotion are tacked on. As the incentives become increasingly misaligned, the country begins to over invest in housing; consumers start buying more house than they need because government support makes housing an attractive investment.

The Elephant process takes place in many ways. Health care programs become inflated with bells and whistles; programs originally intended to provide basic medical care gradually swell into huge and expensive monstrosities. Shouldn’t chiropractic care be covered? Psychiatric care? Acupuncture? And since government is paying for the care shouldn’t it regulate who provides the care through licensing procedures? Costs go up, procedures become more complex; efforts to control costs lead to more red tape....
In truth, in the case of individuals, their actual voting is not to be taken as proof of consent, even for the time being. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, without his consent having ever been asked, a man finds himself environed by a government that he cannot resist; a government that forces him to pay money, render service, and forego the exercise of many of his natural rights, under peril of weighty punishments. He sees, too, that other men practise this tyranny over him by the use of the ballot. He sees further that, if he will but use the ballot himself, he has some chance of relieving himself from this tyranny of others, by subjecting them to his own. In short, he finds himself, without his consent, so situated that, if he use the ballot, he may become a master; if he does not use it, he must become a slave. And he has no other alternative than these two. In self-defence, he attempts the former. His case is analogous to that of a man who has been forced into battle, where he must either kill others, or be killed himself. Because, to save his own life in battle, a man attempts to take the lives of his opponents, it is not to be inferred that the battle is one of his own choosing. Neither in contests with the ballot -- which is a mere substitute for a bullet -- because, as his only chance of self-preservation, a man uses a ballot, is it to be inferred that the contest is one into which he voluntarily entered; that he voluntarily set up all his own natural rights, as a stake against those of others, to be lost or won by the mere power of numbers. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, in an exigency, into which he had been forced by others, and in which no other means of self-defence offered, he, as a matter of necessity, used the only one that was left to him.
-- Lysander Spooner

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Citizen-Shot Video Shows Cops Lied About Citizen-Shot Video
... Father James Manship released video footage Thursday that contradicts an East Haven police report justifying his arrest.

Manship was arrested on Feb. 19 on misdemeanor charges while videotaping police officers in My Country Store, an East Haven business run by Ecuadorian immigrants. Manship pleaded not guilty to the charges, claiming that he was recording an incident of police harassment, part of an alleged campaign of systematic intimidation and racial profiling perpetrated by East Haven police against Latinos. Manship’s attorneys recently secured the footage from the East Haven Police Department, which confiscated his video camera at the time of the arrest . . .

The footage appears to contradict a claim made by the East Haven police department in a police report that was withheld until 13 days after the incident. The police report, David Cari, one of two arresting officers, states that he didn’t know what the New Haven priest was holding. He wrote that he saw an “unknown shiny silver object” that Manship had “cupped” in his hands, and was afraid for his safety. Read the police report here . . .

The police report alleges that Father Manship concealed the fact that he was videotaping the officers, by cupping his hands over “a silver object.”

“Not knowing if Manship was holding a camera or a possible weapon this officer asked Manship to show me what was in his hands,” Cari’s report reads.

In direct contradiction of Cari’s claim, the video from Manship’s camera shows Officer Cari twice verbally identifying the “silver object” as a camera.

“Sir what are you doing? Is there a reason that you have a camera on me?” says Officer Cari, in the video.

“I’m taking a video of what’s going on here,” Manship replies.

“Well, I’ll tell you what, what I’m going to do with that camera,” Officer Cari says, as he walks around a shelving unit to approach the priest.

Father Manship’s responses to the officers were calm and non-threatening, Fernandez-Chavero argued as he showed the footage....

Marijuana “Field Test” Nabs Sage-Burning Birdwatcher
We can now add sage to the list of substances that have turned out false positives on the field tests cops use when they think they’ve found marijuana. The list also includes chocolate chip cookies; deoderant; billiards chalk; Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap; patchouli, spearmint, and eucalyptus; and breath mints.

Why, it’s almost as if these field tests say whatever the cops want them to say. They’re like the drug-detecting dogs of . . . um . . . drug detection. Okay. So that metaphor doesn’t work....
Belgian protesters destroy GM field trial
...In Wetteren, a municipality in the Belgian province of East Flanders, activists succeeded in damaging the GM potatoes being trialled for blight resistance, despite a large contingent of police officers who had been ordered to guard the GM trial. ...
Capitol Hill Progressives Cheer Gun-Toting Neighbor Who Saved Them From Scary Burglar
...This news elicited heaps of praise from the scarf-clad locals.

Fantastic! This is the best news I've heard all day. Good work, Mr. Neighbor! Comment by Brian Campbell

RE: Fantastic! Yes, KUDOS! Your neighbors should buy you drinks all weekend. :-) Comment by Jim98122x

I hope this is the guy! Go neighbor! Go neighbor! Go! Comment by a neighbor up the street

Way to go, neighbor! Check and see if this guy has a Takamine acoustic guitar! (Very unlikely, but ya never know.) Comment by Erik
Nuclear vs climate change: the clash of the alarmists
...Historic experience tells us that the success or otherwise of competitive scaremongering has little to with the actual intensity of the alleged threat. Rather its success usually depends on the ability of the scaremonger to resonate with contemporary cultural values. So a couple of weeks ago, when the American evangelist preacher Harold Camping predicted the imminent arrival of Judgment Day, not many people took him seriously. In previous times, however, millennial apprehensions about End Times could unleash major panics. When religious fanatics prophesied that the world would come to an end, followed by the Last Judgment, it really had a major impact on everyday life. The flames of terror impacted on the imagination of hundreds of thousands of people who waited for the coming Apocalypse (1).

This time around, many people joked about Camping’s ‘Rapture’ and carried on with life as normal. Yet some of the same people who made fun of the Rapture had been caught up, only a few months earlier, in a wave of panic-buying of stocks of potassium iodine, which is used to protect the body from the effects of nuclear fallout. In the US, stocks completely sold out following the crippling of the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan. Many Americans believed that radioactive particles from Japan posed a threat to their health. Yet on balance, the threat to Americans from the fallout in Japan was about as significant as Camping’s fantasy Rapture. As the German government has subsequently discovered, scaremongering about radiation is likely to frighten people far more than old-fashioned warnings about Judgment Day....
Feminism by Treaty
...A case in point is the central CEDAW provision that requires "all appropriate measures to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct" of citizens in order to eliminate all practices based on "stereotyped roles for men and women." Under CEDAW, private behavior such as how couples divide household and childcare chores is subject to government regulation under the tutelage of the UN oversight committee. In written testimony for the November 2010 hearing, John Fonte, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, described how CEDAW could subvert our democracy "by taking political issues out of the hands of elected officials and transforming them into ‘Universal human rights' to be determined by judges on the basis of ‘evolving norms of international law.'"...

..."U.S. women have endured denials of their basic human rights long enough — please do not make them wait any longer," wrote NOW President Terry O'Neil in a March 11, 2010, letter to President Obama urging immediate ratification. Feminist activists see the treaty as an opportunity for American women to secure rights the Constitution has not delivered. The Feminist Majority Foundation has released a video explaining how American women can use CEDAW to bring about a "sea change" in our laws. It shows Congress debating the 2009 "stimulus bill" and explains how CEDAW can lead to "gender-fair budgets." State-mandated quotas, the narrator explains, have led to gender-balanced legislatures in South Africa, Iraq, and Rwanda. Images of beaming women in the Rwandan parliament are juxtaposed with the sorry picture of the U.S. Senate, with only 16 women members out of 100. The video also juxtaposes images of young Afghan women hideously disfigured from acid attacks with those of corpses of American women brutally murdered by intimate partners. "Clearly we need CEDAW," says the narrator. Janet Benshoof, president of the Global Justice Center, speaks for many in the feminist establishment when she says, "If CEDAW were fully implemented in the United States it would revolutionize our rights . . . American women need legal tools to fight patriarchy."...

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Miami Beach Police Ordered Videographer At Gunpoint To Hand Over Phone
...Miami Beach police did their best to destroy a citizen video that shows them shooting a man to death in a hail of bullets Memorial Day.

First, police pointed their guns at the man who shot the video, according to a Miami Herald interview with the videographer.

Then they ordered the man and his girlfriend out the car and threw them down to the ground, yelling “you want to be fucking paparazzi?”

Then they snatched the cell phone from his hand and slammed it to the ground before stomping on it. Then they placed the smashed phone in the videographer's back pocket as he was laying down on the ground....

Witnesses said they were forced to hide video after Beach shooting
...On Thursday, The Miami Herald spoke to the couple that saw the end of the 4 a.m. police chase on Collins Avenue, then watched and filmed from just a few feet away as a dozen officers fired their guns repeatedly into Raymond Herisse’s blue Hyundai. They say the only reason they were able to show the video to a reporter is because they hid a memory card after police allegedly pointed guns at their heads, threw them to the ground and smashed the cell phone that took the video. ...
NPR: How 'Reckless' Greed Contributed To Financial Crisis
...So Fannie Mae was on very solid footing in the early '90s, when James Johnson took over, and according to people who worked there at the time and worked with him, it became a completely political animal at that time.

It became all about preserving the government backing, preserving the -essentially the subsidies that the government was providing Fannie Mae and making sure that those sort of - that sort of special treatment or special relationship with the government never went away. ...

...He helped write the legislation in two critical ways: one, to make sure that his company did not have to maintain high levels of capital cushion - i.e., he did not have to set aside a lot of money for a rainy day if losses were to come across.

That meant that earnings were juiced. That meant his pay was increased. So that was a crucial thing that he did that wound up in the legislation. Fannie Mae's capital requirements were far lower than other banks. ...

...How big a player were they in terms of contributing to politicians and lobbying?

Ms. MORGENSON: They were very large. The numbers might not seem large in today's terms, but they were extremely shrewd and, you know, took great care, especially of the congressmen that were on the House Financial Services Committee and the senators on the Banking Committee.

They knew that these were very important people to their livelihood and to maintaining the government perquisites as they were.

One of the really big beneficiaries, albeit indirectly, was Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts. Back in 1991, when Congress was writing the legislation that would, you know, enhance or improve the oversight of Fannie Mae, or so they thought, Frank actually called up the company and asked them to hire his companion, who had just gotten an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business.

Of course the company was happy to provide a job for his companion and rolled out the red carpet in a series of interviews with a variety of executives, and it ultimately did hire the man. And he stayed there for I believe seven years. ...

...And what Phaup found, and the CBO found, was that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were keeping one-third of the government subsidy each year for themselves. And this was a blockbuster because Fannie Mae had said throughout history that it was - its sole purpose was to help homeowners, that it was going - if it were threatened, that homeownership would be threatened, that you would make the cost of homeownership rise significantly if you took away the government perquisites. ...

...So knowing that Countrywide was Fannie Mae's biggest provider of mortgages certainly does make one wonder about the quality of those mortgages, and certainly makes you think, well, when Fannie Mae did finally have to be rescued by taxpayers, those Countrywide loans were certainly a part of the problem.

DAVIES: And the head of Fannie Mae, James Johnson, had a special relationship with Angelo Mozilo, the executive of Countrywide, too.

Ms. MORGENSON: Yes. James Johnson understood that Countrywide was a comer, was a very aggressive, strappy company founded by an entrepreneur with a chip on his shoulder, not your typical banker. And James Johnson set about to really cultivate Mr. Mozilo and to make sure that Fannie Mae was the biggest recipient of Countrywide loans. He didn't want Countrywide selling its loans to Freddie Mac, the competitor of Fannie Mae. ...
Daily Kos sticks up for Weiner by publishing identities of underage girls
Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas allowed the publication of underage girls’ identities on his blog in an attempt to vilify Andrew Breitbart and exonerate New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner. Tommy Christopher, an openly left-wing journalist at Mediaite, reported Friday morning that Moulitsas’s site published personally identifiable information about two young women who have become somewhat involved in the #Weinergate scandal....

...Christopher writes in his story that these Kos bloggers were able to track down Betty and Veronica based on clues left behind in his Twitter feed. Christopher contacted Moulitsas to ask him to stop publication of information that could be used to identify the young girls. An email back-and-forth between Christopher and Moulitsas shows the two liberals disagreeing on whether or not the young girls’ identities should be published. Christopher told TheDC he’s “really livid” with Moulitsas’s actions.

“He’s a fucking asshole,” Christopher said of Moulitsas. “Anyone who defends him is a piece of shit.”...
Amazon Tax Bill Passes [CA] State Assembly
...Other Republicans rejected the bill because they said it would invite lawsuits, drive business out of California, and get the state entangled in the messy task of regulating the Internet.

The measure extends the sales tax to online companies that have a presence in the state, including those that work with sister companies with offices in California.

In California, Many Police and Firefighters Get $100,000 Pensions
At least 9,000 public employees earn almost double the median income every year of their retirement
Documents show FCC coordinated 'Net Neutrality' effort with outside group
...Free Press was co-founded by Monthly Review editor Robert McChesney and the Nation contributor John Nichols. The Monthly Review is "an independent Marxist journal," while the Nation has long described itself as "the flagship of the left." Free Press is partially funded by George Soros' Open Society Institute.

In April 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the FCC did not have the legal authority to regulate the Internet. Despite this ruling, in December the FCC voted 3-2, along party lines, to begin the Net Neutrality regulation process anyway....
Sooner Tea Party headquarters burglarized
...“It was definitely political,” said leader Al Gerhart, 53, noting that the burglars took a lot of Sooner Tea Party records, but passed over expensive tools and equipment in the west Oklahoma City carpentry shop where he kept the records. An air-conditioner and a laptop computer Gerhart used for his business were the most expensive items Gerhart mentioned as being taken.
Supreme Court rejects suit against John Ashcroft
...But in a unanimous decision in Ashcroft vs. Kidd, the high court ruled the attorney general was immune from such claims. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, in a key concurring opinion joined by three liberal justices, said judges should be wary of allowing suits targeting "national officeholders" working "in the area of national security."

"Nationwide security operations should not have to grind to a halt," he said, while judges decide whether a top official has overstepped his authority....

After 29 months of the most left-wing presidency in US history, the American superpower is heading towards the economic abyss
...In addition, the White House is paralysed in the face of the nation’s towering debts, which reached 62 percent of GDP by the end of 2010, the highest percentage since the end of World War Two. The Congressional Budget Office warned last year in its “alternative fiscal scenario” that “with significantly lower revenues and higher outlays”, the federal debt could grow to a staggering 87 percent of GDP by 2020, rising to 109 percent by 2025 and 185 percent in 2035.

It is little wonder that 66 percent of Americans now worry the federal government will finally run out of their money, and Moody’s Investors Service is threatening to downgrade America’s sterling credit rating unless it gets to grips with the debt crisis. Undoubtedly, the very future of the United States’ position as the word’s only superpower is at stake in the next few years. ...

...Years of profligate spending, massive bailouts and useless stimulus measures have made America poorer, not richer, and threaten the long-term economic foundations of this great country. President Obama’s big government experiment has been a dangerous failure, only further proof that the deadening hand of federal intervention is the last thing America needs at this time. The United States needs more economic freedom, less government regulation and spending, and lower taxes if it is to create jobs, wealth and prosperity, a message that seems to have been lost on the Obama presidency as it drives the United States towards the financial abyss.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Why aren't the masses joining the protests to 'Save our NHS'? Perhaps because the NHS treats them with utter contempt
The most striking thing about the “Save our NHS” protests is how small they are. From the handful of professional activists who stormed a branch of NatWest at the weekend, symbolically draped in bloodied bandages, to the various “die-ins” staged by anti-cuts protesters who claim that “the poor” (a horrible Dickensian phrase) will kick the bucket if the Lib-Cons trim anything related to health, the protests have been noisy and headline-grabbing, yes, but tiny in terms of turnout. It isn’t hard to see why. The NHS might be of profound symbolic importance to left-wing activists, but to the general public, to the masses who make up its clientele, it is a patronising, snooping and increasingly politically motivated institution. Save it? Why, exactly?...
Ask Comrade Kathy
...Here is how I would put it, quoting Abraham Lincoln: "Now, I ask you in all soberness if all these things, if indulged in, if ratified, if confirmed and endorsed, if taught to our children, and repeated to them, do not tend to rub out the sentiment of liberty in the country, and to transform this government into a government of some other form."

JOHN adds: The path to socialized medicine is painfully obvious. The government (state and federal) can drive up the cost of health insurance through mandates and other requirements, and then refuse to allow private insurance companies to raise rates to levels that make the business profitable. As private carriers exit the health insurance market, government "insurance" will be offered as the only alternative. President Obama is on record as saying that his intention is to drive private insurance into extinction over a ten to twenty year period. This purpose is being advanced across a broad front.