Monday, February 25, 2013

"If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind? The organizers maintain that society, when left undirected, rushes headlong to its inevitable destruction because the instincts of the people are so perverse. The legislators claim to stop this suicidal course and to give it a saner direction. Apparently, then, the legislators and the organizers have received from Heaven an intelligence and virtue that place them beyond and above mankind; if so, let them show their titles to this superiority."
-- Bastiat

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Allison, John A. (2012-09-06). The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure: Why Pure Capitalism is the World Economy’s Only Hope. McGraw-Hill. Kindle Edition.

...The day after TARP passed, we were contacted by our regulators. This was an informal contact over the phone. I received a very carefully stated nondocumentable message. The essence of the message was that although BB& T had substantially more capital than it needed under long-established regulatory standards, given the current economic environment, the regulators were going to create a new set of capital standards. They did not know what the standards would be.

However, they were “very concerned” that we would not have enough capital under these new standards unless we took the TARP capital. They had a regulatory team in place to reexamine our capital position immediately unless we took the TARP funding. The threat was very clear. We said, “Please sign us up for TARP.”

...There were three large financial institutions that were in severe distress at the time of the TARP discussion. Bernanke believed that if he tried to save these specific companies, the market would turn on them and they would face a major liquidity problem. However, if TARP were positioned as a program to provide liquidity to banks to encourage them to lend, instead of as a bailout, and especially if healthy banks participated, the market would not see the program as a bailout of specific firms. Even if it was viewed as a bailout (which it was), it would be seen as an industry rescue, not a rescue of specific banks. Therefore, the Fed effectively forced all banks with $ 100 billion and over to participate....
MSNBC boldly moves to plug its one remaining hole
Last month, MSNBC's Al Sharpton conducted a spirited debate about whether Obama belongs on Mount Rushmore or instead deserves a separate monument to his greatness (just weeks before replacing frequent Obama critic Cenk Uygur as MSNBC host, Sharpton publicly vowed never to criticize Barack Obama under any circumstances: a vow he has faithfully maintained). Earlier that day on the same network, a solemn discussion was held, in response to complaints from MSNBC viewers, about whether it is permissible to ever allow Barack Obama's name to pass through one's lips without prefacing it with an honorific such as "President" or "the Honorable" or perhaps "His Excellency" (that really did happen).

Yesterday, Chris Matthews - who infamously confessed that listening to Obama (sorry: President Obama) gives him a "thrill going up his leg" - hosted another discussion, this one involving former Obama campaign aide and MSNBC contributor Joy Reid, about whether the Honorable President should be mounted on Mount Rushmore (Matthews restrained himself by explaining that "I'm not talking about Mt. Rushmore but perhaps the level right below it", but then shared this fantasy: "If [Obama] were hearing us talking about him maybe mounting Mount Rushmore, getting up there with the great presidents...what would he be thinking? 'That's exactly what I'm doing?'"). A Pew poll found that in the week leading up to the 2012 election, MSNBC did not air a single story critical of the President or a single positive story about Romney - not a single one - even as Fox aired a few negative ones about Romney and a few positive ones about Obama. ...

...Impressively, David Axelrod left the White House and actually managed to find the only place on earth arguably more devoted to Barack Obama. Finally, American citizens will now be able to hear what journalism has for too long so vindictively denied them: a vibrant debate between Gibbs and Axelrod on how great Obama really is. ...
Australian academics: Democracy should be replaced by 'elite warrior leadership' in order to fight global warming
...Chapters 6 and 7 demonstrate that the inherent failures of democracy that have lead to the environmental crisis also operate in many other spheres of society. They are inherent to the operation of democracy. Furthermore, we come to share Plato’s conclusion that democracy is inherently contradictory and leads naturally to authoritarianism.

In chapters 8 and 9 we argue that authoritarianism is the natural state of humanity, and it may be better to choose our elites rather than have them imposed. Indeed Plato, on seeing the sequelae of democracy’s birth, observed that it is better that the just and wise should rule unwillingly, rather than those who actually want power should have it. We analyze authoritarian structures and their operation ranging from the medical intensive care unit and the Roman Catholic Church to corporatism with the conclusion that the crisis is best countered by developing authoritarian government using some of the fabric of these existing structures. The education and values of the new “elite warrior leadership” who will battle for the future of the earth is described....

IPCC Green Doctor Prescribes End to Democracy to Solve Global Warming
...Chapter 9 will describe in more detail how we might begin the process of constructing such real universities to train the ecowarriors to do battle against the enemies of life. We must accomplish this education with the same dedication used to train its warriors. As in Sparta, these natural elites will be especially trained from childhood to meet the challenging problems of our times. [p. 134]

Government in the future will be based upon . . . a supreme office of the biosphere. The office will comprise specially trained philosopher/ecologists. These guardians will either rule themselves or advise an authoritarian government of policies based on their ecological training and philosophical sensitivities. These guardians will be specially trained for the task. [p. 134]...
ObamaCare and the '29ers'
...Welcome to the strange new world of small-business hiring under ObamaCare. The law requires firms with 50 or more "full-time equivalent workers" to offer health plans to employees who work more than 30 hours a week. (The law says "equivalent" because two 15 hour a week workers equal one full-time worker.) Employers that pass the 50-employee threshold and don't offer insurance face a $2,000 penalty for each uncovered worker beyond 30 employees. So by hiring the 50th worker, the firm pays a penalty on the previous 20 as well. ...

...Because other federal employment regulations also kick in when a firm crosses the 50 worker threshold, employers are starting to cap payrolls at 49 full-time workers. These firms have come to be known as "49ers." Businesses that hire young and lower-skilled workers are also starting to put a ceiling on the work week of below 30 hours. These firms are the new "29ers." Part-time workers don't have to be offered insurance under ObamaCare.

The mandate to offer health insurance doesn't take effect until 2014, but the "measurement period" used by the feds to determine a firm's average number of full-time employees started last month. So the cutbacks and employment dodges are underway. ...

...But the damage won't be limited to franchisees or restaurants. A 2012 survey of employers by the Mercer consulting firm found that 67% of retail and wholesale firms that don't offer insurance coverage today "are more inclined to change their workforce strategy so that fewer employees meet that [30 hour a week] threshold." This week Nigel Travis, the CEO of Dunkin' Donuts, asked Congress to change the health law's definition of full-time to 40 hours a week from 30 hours so worker hours won't have to be cut...
As Country Club Republicans Link Up With The Democratic Ruling Class, Millions Of Voters Are Orphaned
On January 1, 2013 one third of Republican congressmen, following their leaders, joined with nearly all Democrats to legislate higher taxes and more subsidies for Democratic constituencies. Two thirds voted no, following the people who had elected them. For generations, the Republican Party had presented itself as the political vehicle for Americans whose opposition to ever-bigger government financed by ever-higher taxes makes them a “country class.” Yet modern Republican leaders, with the exception of the Reagan Administration, have been partners in the expansion of government, indeed in the growth of a government-based “ruling class.” They have relished that role despite their voters. Thus these leaders gradually solidified their choice to no longer represent what had been their constituency, but to openly adopt the identity of junior partners in that ruling class. By repeatedly passing bills that contradict the identity of Republican voters and of the majority of Republican elected representatives, the Republican leadership has made political orphans of millions of Americans. In short, at the outset of 2013 a substantial portion of America finds itself un-represented, while Republican leaders increasingly represent only themselves....

...It is impossible to overstate the importance of American education’s centralization, intellectual homogenization and partisanship in the formation of the ruling class’ leadership. Many have noted the increasing stratification of American society and that, unlike in decades past, entry into its top levels now depends largely on graduation from elite universities. As Charles Murray has noted, their graduates tend to marry one another, perpetuating what they like to call a “meritocracy.” But this is rule not by the meritorious, rather by the merely credentialed – because the credentials are suspect. As Ron Unz has shown, nowadays entry into the ivied gateways to power is by co-option, not merit. Moreover, the amount of study required at these universities leaves their products with more pretense than knowledge or skill. The results of their management– debt, decreased household net worth, increased social strife – show that America has been practicing negative selection of elites.

Nevertheless as the Democratic Party has grown its constituent parts into a massive complex of patronage, its near monopoly of education has endowed its leaders ever more firmly with the conviction that they are as entitled to deference and perquisites as they are to ruling. The host of its non-governmental but government-financed entities, such as Planned Parenthood and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, argue for government funding by stating, correctly, that they are pursuing the public interest as government itself defines it.

Thus by the turn of the twenty first century America had a bona fide ruling class that transcends government and sees itself at once as distinct from the rest of society – and as the only element thereof that may act on its behalf. It rules – to use New York Times columnist David Brooks’ characterization of Barack Obama – “as a visitor from a morally superior civilization.” ...

...The Republican Party never fully adapted itself to the fact that modern big government is an interest group in and of itself, inherently at odds with the rest of society, that it creates a demand for representation by those it alienates, and hence that politicians must choose whether to represent the rulers or the ruled. ...

...This internal contradiction was unsustainable. The Republican leadership, regarding its natural constituency as embarrassing to its pursuit of a larger role in government, limited its appeal to it. Thus it gradually cut itself off from the only root of the power by which it might gain that role. Thus the Republicans proved to be “the stupid party.”...
Obamacare's Health Exchanges Are Customer Free Zones
Last month, the CEO of the nation’s largest health insurance company warned that he and his peers may balk at participating in Obamacare’s insurance exchanges — online, government-run portals where consumers and small businesses without conventional employer-sponsored coverage may shop for policies starting next year.

“We will only participate in exchanges that we assess to be fair, commercially sustainable and provide a reasonable return on the capital they will require,” UnitedHealth Group Inc. CEO Stephen Hemsley said.

That’s ominous news for Obamacare. If insurers don’t participate in the law’s exchanges, then consumers who had hoped to secure affordable coverage through the new marketplaces will instead find few choices and high prices. Taxpayers could be hit hard, too, as higher premiums in the exchanges will require more public spending on subsidies....
Comcast denying gun advertisements on network
...Comcast Spotlight, the advertising division of Comcast Cable, is no longer allowing commercials advertising firearms or weapons on its nationwide network.

“Consistent with long standing NBC policies, Comcast Spotlight has decided it will not accept new advertising for firearms or weapons moving forward,” Comcast Spotlight explained in an emailed statement.

“This policy aligns us with the guidelines in place at many media organizations,” Comcast Spotlight added....

Comcast yanks a Houston-area gun shop's machine gun commercials off the air
...KHOU Ch. 11 News reports that the broadcaster's decision to pull the gun store's TV spots brings it in line with NBCUniversal's longstanding policy to not air advertisements for firearms and weapons. (Comcast won federal approval to acquire NBC in Jan. 2011.) The Arms Room's ads feature people shooting machine guns ...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Teacher says write about anything, then threatens zeros to students who wrote about guns
An English teacher at Denton High School on the edge of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex allegedly told students to write a few sentences about whatever topic they wanted for an assignment on Monday. However, the teacher then refused to grade the work of two students because they mentioned guns.

When the students — both seniors — wrote about innocuous gun-related themes, the teacher, Dewey Christian, scolded them in front of the class. Classmates laughed, and the students were humiliated, reports KDFW, the local FOX affiliate....

Ten shocking lessons a huge Texas conglomerate has foisted on public school students
Top Banker Says Government Caused Housing Crisis
Bribed by federal bailouts and threatened by lawsuits, top bankers have grudgingly gone along with the narrative that greed and deregulation caused the recession.

But one prominent CEO is breaking ranks as he leaves the embattled industry.

While running regional giant BB&T for two decades, John Allison had an insider's view of the factors behind the crisis. A burst of greed wasn't one of them, he says. Nor was deregulation.

"The financial industry was not deregulated, it was misregulated," he asserted.

In his new book, "The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure," Allison says at every step of the way, Washington politicians and regulators brought on the crisis and then made things worse during the panic....
Global Warming Consensus Looking More Like A Myth
Environment: The global warming alarmists repeat the line endlessly. They claim that there is a consensus among scientists that man is causing climate change. Fact is, they're not even close.

Yes, many climate scientists believe that emissions of greenhouse gases are heating the earth. Of course there are some who don't.

But when confining the question to geoscientists and engineers, it turns out that only 36% believe that human activities are causing Earth's climate to warm....

If the leader of the free world can lie with such impunity we are doomed
...And here's Marc Morano's unanswerable point by point rebuttal. Obama's war on climate change is a war against a chimera. He is enlarging the state, holding back the economic recovery, restricting freedoms, driving up the price of energy and killing jobs in order to deal with a problem which only exists in the discredited computer projections of a shameless cabal of grant-troughing activist scientists increasingly out of touch with real world data....

...I'll tell you what I fear. I think we have now reached that stage of last-days-of-the-Roman-Empire intellectual and moral depravity where almost no one in our dominant corporate/political/financier/lawyer class believes it's worthwhile or even possible to do the right thing any more. Some of them may be vaguely aware that, yes, the only way the world is ever going to recover from the economic mess we're in is through a radical agenda of cost-cutting, contraction of the state, sound money, and lower taxes. But they've made up their minds that none of this is a votewinner in our heavily socialised Western economies and that therefore the only hope is simply to grab what you can while you still can – and forget any fancy, idealistic notions you may have had about making the world a better place....
America’s New Mandarins
...All elites are good at rationalizing their eliteness, whether it's meritocracy or “the divine right of kings.” The problem is the mandarin elite has some good arguments. They really are very bright and hardworking. It’s just that they’re also prone to be conformist, risk averse, obedient, and good at echoing the opinions of authority, because that is what this sort of examination system selects for.

The even greater danger is that they become more and more removed from the people they are supposed to serve. Since I moved to Washington, I have had series of extraordinary conversations with Washington journalists and policy analysts, in which I remark upon some perfectly ordinary facet of working-class, or even business-class life, only to have this revelation met with amazement....

...I’m hinting at the final problem, which is that this ostensibly meritocratic system increasingly selects from those with enough wealth and connections to first, understand the system, and second, prepare the right credentials to enter it—as I believe it also did in Imperial China.

And like all elites, they believe that they not only rule because they can, but because they should. Even many quite left-wing folks do not fundamentally question the idea that the world should be run by highly verbal people who test well and turn their work in on time. They may think that machine operators should have more power and money in the workplace, and salesmen and accountants should have less. But if they think there's anything wrong with the balance of power in the system we all live under, it is that clever mandarins do not have enough power to bend that system to their will. For the good of everyone else, of course. Not that they spend much time with everyone else, but they have excellent imaginations....

Sunday, February 17, 2013

an ERISA expert, writes:
I don’t know if you will see this in your volume of email, but you might.

I am deeply into studying the impact of Obamacare on employers, and I have been communicating with highly sophisticated ERISA lawyers who are advising employers, from Fortune 50 companies to small firms under 50 employees, on whether to keep or drop or modify their employer group health plans.

It has become very clear to everyone involved who is analytical and not ideological that the rational strategy, for both large and small firms, is to cease providing health care insurance to employees.

No company wants to admit that they are considering eliminating health insurance as an option, or be the first one to drop their health insurance plan, but once a competitor does so, the preference cascade will begin. The clear sentiment is “We will not be the first one to drop our health insurance plan, but we would be a close second.”

The coming preference cascade for employer group health plans is what the Democrats fear the most, because Obamacare was sold to the masses as “if you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it.”

The people who really know the law, and who have been following the avalanche of regulations, have already figured this out. It will take a while for this specialized knowledge to seep downward, because right now only $800+ an hour ERISA attorneys and the most sophisticated HR people understand how Obamacare really works.

Valentine’s Day Surprise: Senate Democrats Blast Obamacare Implementation
...Testifying before the powerful Senate Finance Committee, the administration’s top regulator on new health exchanges encountered criticism from several Democrats who helped push through the 2010 federal health overhaul — among them Chairman Max Baucus of Montana and Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Bill Nelson of Florida and Maria Cantwell of Washington.

Baucus questioned how well the online health insurance marketplaces would interact with what he called “archaic” computer systems at Social Security and the Internal Revenue Service...
DHS Watchdog OKs ‘Suspicionless’ Seizure of Electronic Devices Along Border
The Department of Homeland Security’s civil rights watchdog has concluded that travelers along the nation’s borders may have their electronics seized and the contents of those devices examined for any reason whatsoever — all in the name of national security.

The DHS, which secures the nation’s border, in 2009 announced that it would conduct a “Civil Liberties Impact Assessment” of its suspicionless search-and-seizure policy pertaining to electronic devices “within 120 days.” More than three years later, the DHS office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties published a two-page executive summary of its findings.

“We also conclude that imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits,” the executive summary said.

The memo highlights the friction between today’s reality that electronic devices have become virtual extensions of ourselves housing everything from e-mail to instant-message chats to photos and our papers and effects — juxtaposed against the government’s stated quest for national security.

The President George W. Bush administration first announced the suspicionless, electronics search rules in 2008. The President Barack Obama administration followed up with virtually the same rules a year later. Between 2008 and 2010, 6,500 persons had their electronic devices searched along the U.S. border, according to DHS data.

According to legal precedent, the Fourth Amendment — the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures — does not apply along the border. By the way, the government contends the Fourth-Amendment-Free Zone stretches 100 miles inland from the nation’s actual border....
Superintendent demands raises for nation’s wealthiest teachers, says they deserve $100,000+ a year
...Last week, state Superintendent Mike Flanagan proposed boosting teachers’ salaries in Michigan to the $100,000 range. The raises would attract better math and science teachers to the state, he said.

“When you ratchet-up teacher salaries to $100,000-plus, market forces will direct more mid-career changers and you’ll attract more math and science college students into our educator prep programs,” he said in a statement.

But according to a new study from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Michigan teachers are already among the wealthiest in the country. When cost of living is factored in, Michigan teachers make more than teachers in every other state, except Illinois....

California no longer requiring eighth graders to take Algebra
California will no longer require eighth-graders to take algebra — a move that is line with the Common Core standards being adopted by most states, but that may leave students unprepared for college.

Last month, California formally shifted to the Common Core mathematics standards, which recommend that students delay taking algebra if they aren’t ready for it. Previously, algebra class was a requirement for all eighth-graders in the state.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative, which is sponsored by the National Governor’s Association, is an effort to unify diverse state education curricula. Forty-five other states and the District of Columbia have signed on so far.

But some education experts worry that the change will further damage struggling students’ college chances, since early proficiency in Algebra I is an excellent predictor of college graduation, according to the Mercury News....

Why the 'naughty' stereotype holds boys back at school: Children as young as 7 believe girls are better in class
The belief that girls are brainier and better behaved is holding boys back at school, research suggests.

A study of British pupils found that, from a young age, children think girls are academically superior.

And, what’s more, they believe that adults think so too. Girls are perceived as more hard working and organised by teachers

University of Kent researchers said the beliefs may be self-fulfilling and help explain why boys lag behind at so many subjects.

Simply boosting boys’ self-belief could help close the academic gap, they said.

Research showed that boys performed better in tests when told they were as good as girls....

Saturday, February 16, 2013

1974 Shock News : Global Cooling To Kill One Billion People
Office Working to Close Guantánamo Is Shuttered
The State Department on Monday reassigned Daniel Fried, the special envoy for closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and will not replace him, according to an internal personnel announcement. Mr. Fried’s office is being closed, and his former responsibilities will be “assumed” by the office of the department’s legal adviser, the notice said.

The announcement that no senior official in President Obama’s second term will succeed Mr. Fried in working primarily on diplomatic issues pertaining to repatriating or resettling detainees appeared to signal that the administration does not currently see the closing of the prison as a realistic priority, despite repeated statements that it still intends to do so. ...

Guantanamo Bay: Still Open, Despite Promises
...At the end of that year, in December, with Guantanamo still open and running, Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. He said in his acceptance speech: "I believe the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war. That is what makes us different from those whom we fight. That is a source of our strength." ..

Wall Street Is Still Giving to President
President Barack Obama called Wall Street executives "fat cats,'' criticized their bonuses and tried to raise their taxes. The financial-services industry, in turn, has directed a stream of complaints toward the administration, fueling perceptions of a rift between the president and a key 2008 donor group.

But, defying expectations, the securities and investment industry has remained an important part of the Obama fundraising effort. Mr. Obama and the Democratic National Committee raised more than $14 million from the securities and investment industry through the end of April, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics....

Obama Acts Like Bush, Liberals Suffer “Cognitive Dissonance”
...Isn't it a little late for a wake-up call? Obama has already waged a war in Libya without congressional approval, which is a pretty good signal that he takes an expansive view of executive power. And then there's the fact that Obama rammed several very high-profile government appointments past the U.S. Senate by invoking his recess appointment power when the Senate was not actually in recess—an executive power play that Bush never attempted. But I suppose it's better late than never when it comes to criticizing presidential overreach....

DOJ kill list memo forces many Dems out of the closet as overtly unprincipled hacks
...Illustrating this odd phenomenon was a much-discussed New York Times article on Sunday by Peter Baker which explained that these events "underscored the degree to which Mr. Obama has embraced some of Mr. Bush's approach to counterterrorism, right down to a secret legal memo authorizing presidential action unfettered by outside forces." It began this way:

"If President Obama tuned in to the past week's bracing debate on Capitol Hill about terrorism, executive power, secrecy and due process, he might have recognized the arguments his critics were making: He once made some of them himself.

"Four years into his tenure, the onetime critic of President George W. Bush finds himself cast as a present-day Mr. Bush, justifying the muscular application of force in the defense of the nation while detractors complain that he has sacrificed the country's core values in the name of security."

Baker also noticed this: "Some liberals acknowledged in recent days that they were willing to accept policies they once would have deplored as long as they were in Mr. Obama's hands, not Mr. Bush's." As but one example, the article quoted Jennifer Granholm, the former Michigan governor and fervent Obama supporter, as admitting without any apparent shame that "if this was Bush, I think that we would all be more up in arms" because, she said "we trust the president". Thus did we have - while some media liberals objected - scores of progressives and conservatives uniting to overtly embrace the once-controversial Bush/Cheney premises of the War on Terror (it's a global war! the whole world is a battlefield! the president has authority to do whatever he wants to The Terrorists without interference from courts!) in order to defend the war's most radical power yet (the president's power to assassinate even his own citizens in secret, without charges, and without checks)....

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Climate change: apocalypse postponed
Even scientists at the forefront of climate-change alarmism accept the world isn’t warming as quickly as once thought.

...Because amid all the heat about climate-change ‘alarmists’ and ‘deniers’, and the claims that the world is about to get unbearably hot over the next few decades, the ‘consensus’ view on where temperatures are heading has become more moderate in recent times - which should have consequences for how we approach the problem of tackling climate change.

One area that has attracted considerable attention is the lack of rising temperatures in the past decade or so. Climate sceptics have been loudly pointing at this fact for some time, but have been dismissed by what might be called the climate-change establishment. However, in recent months, there has been a quiet recognition that temperatures are not rising anything like as fast as expected, despite greenhouse-gas emissions galloping upwards....

...More generally, there has been a scaling down of expectations on global warming, a fact well illustrated by the New York Times environment writer, Andrew Revkin, in a recent blog post. Revkin observes that ‘there is an accumulating body of reviewed, published research shaving away the high end of the range of possible warming estimates from doubled carbon dioxide levels’....
LAPD Had "No Idea" Who They Were Shooting At In Dorner Pursuit, Says Victims' Attorney
"It's 100 percent clear that they had no idea who was in that vehicle and just lit it up," says attorney Christopher Driscoll.

Driscoll is representing Maggie Carranza, 47, and her mother, 71-year-old Emma Hernandez, the two women who were shot on Thursday, Feb. 7 in Torrance, CA by LAPD officers. The officers were on the hunt for Christopher Dorner, and claim to have mistaken Carranza and Hernandez's truck for Dorner's.

"They had a description of the suspect, they had a description of the suspect's vehicle. The two women obviously do not match that description in any way," Driscoll says. ...

Details emerge in LAPD's mistaken shooting of newspaper carriers
...A few minutes later, a truck slowly rolled down the quiet residential street.

As the vehicle approached the house, officers opened fire, unloading a barrage of bullets into the back of the truck. When the shooting stopped, they quickly realized their mistake. The truck was not a Nissan Titan, but a Toyota Tacoma. The color wasn't gray, but aqua blue. And it wasn't Dorner inside the truck, but a woman and her mother delivering copies of the Los Angeles Times.

In an interview with The Times on Friday, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck outlined the most detailed account yet of how the shooting unfolded. Margie Carranza, 47, and her mother, Emma Hernandez, 71, were the victims of "a tragic misinterpretation" by officers working under "incredible tension," he said. Just hours before, Dorner allegedly shot three police officers, one fatally. And, in an online posting authorities attributed to him, Dorner threatened to kill more police and seemed to take responsibility for the slaying over the weekend of the daughter of a retired LAPD captain and her fiance.

Beck and others stressed that the investigation into the shooting is in its infancy. They declined to say how many officers were involved, what kind of weapons they used, how many bullets were fired and, perhaps most important, what kind of verbal warnings — if any — were given to the women before the shooting began.

Law enforcement sources told The Times that at least seven officers opened fire. On Friday, the street was pockmarked with bullet holes in cars, trees, garage doors and roofs. Residents said they wanted to know what happened....

Police seeking Dorner opened fire in a second case of mistaken identity
David Perdue was on his way to sneak in some surfing before work Thursday morning when police flagged him down. They asked who he was and where he was headed, then sent him on his way.

Seconds later, Perdue's attorney said, a Torrance police cruiser slammed into his pickup and officers opened fire; none of the bullets struck Perdue.

His pickup, police later explained, matched the description of the one belonging to Christopher Jordan Dorner — the ex-cop who has evaded authorities after allegedly killing three and wounding two more. But the pickups were different makes and colors. And Perdue looks nothing like Dorner: He's several inches shorter and about a hundred pounds lighter. And Perdue is white; Dorner is black.

"I don't want to use the word buffoonery but it really is unbridled police lawlessness," said Robert Sheahen, Perdue's attorney. "These people need training and they need restraint."...

3 bystanders reportedly shot by police during hunt for murder suspect
Three bystanders suffered gunshot wounds Thursday morning after California police mistakenly opened fire on individuals driving a truck that matched the description of the vehicle being driven by a suspect police say is following through on a manifesto to kill police officers, reported....
MSNBC's Touré: Killing Untried 16-Year-Olds Is OK, Killing Convicted Murderers Isn't
...As the segment progresses, it becomes apparent that Touré isn't familiar with the nonpartisan criticisms of Obama's assassination policy. For instance, when Salon's Steve Kornacki asks him about the killing of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, the Denver-born 16-year-old son of radical (New Mexico-born) cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, Touré responds, "What do you mean what about the 16-year-old who was killed?" and then "We’re not talking about civilian casualties." And when his co-hosts continue to press him on the consequences of a small group of individuals determing who deserves to die without a shred of oversight, Touré dismisses them by saying, "Al Qaeda attacked this nation. We are attacking al Qaeda back." On Twitter Touré simply said, "He's the Commander in Chief."

Touré's confidence in Obama's assassination policy is fascinating in light of his skepticism of capital punishment, which he revealed after the executions of Troy Davis and Lawrence Brewer:

America is one of the last nations in the world to still employ the death penalty even though it cripples our status as a world moral leader and is barbaric and is not uniformly applied and is subject to bias and is rife with error and sometimes leads to the execution of people we’re not completely certain actually committed the crime. How could that happen? We’re just human and we need to end the death penalty and get out of the business of playing God.” ...

What Do Iran, Belgium, and Thailand Have in Common? Complicity in CIA Torture
The Open Society Justice Initiative has released a report on the CIA’s extraordinary rendition and secret detention programs. The report lists 54 countries that participated in the operations. Involvement included helping capture suspected terrorists, hosting CIA prisons, actually “interrogating” suspects themselves, and allowing flights used for extraordinary rendition to pass through their airspace....

Read the list of countries implicated in the Open Society Justice Initiative report below the jump.

1. Afghanistan
2. Albania
3. Algeria
4. Australia
5. Austria
6. Azerbaijan
7. Belgium
8. Bosnia-Heregovina
9. Canada
10. Croatia
11. Cyprus
12. Czech Republic
13. Denmark
14. Djibouti
15. Egypt
16. Ethiopia
17. Finland
18. Republic of the Gambia
19. Georgia
20. Germany
21. Greece
22. Hong Kong
23. Iceland
24. Indonesia
25. Iran
26. Ireland
27. Italy
28. Jordan
29. Kenya
30. Libya
31. Lithuania
32. Macedonia
33. Malawi
34. Malaysia
35. Mauritania
36. Morocco
37. Pakistan
38. Poland
39. Portugal
40. Romania
41. Saudi Arabia
42. Somalia
43. South Africa
44. Spain
45. Sri Lanka
46. Sweden
47. Syria
48. Thailand
49. Turkey
50. United Arab Emirates
51. United Kingdom
52. Uzbekistan
53. Yemen
54. Zimbabwe
Chilling legal memo from Obama DOJ justifies assassination of US citizens
The most extremist power any political leader can assert is the power to target his own citizens for execution without any charges or due process, far from any battlefield. The Obama administration has not only asserted exactly that power in theory, but has exercised it in practice. In September 2011, it killed US citizen Anwar Awlaki in a drone strike in Yemen, along with US citizen Samir Khan, and then, in circumstances that are still unexplained, two weeks later killed Awlaki's 16-year-old American son Abdulrahman with a separate drone strike in Yemen.

Since then, senior Obama officials including Attorney General Eric Holder and John Brennan, Obama's top terrorism adviser and his current nominee to lead the CIA, have explicitly argued that the president is and should be vested with this power. Meanwhile, a Washington Post article from October reported that the administration is formally institutionalizing this president's power to decide who dies under the Orwellian title "disposition matrix".

When the New York Times back in April, 2010 first confirmed the existence of Obama's hit list, it made clear just what an extremist power this is, noting: "It is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for an American to be approved for targeted killing." The NYT quoted a Bush intelligence official as saying "he did not know of any American who was approved for targeted killing under the former president". When the existence of Obama's hit list was first reported several months earlier by the Washington Post's Dana Priest, she wrote that the "list includes three Americans".

What has made these actions all the more radical is the absolute secrecy with which Obama has draped all of this. Not only is the entire process carried out solely within the Executive branch - with no checks or oversight of any kind - but there is zero transparency and zero accountability. The president's underlings compile their proposed lists of who should be executed, and the president - at a charming weekly event dubbed by White House aides as "Terror Tuesday" - then chooses from "baseball cards" and decrees in total secrecy who should die.

The core distortion of the War on Terror under both Bush and Obama is the Orwellian practice of equating government accusations of terrorism with proof of guilt. One constantly hears US government defenders referring to "terrorists" when what they actually mean is: those accused by the government of terrorism. This entire memo is grounded in this deceit....
Is the Climate Less Sensitive than We Thought?
...on one critically important metric — how hot the planet will get from a doubling of the pre-industrial concentration of greenhouse gases, a k a “climate sensitivity” — some climate researchers with substantial publication records are shifting toward the lower end of the warming spectrum.

There’s still plenty of global warming and centuries of coastal retreats in the pipeline, so this is hardly a “benign” situation, as some have cast it.

But while plenty of other climate scientists hold firm to the idea that the full range of possible outcomes, including a disruptively dangerous warming of more than 4.5 degrees C. (8 degrees F.), remain in play, it’s getting harder to see why the high-end projections are given much weight....
Suspected cop killer an Obama, Piers Morgan fan
Los Angeles police launched a manhunt Thursday for former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner, who is suspected of murdering two people last weekend and killing one person and wounding another in a shooting Thursday morning. A lengthy manifesto on Dorner’s Facebook page states his support for President Barack Obama and CNN host Piers Morgan, and his hatred of both the National Rifle Association and former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney....

The manifesto, reportedly 22 pages long, expressed the suspected killer’s support for President Obama and anti-gun CNN host Piers Morgan....

Shooter chose conservative group to target from list of “hate groups” posted on SPLC website
... Prosecutors say Corkins, who had been volunteering at a center for gay, lesbian and transgender people, was carrying ammunition and Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his bag. Chick-fil-A was making headlines at the time because of its president’s stated opposition to gay marriage.

Corkins intended to smear the sandwiches in the faces of his victims to make a statement about gay rights opponents, he acknowledged during a hearing Wednesday…

In his plea agreement, Corkins acknowledged he identified the [Family Research] Council as “an anti-gay organization” by visiting Southern Poverty’s website. The head of the Council, Tony Perkins, called on the group to stop labeling his organization and others hate groups because of their stance on gay issues. A spokeswoman for the Alabama-based Law Center did not immediately return a telephone message…

“He targeted us because we had been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which we think is very reckless,” [FRC employee Leo Johnson] says....

Accused cop-killer left manifesto praising Obama, Hillary, Piers Morgan, gun control
...If you don’t want to pick through his rant for the references to Obama, Morgan, the assault-weapons ban, etc., Sooper Mexican and Breitbart have the key excerpts — some of which, as SM notes, were curiously redacted by media outlets after police asked them simply to excise the names of individual police officers who were identified by Dorner. The rest of this post you can write yourself, especially if you read yesterday’s item about the egregious double standard between the media’s treatment of Palin after Tucson and the SPLC after the FRC shooting. The left, needless to say, is blameless for Dorner’s actions. Also needless to say, if his manifesto had extolled gun rights and called Obama “a vile and inhumane piece of sh*t” instead of Wayne LaPierre, this would be a five-alarm media inferno floating on a sea of sweaty rhetoric about The Conservative Movement turning to madness over gun control. ...

JOURNALISM: MSM covers up Christopher Dorner’s hard-Left political views.

Master murder-politicizer Piers Morgan: Don’t politicize Dorner murder spree.

Disturbing: Supporters, admirers leap to alleged murderer Christopher Dorner’s defense.

UPDATE: It’s worth taking Piers Morgan off TV if it saves a single life.
The Incredible Shrinking PPACA
...According to the CBO’s latest estimates, the PPACA will lead to only 27 million people gaining coverage. One factor is the refusal of some governors to participate in the Medicaid expansion. Another is that millions of Americans are expected to lose their employer-based coverage, a point the WSJ emphasizes in this story.

The CBO has long said it expects the new federal health law will prompt some companies to drop millions of employees from health plans because workers have new options to buy insurance on their own. In August, CBO put the number at four million over 10 years. Now it’s seven million....

Sweet: ObamaCare is going to cost us 127 million+ hours a year
... Every hour and dollar spent complying with the Democrats’ health care law are time and resources being taken from spending time with family, growing a business and creating jobs, or caring for patients. Since many small businesses do not employ in-house lawyers and accountants, compliance costs are especially expensive and burdensome. Given the new demands of complying with the law, it is not surprising that over 70 percent of small businesses cite the health care law as a major obstacle to job creation.

What could be done in 127,602,371 hours?

Mount Rushmore, which took 14 years to build, could be constructed 1,040 times.
Halley’s comet, seen from Earth once every 76 years, could be spotted 191 times.
The Empire State building, which took 7 million hours to build, could be constructed 18 times.

Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) stated, “This is just another example of the Obama Administration placing the burden of their policies on the backs of those who are already doing more with less time and resources – families and small businesses. With many rules and regulations yet to come, these 127 million burden hours – many of them due to complying with new taxes – are just the tip of the iceberg. Worst of all, the law has failed to deliver what Americans need most – affordable health care.”...
The Relentless March of the U.S. Police State
...Turley does not say much in this article about the other rail of the Police State Railway that Americans are riding to hell: the drug war, with its massive arrests, prosecution, and imprisonment of people charged only with victimless crimes and its militarization of the state and local police all over the country. (On the militarization of the police, see especially this research paper, a revised version of which will appear in the spring issue of The Independent Review.) This massive bloating of police power and legalized oppression and the corresponding suppression of individual rights have brought down to the lowest level the threats to life, liberty, and happiness that the war on terrorism has created in what most people view as a more remote and less threatening venue—”out there” somewhere, in drone-istan.

Each day, the U.S. police state grows larger, more powerful, more pervasive, and more menacing. When will the majority awaken to the realization that this threat has nothing to do with party politics, that it makes no difference whether a Republican or a Democrat occupies the presidency while our freedoms are demolished?

This country was never a paradise of liberty; it always countenanced the oppression of plenty of people, especially Indians, blacks, and socially marginalized people who did not behave as the “respectable” white elites wanted them to behave. Yet, for the majority of Americans, freedom was a reality in most spheres of life, if only because the governments of the day were too weak to crush the people’s freedoms more thoroughly....

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Japanese Analysis of US Gov Data Indicates Warming … Stopped?
...BTW, in case it isn’t obvious, this find throws the “hottest ever” claims of NOAA/NCDC/NASA into serious question, since the temperature peaks of the last decade are well below that of the NOAA/NASA/Met office data set.

What are they going to say, that Japanese scientists “did it wrong” when they cite it in their own publications?

What we really need to see is the unadjusted CLIMAT data reports plotted prior to 2000. I’m betting NCDC will be loathe to do that, for obvious reasons....

Center for American Progress’ Christie Hefner: Climate change a factor in Chicago’s murder rate
On Wednesday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” the Center for American Progress’ Christie Hefner said that Chicago’s sky-high murder rate could be blamed — at least in part — on climate change.

“Yes, last year we hit a record number of murders from guns [in Chicago],” Hefner, the former chairwoman and chief executive officer of Playboy Enterprises, said. “And this year we are already outpacing last year’s numbers. Now, there are contributing factors that are not under anybody’s control and may seem odd, but it is factually true. One of them is actually the weather. There is a dramatic increase in gun violence when it is warmer. And we are having this climate change effect that is driving that.”

The average high temperature July, the hottest month in both Chicago and the much-safer New York City, is the same for both cities at 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Scarborough took a moment to sardonically thank Hefner for that statement on behalf of conservative bloggers.

“Christie, can I just stop you and say conservative bloggers across America, thank you for saying that climate change is responsible for the rising murder rates in Chicago,” Scarborough said. “You have just made a lot of people in their basements of their mothers’ homes very happy.”...

Report shows UN admitting solar activity may play significant role in global warming
...A leaked report by a United Nations’ group dedicated to climate studies says that heat from the sun may play a larger role than previously thought.

“[Results] do suggest the possibility of a much larger impact of solar variations on the stratosphere than previously thought, and some studies have suggested that this may lead to significant regional impacts on climate,” reads a draft copy of a major, upcoming report from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The man who leaked the report, StopGreenSuicide blogger Alec Rawls, told that the U.N.’s statements on solar activity were his main motivation for leaking the document.

“The public needs to know now how the main premises and conclusions of the IPCC story line have been undercut by the IPCC itself,” Rawls wrote on his website in December, when he first leaked the report.

Rawls blames the U.N. for burying its point about the effect of the sun in Chapter 11 of the report....
State Tries to Steal Child Support Money From a National Guardsman Who Was Seven Years Old at the Time the Child in Question Was Born? How "Odd"!
...A Florida man says the state is trying to force him to pay child support for a child who was born when he was 7 years old.

Rusty Cole, a National Guardsman from Port Orange, Fla., said his tax return was delayed by the state because officials told him he owes support payments for a child born in 1995 -- despite the fact that Cole was born in late 1987, Central Florida News 13 reported Wednesday.

Cole said weeks of phone calls and office visits failed to yield any results.

"They were like, 'Oh, yes, we have it on here that you are the father,' and I was like, 'Ma'am, there's no way,'" Cole said to News 13....

Name mix-up costs man thousands in wrongful child support payments
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge man is fighting to prove he is not the father of two children he believes he has wrongfully been paying child support on, possibly for years. The money was taken from his check and it was only recently he figured out what one mysterious deduction was for.

Just about everyone sees deductions on their pay stubs for things like insurance and taxes. However, one man's story may encourage some people to take a closer look at what is being taken out of their paychecks. Lionel Sims admits he was clueless about what was deducted from his.

"I used to always wonder why it said, 'Discretionary Allotment," Sims recalled.

He served 12 years in the Navy and is now in the Reserves. He is a father of one. However, he believes his paycheck has been garnished for years for two children he claims could not possibly be his.

Sims said he never paid much attention to the deductions taken out of his paychecks while serving, but just a few months ago, he got a job at Walmart and when his pay stubs were handed to him he was face-to-face with something he could not believe.

"Maybe the third week that I started working there, I got a check stub that read, 'Family Support, Child Support,'" he said. "I'm like, 'What is this?'"

Sims said $198 was taken out of his check every two weeks. After getting an attorney and doing a bit of digging, Sims found out his pay was being garnished by the Jones County Division of Child Support Enforcement in Ellisville, MS. Sims claimed he has never heard of such a place. He later found out who had allegedly filed child support orders against him....
Obama's non-closing of GITMO, kind NYT headlines, and US government irony
...The New York Times' Charlie Savage reported yesterday that the State Department "reassigned Daniel Fried, the special envoy for closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and will not replace him". That move obviously confirms what has long been assumed: that the camp will remain open indefinitely and Obama's flamboyant first-day-in-office vow will go unfulfilled. Dozens of the current camp detainees have long been cleared by Pentagon reviews for release - including Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a 36-year-old Yemeni who died at the camp in September after almost 11 years in a cage despite never having been charged with a crime. Like so many of his fellow detainees, his efforts to secure his release were vigorously (and successfully) thwarted by the Obama administration....
NRA president says anti-gun advocates threatened to kill son, daughter
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller’s Ginni Thomas, NRA President David Keene said anti-gun advocates have made threats against his son and daughter in the wake of the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School....

Chicago murders top Afghanistan death toll
...The death toll by murder in Chicago over the past decade is greater than the number of American forces who have died in Afghanistan since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, according to a police analysis.

In addition, police reports in Chicago – where President Obama once worked as a community organizer and where his former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, now serves as mayor – show most of the city’s massive murder mayhem is black-on-black crime....

British Rape Rates
... The 2010 National Crime Victimization Survey shows 188,380 rapes in the U.S.; the U.S. population in 2010 was 308 million. That gives 61.16 rapes per 100,000 population, our about 43% of the British Crime Survey victimization rate.

I certainly will not claim the United Kingdom has more than twice the rape rate because American women are allowed to own guns while British women for practical purposes are not, but it does make you wonder, doesn't it? ...

Convicted rapist organizes gun control demonstration at Dayton gun show; Media fails to note his sex offender status
...In short, "Anti-Gun-Protestor Jerome McCorry" and "Rapist-and-Convicted-Felon Jerome McCorry" are one and the same person, and WHIO-TV and The Dayton Daily News have been treating this man as a legitimate voice of reason that should be considered in the debate over whether or not rape and other crime victims should be able to buy firearms in order to protect themselves from attack.

What's even worse, this isn't the first time. A search of the WHIO-TV website shows Jerome McCorry appearing in other articles advocating gun control over the past few years, and one article about an incident in which an Adam Project-sponsored rally turned violent....
Red-handed: Associated Press caught inserting “assault rifle” into Alabama hostage standoff
...Yes, the Associated Press has been caught red-handed changing “shotgun” to “assault rifle” in their reporting.

Since the beginning of the standoff (example) it has been reported only that Dykes has been armed with a shotgun when patrolling his property. The morphing of the shotgun into an assault rifle seems to have happened within the past four hours.

Update: Without noting that they’ve made a correction of any kind, the story has changed again:

Dykes was known around the neighborhood as a menacing figure who neighbors said once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe, threatened to shoot children for setting foot on his property and patrolled his yard at night with a flashlight and a firearm. ...
Just NBC Yet Another Deceptive Edit
...This is at least the fifth time in recent years that NBC or MSNBC has gotten caught cooking the books, John Nolte writes at Big Journalism:

1. During last year’s presidential election Andrea Mitchell was caught manufacturing a Romney gaffe where none existed.

2. During last year’s GOP primary, Ed Schultz edited video of Texas Governor Rick Perry to make him look racist.

3. In April of last year, the “Today Show” was caught editing audio of a 9-1-1 call to make George Zimmerman look racist.

4. In August of 2009, Contessa Brewer sliced and diced a photograph so it wouldn’t look like a black man attended a Tea Party carrying a firearm.

And just today, NBC was caught in yet another malicious edit, this time to make Second Amendment advocates look as though they did something as heinous as heckling the heartsick father of a child who lost his six-year-old son in the Sandy Hook massacre. You can watch the full video and NBC’s science fiction adaptation side-by-side here.

All of this has happened under the watch of Steve Capus (pictured above), who’s not only the president of NBC News, but also the “the arbiter of issues involving ethics, style, standards, safety and other matters that affect the Division’s journalistic bearing.”...
IRS: Cheapest qualifying family health-insurance plan will be $20K
Update: The Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Kessler argues that every claim made to push ObamaCare has been proven false:

• Lower health-care costs. One key talking point for ObamaCare was that it would reduce the cost of insurance, especially for non-group insurance. The president, citing the work of several health-policy experts, claimed that improved care coordination, investments in information technology, and more efficient marketing through exchanges would save the typical family $2,500 per year.

That was then. Now, even advocates for the law acknowledge that premiums are going up. In analyses conducted for the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Colorado, Jonathan Gruber of MIT forecasts that premiums in the non-group market will rise by 19% to 30% due to the law. Other estimates are even higher. The actuarial firm Milliman predicts that non-group premiums in Ohio will rise by 55%-85%. Maine, Oregon and Nevada have sponsored their own studies, all of which reach essentially the same conclusion. …

• Smaller deficits. Increases in the estimated impact of the law on private insurance premiums, along with increases in the estimated cost of health care more generally, have led the Congressional Budget Office to increase its estimate of the budget cost of the law’s coverage expansion. In 2010, CBO estimated the cost per year of expanding coverage at $154 billion; by 2012, the estimated cost grew to $186 billion. Yet CBO still scores the law as reducing the deficit.

How can this be? The positive budget score turns on the fact that the estimated revenues to pay for the law have risen along with its costs. The single largest source of these revenues? Money taken from Medicare in the form of lower Medicare payment rates, mostly in the law’s out-years. Since the law’s passage, however, Congress and the president have undone various scheduled Medicare cuts—including some prescribed by the law itself. ….

• Preservation of existing insurance. After the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of health reform in June 2012, President Obama said, “If you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your insurance.” This theme ran throughout the selling of ObamaCare: People who have insurance would not have their current arrangements disrupted.

This claim is obviously false. Indeed, disruption of people’s existing insurance is one of the law’s stated goals. On one hand, the law seeks to increase the generosity of policies that it deems too stingy, by limiting deductibles and mandating coverage that the secretary of Health and Human Services thinks is “essential,” whether or not the policyholder can afford it. On the other hand, the law seeks to reduce the generosity of policies that it deems too extravagant, by imposing the “Cadillac tax” on costly insurance plans.