Friday, April 18, 2014



Defense Dept Confiscating Apache Helicopters From States, National Guard

by Rick Wells

To most even the most casual observer, the advantage that air power provides in an armed combat situation was undeniably demonstrated in the “shock and awe” of the attacks by U.S. forces on Baghdad in the opening nights of the Iraq War. There are countless other examples, but against that backdrop alone, it is difficult to make a rational argument denying the value of air supremacy.

That supremacy can take on many forms, depending upon the situation. In a civil uprising in response to domestic tyranny, the Apache helicopter makes for a formidable weapon. 192 of them which currently are in possession of various state governors across America are about to be transferred to active duty military. That number represents every Apache which is currently assigned to National Guard units.

They will be taken out of the hands of local elected officials and placed into those of the increasingly less representative and more oppressive federal government.

In exchange for the Apaches, 111 of the UH-60 Blackhawk transport helicopters will be offered as replacements. Not only are the states left with a less offensively powerful aircraft, they are also seeing their number significantly reduced.

The justification for the reassignment is financial. The selection process of what are the best means through which to achieve meaningful spending cuts needs recalibrating. Perhaps better recognition of the growing dissent within the ranks of the American public has something to do with this decision. Could it be that the federal government is concerned of possible state rebellions?

The Apache is a four-blade, twin-engine attack helicopter with a tail wheel-type landing gear arrangement, and a tandem cockpit for a two-man crew. It features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems. It is armed with a 30 mm (1.18 in) M230 Chain Gun carried between the main landing gear, under the aircraft’s forward fuselage. It has four hard points mounted on stub-wing pylons, typically carrying a mixture of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70 rocket pods. The AH-64 has a large amount of systems redundancy to improve combat survivability.

That same source describes the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk as a four-bladed, twin-engine, medium-lift utility helicopter.

The question has to be asked, is the problem that is being created by budget cuts at a time of record spending in other areas merely a false premise to replace a helicopter that has offensive capabilities with a lesser number of transport vehicles?

While funding healthcare and welfare for illegal aliens, as well as the recruiting and resettling of foreigners of every description within our nation continues to crush our systems under their own burdensome requirements, our security measures are being curtailed. The situation is being set for massive civil disorder. Control of an important piece of equipment for dealing with unrest or offensive action is being taken from the local level to the federal in this helicopter shell game.

Bunkerville has shown us that there is no shortage of an appetite for power and control within those at the federal level as well as some state officials. Expect an escalation of the frequency of acts of procurement such as this in the lead up to a federal excuse to use them.

SOURCE

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The US is an oligarchy, study concludes

A Leftist analysis that gets it right

The US government does not represent the interests of the majority of the country's citizens, but is instead ruled by those of the rich and powerful, a new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities has concluded.

The report, entitled Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens, used extensive policy data collected from between the years of 1981 and 2002 to empirically determine the state of the US political system.

After sifting through nearly 1,800 US policies enacted in that period and comparing them to the expressed preferences of average Americans (50th percentile of income), affluent Americans (90th percentile) and large special interests groups, researchers concluded that the United States is dominated by its economic elite.

The peer-reviewed study, which will be taught at these universities in September, says: "The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence."

Researchers concluded that US government policies rarely align with the the preferences of the majority of Americans, but do favour special interests and lobbying oragnisations: "When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it."

The positions of powerful interest groups are "not substantially correlated with the preferences of average citizens", but the politics of average Americans and affluent Americans sometimes does overlap. This merely a coincidence, the report says, with the the interests of the average American being served almost exclusively when it also serves those of the richest 10 per cent.

The theory of "biased pluralism" that the Princeton and Northwestern researchers believe the US system fits holds that policy outcomes "tend to tilt towards the wishes of corporations and business and professional associations."

The study comes in the wake of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, a controversial piece of legislation passed in The Supreme Court that abolished campaign contribution limits, and record low approval ratings for the US congress.

SOURCE

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86M Full-Time Private-Sector Workers Sustain 148M Benefit Takers

Buried deep on the website of the U.S. Census Bureau is a number every American citizen, and especially those entrusted with public office, should know. It is 86,429,000.

That is the number of Americans who in 2012 got up every morning and went to work — in the private sector — and did it week after week after week.

These are the people who built America, and these are the people who can sustain it as a free country. The liberal media have not made them famous like the polar bear, but they are truly a threatened species.

It is not a rancher with a few hundred head of cattle that is attacking their habitat, nor an energy company developing a fossil fuel. It is big government and its primary weapon — an ever-expanding welfare state.

First, let's look at the basic taxonomy of the full-time, year-round American worker.

In 2012, according to the Census Bureau, approximately 103,087,000 people worked full-time, year-round in the United States. "A full-time, year-round worker is a person who worked 35 or more hours per week (full time) and 50 or more weeks during the previous calendar year (year round)," said the Census Bureau. "For school personnel, summer vacation is counted as weeks worked if they are scheduled to return to their job in the fall."

Of the 103,087,000 full-time, year-round workers, 16,606,000 worked for the government. That included 12,597,000 who worked for state and local government and 4,009,000 who worked for the federal government.

The 86,429,000 Americans who worked full-time, year-round in the private sector, included 77,392,000 employed as wage and salary workers for private-sector enterprises and 9,037,000 who worked for themselves. (There were also approximately 52,000 who worked full-time, year-round without pay in a family enterprise.)

At first glance, 86,429,000 might seem like a healthy population of full-time private-sector workers. But then you need to look at what they are up against.

The Census Bureau also estimates the size of the benefit-receiving population.

This population, too, falls into two broad categories. The first includes those who receive benefits for public services they performed or in exchange for payroll taxes they dutifully paid their entire working lives. Among these, for example, are those receiving veteran's benefits, those on unemployment and those getting Medicare and Social Security.

The second category includes those who get "means-tested" government benefits — or welfare. These include, for example, those who get Medicaid, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income, public housing, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and Women, Infants Children.

Let's examine this second category first, which the Census Bureau reports as "anyone residing in a household in which one or more people received benefits from the program."

In the last quarter of 2011, according to the Census Bureau, approximately 82,457,000 people lived in households where one or more people were on Medicaid. 49,073,000 lived in households were someone got food stamps. 23,228,000 lived in households where one or more got WIC. 20,223,000 lived in households where one or more got SSI. 13,433,000 lived in public or government-subsidized housing.

Of course, it stands to reason that some people lived in households that received more than one welfare benefit at a time. To account for this, the Census Bureau published a neat composite statistic: There were 108,592,000 people in the fourth quarter of 2011 who lived in a household that included people on "one or more means-tested program."

Those 108,592,000 outnumbered the 86,429,000 full-time private-sector workers who inhabited the United States in 2012 by almost 1.3 to 1.

This brings us to the first category of benefit receivers. There were 49,901,000 people receiving Social Security in the fourth quarter of 2011, and 46,440,000 receiving Medicare. There were also 5,098,000 getting unemployment compensation.

And there were also, 3,178,000 veterans receiving benefits and 34,000 veterans getting educational assistance.

All told, including both the welfare recipients and the non-welfare beneficiaries, there were 151,014,000 who "received benefits from one or more programs" in the fourth quarter of 2011. Subtract the 3,212,000 veterans, who served their country in the most profound way possible, and that leaves 147,802,000 non-veteran benefit takers.

The 147,802,000 non-veteran benefit takers outnumbered the 86,429,000 full-time private sector workers 1.7 to 1.

How much more can the 86,429,000 endure?

As more baby boomers retire, and as Obamacare comes fully online — with its expanded Medicaid rolls and federally subsidized health insurance for anyone earning less than 400 percent of the poverty level — the number of takers will inevitably expand. And the number of full-time private-sector workers might also contract.

Eventually, there will be too few carrying too many, and America will break.

SOURCE

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WHY YOU SHOULD BE SYMPATHETIC TOWARD CLIVEN BUNDY

He is one of the "old" self-reliant Americans that modern feckless America is squashing

First, it must be admitted that legally, Bundy doesn’t have a leg to stand on. The Bureau of Land Management has been charging him grazing fees since the early 1990s, which he has refused to pay. Further, BLM has issued orders limiting the area on which Bundy’s cows can graze and the number that can graze, and Bundy has ignored those directives. As a result, BLM has sued Bundy twice in federal court, and won both cases. In the second, more recent action, Bundy’s defense is that the federal government doesn’t own the land in question and therefore has no authority to regulate grazing. That simply isn’t right; the land, like most of Nevada, is federally owned. Bundy is representing himself, of necessity: no lawyer could make that argument.

That being the case, why does Bundy deserve our sympathy? To begin with, his family has been ranching on the acres at issue since the late 19th century. They and other settlers were induced to come to Nevada in part by the federal government’s promise that they would be able to graze their cattle on adjacent government-owned land. For many years they did so, with no limitations or fees. The Bundy family was ranching in southern Nevada long before the BLM came into existence.

Over the last two or three decades, the Bureau has squeezed the ranchers in southern Nevada by limiting the acres on which their cattle can graze, reducing the number of cattle that can be on federal land, and charging grazing fees for the ever-diminishing privilege. The effect of these restrictions has been to drive the ranchers out of business. Formerly, there were dozens of ranches in the area where Bundy operates. Now, his ranch is the only one. When Bundy refused to pay grazing fees beginning in around 1993, he said something to the effect of, they are supposed to be charging me a fee for managing the land and all they are doing is trying to manage me out of business. Why should I pay them for that?

The bedrock issue here is that the federal government owns more than 80% of the state of Nevada. This is true across the western states. To an astonishing degree, those states lack sovereignty over their own territory. Most of the land is federal. And the federal agencies that rule over federal lands have agendas. At every opportunity, it seems, they restrict not only what can be done on federal lands, but on privately-owned property. They are hostile to traditional industries like logging, mining and ranching, and if you have a puddle in your back yard, the EPA will try to regulate it as a navigable waterway.

That is only a slight exaggeration.

So let’s have some sympathy for Cliven Bundy and his family. They don’t have a chance on the law, because under the Endangered Species Act and many other federal statutes, the agencies are always in the right. And their way of life is one that, frankly, is on the outs. They don’t develop apps. They don’t ask for food stamps. It probably has never occurred to them to bribe a politician. They don’t subsist by virtue of government subsidies or regulations that hamstring competitors. They aren’t illegal immigrants. They have never even gone to law school. So what possible place is there for the Bundys in the Age of Obama?

More HERE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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Thursday, April 17, 2014


Guess What Your Income Tax Would Have Been in 1862

Five percent— in 1862 any American making more than 10,000 dollars a year handed only five percent of their income over to the government. Well, times have changed…a lot. The Tax Foundation gathered a list of statutory tax rates spanning from more than 150 years ago to today.

In 1862 only two brackets existed:



Today, there are seven tax brackets, with the top income earners handing almost 40 percent of their annual earnings over to the government:



These rates have fluctuated greatly over the years. The first income tax dates back to 1861, when Congress passed the Revenue Act to help pay for the expenses of the Civil War. The tax was repealed a decade later"

SOURCE

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Media helping the Democrats Avoid the Victims

For a moment, imagine yourself back in 2006, at the height of liberal aggression about the "imperial hubris" of George W. Bush in the war on terror. The left's contempt for this man was rampant. Liberals savaged him for turning the world against this country. Keith Olbermann announced "the beginning of the end of America."

Now imagine, in that milieu, if during the Bush administration, we'd witnessed a mass shooting by an Islamist at Fort Hood. Or a terrorist bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Or a deadly terrorist attack on a consulate in Libya. Would liberals have granted Bush a pass for any of these? Or would he and his policies have been blamed?

You know how the press would have played it. The hard-news coverage would quickly give way to the analysis, and it would be brutal. Words like "fiasco" and "failure" would have dotted the news landscape.

So why, when these events occurred during the Obama years, has the press continuously disassociated the events from President Barack Obama -- except for his laudable efforts as the mourner-in-chief, healing the country from its pain?

In the Bush years, the media celebrated "Peace Mom" Cindy Sheehan confronting Bush about his horrendous war in Iraq, in which she lost her son Casey. But when Obama and Hillary Clinton ignore the victims or relatives of the victims from recent attacks, the media stay silent.

It's not like the media elites fail to notice. See a report from ABCNews.com with the headline "White House Denies '09 Fort Hood Victim's Request for Meeting With Obama."

Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford was shot seven times in November 2009 when radical Islamist Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan killed 13 people and wounded 32 more. Obama's Department of Defense continues to refuse to classify the shooting as terrorism. It's just "workplace violence." Survivors have been denied Purple Hearts and combat-related benefits afforded to victims of other terrorist attacks.

"As you may know, the President and high-ranking members of the military promised me, my family and the other Fort Hood terror attack survivors that the federal government would 'make them whole.' After more than four and one-half years, however, the government has yet to make good on this promise," Lunsford wrote to Obama's chief of staff, Denis McDonough, a day before Obama's visit to Fort Hood after a second fatal shooting. "We believe that if the President could hear, first-hand, our plight and our mistreatment at the hands of his bureaucracy, that he would take the steps needed to set things right. Therefore, we ask for ten minutes of his time."

Lunsford didn't get it. Not only that, but ABC, CBS and NBC stayed silent on this attempt to get Obama to greet reality on Hasan's terrorism. There's no risk to Obama dismissing these survivors.

Or take Clinton, just honored for bravery for dodging a shoe at one of her $250,000-plus-expenses speeches in front of scrap-metal recyclers in Las Vegas. (It was a "ten-strike," boasted analyst Mark Shields on PBS.) Her next stop was going to be a speech at the annual Western Health Care Leadership Academy in San Diego on April 11. But she canceled her visit in the midst of planned protests, where protesters would have included Pat Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, who died in Benghazi. Instead, Clinton appeared via satellite. A "scheduling conflict" was the excuse.

There was no coverage. The networks had no interest in Mrs. Smith or the other protesters. If you're a journalist, it's incumbent you protest Bush and the military-industrial complex at every turn. It's also imperative you bring aid and comfort to Obama and the international left. It's what they call "news."

SOURCE

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Holder's Race Card

Jonah Goldberg

Last week, the president's lap dog blew his dog whistle.  In case you didn't know, in politics a "dog whistle" is coded language that has a superficial meaning for everybody, but also a special resonance for certain constituencies. Using dog whistles lets politicians deny they meant to say anything nasty, bigoted or controversial.

Speaking to the National Action Network the day after a testy but racially irrelevant exchange with Republican members of a House panel, Attorney General Eric Holder said, "The last five years have been defined ... by lasting reforms even in the face of unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive adversity." He continued: "If you don't believe that, you look at the way -- forget about me, forget about me. You look at the way the attorney general of the United States was treated yesterday by a House committee. ... What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?"

Now, bear in mind the audience. The National Action Network is Al Sharpton's plaything, often providing the shock troops Sharpton needs for rent-a-mob protests, shakedown operations and MSNBC photo ops. Holder didn't say criticism of him and Obama is racially motivated, but the notion the audience (or the media) would take it any other way doesn't pass the laugh test.

Holder's hypocrisy is stunning given that he once famously chastised Americans as being "cowards" for not talking openly about race. Who's the coward now?

For the record, there's nothing special about the rough time Holder has received. Forget Harry Daugherty of Teapot Dome fame or John Mitchell, who went to prison. Ed Meese's critics had "Meese Is a Pig" posters printed up. Janet Reno and John Ashcroft never got cake and ice cream from opponents.

The best recent comparison is probably Alberto Gonzales, George W. Bush's second attorney general, because like Holder, he was a fairly incompetent partisan loyalist with a thin skin. Gonzales was treated brutally by Democrats. Some even tried to impeach him. I don't recall Gonzales insinuating that such efforts were anti-Latino.

Holder has deserved all he's gotten. He earned his contempt of Congress citation by refusing to provide documents on the disastrous Fast and Furious operation that left an American dead from a gun the U.S. government put on the street. If anything, Holder deserves more grief, particularly from a media that seem to have forgotten his efforts to surveil journalists' phone records and name Fox News' James Rosen an unindicted co-conspirator in an espionage case.

Even inside the White House, Holder is considered too political. "Holder substitutes his political judgment for his legal judgment, and his political judgment isn't very good," says an unnamed White House official, according to the Washington Post's David Ignatius.

Holder's remarks come at a convenient time. In a widely discussed New York Magazine essay, Jonathan Chait argues that race relations have gotten worse under Obama. Chait believes that liberals have become obsessed with conservative racism as the real explanation for everything Republicans do. Meanwhile, he says conservatives have cocooned themselves in a kind of righteous victimhood, where racism is a relevant issue only when conservatives are falsely accused of it. (It's a fair point that conservatives should be more conspicuously concerned about racism.)

It is an at times brave and insightful, if not uniformly persuasive, essay. The Holder episode casts light on one of his arguments. According to Chait, Obama has steadfastly refused to make race a national issue, even as the ugly racial conversation has raged. "In almost every instance when his blackness has come to the center of public events, however, [Obama] has refused to impute racism to his critics," Chait writes.

That's largely (though not entirely) true about what the president has said himself. But it is manifestly untrue about what he has allowed to be said on his behalf. He didn't mind the racial theater congressional Democrats put on when black congressmen marched through Tea Party protests to sign Obamacare. One of those congressmen, civil rights hero John Lewis, gave a stirring speech at the 2012 Democratic Convention and suggested that a vote for the GOP amounted to "going back" to Jim Crow.

Republican presidents are routinely expected to denounce outrageous comments by members of their own party, never mind members of their Cabinet. Not Obama. His feigned aloofness is his exoneration, even as racial politics get ever more poisonous, thanks in part to his whistling lap dog.

SOURCE

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The market or big business?  A crucial choice for the GOP

Jonah Goldberg

For years, Republicans benefited from economic growth. So did pretty much everyone else, of course. But I have something specific in mind. Politically, when the economy is booming -- or merely improving at a satisfactory clip -- the distinction between being pro-business and pro-market is blurry. The distinction is also fuzzy when the economy is shrinking or imploding.

But when the economy is simply limping along -- not good, not disastrous -- like it is now, the line is easier to see. And GOP politicians typically don't want to admit they see it.

Just to clarify, the difference between being pro-business and pro-market is categorical. A politician who is a "friend of business" is exactly that, a guy who does favors for his friends. A politician who is pro-market is a referee who will refuse to help protect his friends (or anyone else) from competition unless the competitors have broken the rules. The friend of business supports industry-specific or even business-specific loans, grants, tariffs or tax breaks. The pro-market referee opposes special treatment for anyone.

Politically, the reason the lines get blurry in good times and bad is that in a boom, the economic pie is growing fast enough that the friend and his competitor alike can prosper. In bad times, when politicians are desperate to get the economy going, no one in Washington wants to seem like an enemy of the "job creators."

But in a time when people bitterly wonder, "Is this as good as it gets?" Republicans have to decide whether European-level growth means we should have European-style policies. In Europe, big corporations are national institutions where big labor unions collect their dues -- with help from the state.

Democrats, who often look longingly at the way they do things across the pond, don't have the same dilemma as Republicans. For a century or more, progressives have believed in public-private partnerships, industrial policy, "Swopism," corporatism and other forms of picking winners and losers. The winners always promise to deliver the "jobs of tomorrow" in return for help from government today. (Solyndra is running behind on keeping its end of the deal.)

Many Republicans are rhetorically against this sort of thing, but in practice, they're for it. (Even Ronald Reagan supported trade protections for Harley-Davidson.) This is especially true at the state level, where GOP governors are willing to do anything to seduce businesses their way. Texas is a good example. Gov. Rick Perry has been heroic in keeping taxes and regulatory burdens low. But he's also helped his friends -- a lot. Few on the right in Texas care, because Texas has been doing so much better than the rest of the country.

GOP politicians can't have it both ways anymore. An economic system that simply doles out favors to established stakeholders becomes less dynamic and makes job growth less likely. (Most jobs are created by new businesses.) Politically, the longer we're in a "new normal" of lousy growth, the more the focus of politics turns to wealth redistribution. That's bad for the country and just awful politics for Republicans. In that environment, being the party of less -- less entitlement spending, less redistribution -- is a losing proposition.

Also, for the first time in years, there's an organized -- or mostly organized -- grassroots constituency for the market. Historically, the advantage of the pro-business crowd is that its members pick up the phone and call when politicians shaft them. The market, meanwhile, was like a bad Jewish son; it never called and never wrote. Now, there's an infrastructure of Tea Party-affiliated and other free-market groups forcing Republicans to stop fudging.

A big test will be on the Export-Import Bank, which is up for reauthorization this year. A bank in name only, the taxpayer-backed agency rewards big businesses in the name of maximizing exports that often don't need the help (hence its nickname, "Boeing's Bank"). In 2008, even then-Sen. Barack Obama said it was "little more than a fund for corporate welfare." The bank, however, has thrived on Obama's watch. It's even subsidizing the sale of private jets. Remember when Obama hated tax breaks for corporate jets?

Friends of the Ex-Im Bank are screaming bloody murder. That's nothing new. What is new is that the free market is on line two.

SOURCE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014



Samantha Power: 'Targeting' of Muslims in Central African Republic Is 'Heartbreaking'

More amazing Leftist dishonesty. It is Muslims attacking Christians, not the other way around. Christians must not give Muslims any of their own back, of course. And note that this sympathy for Muslims is unmatched by any sympathy for Christians currently undergoing heavy persecution in the Middle east. I wonder what percentage of Americans would find attacks on Muslims heartbreaking? My guess: 0%

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, on Sunday called the "targeting" of the Muslim population in the Central African Republic "heartbreaking."

"You both have the devastating, heartbreaking, systematic targeting now of the Muslim population. You also have retaliatory attacks against Christians. That is just so painful to see these people suffer, to see parents who have had their children literally killed before their very eyes," Power told ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos.

The United Nations Security Council last week voted unanimously to send 12,000 peacekeepers to the Christian-majority Central African Republic, where Muslims and Christians are slaughtering each other, and where the government and its institutions have broken down.

The religious conflict follows last year's coup by Muslim rebels, who overthrew the ten-year rule of CAR President Francois Bozize.

According to the BBC, the Muslim rebel leader who replaced Bozize -- a Soviet-educated man named Michel Djotodia -- "was accused of failing to prevent his forces from raping, torturing and killing civilians, particularly among the country's Christian majority."

SOURCE

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Statistical Frauds and the "war on women"

Thomas Sowell

The "war on women" political slogan is in fact a war against common sense.  It is a statistical fraud when Barack Obama and other politicians say that women earn only 77 percent of what men earn -- and that this is because of discrimination.

It would certainly be discrimination if women were doing the same work as men, for the same number of hours, with the same amount of training and experience, as well as other things being the same. But study after study, over the past several decades, has shown repeatedly that those things are not the same.

Constantly repeating the "77 percent" statistic does not make them the same. It simply takes advantage of many people's ignorance -- something that Barack Obama has been very good at doing on many other issues.

What if you compare women and men who are the same on all the relevant characteristics?

First of all, you can seldom do that, because the statistics you would need are not always available for the whole range of occupations and the whole range of differences between women's patterns and men's patterns in the labor market.

Even where relevant statistics are available, careful judgment is required to pick samples of women and men who are truly comparable.

For example, some women are mothers and some men are fathers. But does the fact that they are both parents make them comparable in the labor market? Actually the biggest disparity in incomes is between fathers and mothers. Nor is there anything mysterious about this, when you stop and think about it.

How surprising is it that women with children do not earn as much as women who do not have children? If you don't think children take up a mother's time, you just haven't raised any children.

How surprising is it that men with children earn more than men without children, just the opposite of the situation with women? Is it surprising that a man who has more mouths to feed is more likely to work longer hours? Or take on harder or more dangerous jobs, in order to earn more money?

More than 90 percent of the people who are killed on the job are men. There is no point pretending that there are no differences between what women do and what men do in the workplace, or that these differences don't affect income.

During my research on male-female differences for my book "Economic Facts and Fallacies," I was amazed to learn that young male doctors earned much higher incomes than young female doctors. But it wasn't so amazing after I discovered that young male doctors worked over 500 hours more per year than young female doctors.

Even when women and men work at jobs that have the same title -- whether doctors, lawyers, economists or whatever -- people do not get paid for what their job title is, but for what they actually do.

Women lawyers who are pregnant, or who have young children, may have good reasons to prefer a 9 to 5 job in a government agency to working 60 hours a week in a high-powered law firm. But there is no point comparing male lawyers as a group with female lawyers as a group, if you don't look any deeper than job titles.

Unless, of course, you are not looking for the truth, but for political talking points to excite the gullible.

Even when you compare women and men with the "same" education, as measured by college or university degrees, the women usually specialize in a very different mix of subjects, with very different income-earning potential.

Although comparing women and men who are in fact comparable is not easy to do, when you look at women and men who are similar on multiple factors, the sex differential in pay shrinks drastically and gets close to the vanishing point. In some categories, women earn more than men with the same range of characteristics.

If the 77 percent statistic was for real, employers would be paying 30 percent more than they had to, every time they hired a man to do a job that a woman could do just as well. Would employers be such fools with their own money? If you think employers don't care about paying 30 percent more than they have to, just go ask your boss for a 30 percent raise!

SOURCE

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The Liberals' Latest False Wedge Issue -- the "war on women"

She gave a dramatic eye-roll in reaction to all of the fuss that Democrats and the president attempted to create over equal pay for women last week.  A Democrat herself, she said she has carved out a decent, comfortable life for her family over the years as a waitress at a local restaurant.

"I am in many ways my own boss," she explained. "It is up to me to get the order right, treat people well, and use my personal skills to increase my wages."

And she is "sick and tired of my party treating me like a victim. This is not 1970, and it's insulting."

Then she elbowed the waiter standing beside her, who joked that, despite being younger, he has to work twice as hard to keep up with her earnings.

This woman's frustration with Democrats comes from social and traditional media flooded with tweets, emails and news reports, and from the president himself, all pushing the message that he will protect women from evil Republicans who want to keep her gender from its rightful earning power.

The president, she said, "is trying to create a wedge issue when there isn't one. Why can't he focus on things people are really concerned about, like bringing back lost jobs, a tangible thing that has affected housing, communities, tax bases and schools?"

Last Tuesday, President Obama signed an executive order encouraging federal contractors to pay men and women the same amount of money for the same amount of work.

He claimed that women earn 77 cents to every dollar earned by men - a very broad statement and, in many ways, false, according to a Labor Department analysis showing that when you factor in job experience, education and hours worked, the difference in median wages between men and women shrinks to 5 to 7 cents on the dollar.

White House officials had no problem using that same Labor Department analysis to explain away their own 88-cent wage gap between female and male staffers. But they failed to mention it once in all of their press releases, or in Obama's speech

SOURCE

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Leftist Antisemite Incites Murder of Three Jews

by DANIEL PIPES

Max Blumenthal, like others on the far-Left, jumped on the July 2011 Norwegian massacre of 77 dead and 319 injured to impugn the counter-jihadi right. His screed, "Anders Behring Breivik, a perfect product of the Axis of Islamophobia" included this sentence:

The rhetoric of the characters who inspired Breivik, from Pam Geller to Robert Spencer to Daniel Pipes, was so eliminationist in its nature that it was perhaps only a matter of time before someone put words into action.

In other words, we three were to blame for the massacre. A year later, Blumenthal returned to the same theme, this time focusing on just me:

To his shame, Pipes earned eighteen citations in the manifesto of Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, the self-proclaimed "counter-jihadist" standing trial for the murder of seventy-seven people, mostly teenagers. Drawing heavily on sources like Pipes to justify his actions, Breivik said he carried out the slaughter to punish Europe for succumbing to "Islamicization" and multiculturalism.

Never mind the fundamental inaccuracies of these statements - that (1) Geller, Spencer, or I ever engaged in "eliminationist" rhetoric and (2) ignoring that Breivik cited leftists about as much as rightists and Muslims as often as counter-jihadis - what's important is that Blumenthal exploited Breivik's murderous rampage to score cheap points against fellow American analysts.

In his glee, however, Blumenthal forgot that he too is vulnerable to such charges, that two can play the game of gotcha. Ron Radosh notes at PJ Media that Frazier Glenn Miller, 73, accused of killing three people yesterday at two Jewish venues near Kansas City, wrote the following at runronpaul.com, an antisemitic website:

"Jew journalist Max Blumenthal exposes and explains this attempt by a foreign government Israel, to buy the presidential election for the neo-con, war-mongering republican establishment."

Daniel Greenfield suggests that Miller referred here to "a Blumenthal interview on Putin's propaganda channel RT, which he has since defended, in which he claimed that Netanyahu was targeting Ron Paul and Obama."

Greenfield further finds that "there are 382 results for [Max Blumenthal] on the Neo-Nazi VNN forum that the Kansas City killer patronized." Participatnts at Stormfront, the premier American Neo-Nazi site, often mention Blumenthal approvingly.

Breivik, it is now clear, intentionally sought to discredit counter-jihadis like me; but Miller gives every appearance of being a true believer inspired in part by Blumenthal's ravings.

And so, with due consideration, I wrote the headline of this weblog entry as "Antisemite Max Blumenthal Incited the Murder of Three in Kansas."  Next is for Blumenthal's fellow leftists to denounce him and shun him. But will they?

SOURCE

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Trapped by the State

Over the past half century, federal spending on social programs has risen like a bubbling cauldron. In 1964, it amounted to less than one-quarter of the U.S. budget. Today it accounts for about two-thirds. What effect has the spending trend had on the American psyche? Independent Institute Senior Fellow Robert Higgs offers a brilliant analogy to help us grasp the transformation.

A salmon trap, also called a pound net, is simple but ingenious, Higgs explains in the Spring 2014 issue of The Independent Review. It’s sort of like a one-way funnel. The deeper a fish swims into the trap, the harder it is to escape. It has long been banned in U.S. waters, but its design lives on, figuratively speaking, in various political schemes that direct people toward dependence on the state.

“As a salmon’s ‘mind’ tells it not to turn back, so the human mind, especially when bewitched by government propaganda and statist ideology, tells a typical person not to turn back,” Higgs writes. “Having lost the capacity for assuming individual responsibility, people are fearful of taking on such responsibilities as their forebears did routinely.”

PDF here

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N.C. Sheriff on Lack of Immigration Enforcement: ‘Every Sheriff Will be a Border Sheriff’

Rockingham County, North Carolina Sheriff Sam Page said the continued lack of enforcement of federal immigration law along the U.S. border with Mexico is bringing the consequences of an unsecured border to law enforcement agencies inside the United States.

“If we fail to secure our borders, basically, every sheriff in America will be a border sheriff because we’ll be fighting the issues that come through those borders,” Page told CNSNews.com at an immigration radio town hall in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.

Page said that while the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is in charge of preventing illegal entry at the border, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is tasked with enforcing U.S. immigration law inside the country.

That enforcement, Page said, has been compromised since ICE’s then-director John Morton issued the first of ongoing prosecutorial discretion “guidance” from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that directs agents to concentrate on apprehending illegal aliens that are considered a threat to public safety.

“If their hands are so tied where they can’t do their job, and it’s not getting done, then we have failed because we’re not protecting the American citizens within the interior U.S.,” Page said.

More HERE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014



Social science findings about conservatism

I monitor the academic literature of climate science and medical science with some care.  I have separate blogs for each topic.  I no longer monitor the social science literature with great care, however.  When bits of nonsense from the social science literature come to my attention, I comment on them here.  And such comments are not infrequent here.

The latest article appears under the same heading that I have used above and is written by a historian named "Eric Zuesse".  Since "Zuesse" means "Sweet one" in Yiddish, I will refer to him as "Sweetie".  Sweetie's article is here.  It is in an explictly Leftist outlet.

The article is rather long so I will content myself with making a few specific points and then go on to what is the central downfall of Sweetie's thinking.

He opens with the accusation that fundamentalist religion makes you bigoted.  One could believe that of Muslims  but is it true of Christians?  The evidence Sweetie summarizes in support of his claim is however entirely correlational.  And the first thing you learn in Statistics 101 is that "Correlation is not causation". To believe otherwise is to commit a logical fallacy.   Yet Sweetie boldly asserts: "Religious belief, in other words, causes bigotry".

In case it is not clear to Leftists why that is stupid, the correlation could be caused by a third factor.  Both religion and bigotry could be caused by (say) poverty.  So religion and bigotry will be correlated but the causal factor is poverty.  Religion itself will have caused nothing.  It's a pity that I have to give lessons in basic logic but where Leftists are concerned you often have to do that.  Fallacies are their speciality.

So that disposes of the first three paragraphs of Sweetie's opus.  Or am I being hasty?  Can I really write off all those correlations?  I will give a second reason why I can.   The correlations will usually be very weak.  Let me give an example that I have commented on before.  There is an article here  which presents evidence that religious people are less "reflective'.  I would have thought that religious people reflect all the time but there you go.

When you look up the research on which the claim is based, however you find that the correlation between reflection and religion is only .14 even before controls are applied.  In other words, the two variables had only about 1.5% of their variance in common.  There was a correlation there, all right, but it was so negligible to be of no significance or importance at all.  And such low correlations are common in all the literature Sweetie surveys.  Leftist researchers make mountains out of pimples.  Putting it another way, if there were 100 reflective people you were surveying, you would find that 49 were religious and 51 were not religious.  What sort of basis is that for predicting who will be reflective?

So is there any point in my going on from there?  Not really but I will anyway.

Sweetie rather likes an article called  "Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition".  I have deconstructed that article elsewhere so will not say much here.  Suffice it to say that the article is rather a good example of academic fraud.  It purports to be a meta-analysis (a survey of all the research on its subject) but omits to consider  around half of the articles available on its subject.  It leaves out all articles which have conclusions that did not suit the authors of the "meta-analysis".  It is systematically dishonest, in other words.  And that is another problem with Sweetie's article.  He takes the research he summarizes at face value.  If there is any fraud or incompetence in it he does not want to know.

I am honoured, however, that Sweetie does take note of some of my research reports.  Other research that Sweetie likes is the opus by Robert Altemeyer and I have commented on that.  I have particularly noted that Altemeyer has not the faintest idea of what conservatism is and that his scale of "Right-wing Authoritarianism" (RWA) does not correlate with conservatism of vote.  It is a scale of "Rightism" on which Leftists and conservatives are equally likely to get a high score!  Altemayer admitted that in one of his books and I have  often retailed that fact, apparently to Altemeyer's embarrassment.

Sweetie records Altemeyer's attempt to backtrack on his admission.  Altemeyer says he was only being genial in saying that.  But there is more to it than that.  Altemeyer was actually confronting the low correlation problem I have mentioned above.  Even among students the correlation between the RWA scale and vote was tiny.  Pretty strange for a scale that measured something that was allegedly right wing!  Sweetie's heavy reliance on Altemeyer's work is therefore an edifice built on sand.

After Altemeyer's work, Sweetie goes on to wallow in the Social Dominance Orientation literature initiated by Pratto and Sidanius.  Sweetie knows of my demolition of that work but ploughs on regardless  -- even though I record a major climbdown by one of the original authors (Sidanius) in response to my critique.  Sweetie has the eye of faith.  He is a good example of the Leftist tendency to believe what they want to believe and damn the evidence.

But let me now go on to the basic, fatal, underlying flaw in Sweetie's thinking.  He fails to acknowledge what Leftism is.  He makes much of the common Leftist claim that conservatives are "authoritarian", but what could be more authoritarian than Leftism?  The very essence of Leftism is a wish to change society.  But "society" is people.  So what the Leftist wants to do is prevent people from doing things that they ordinarily would and make them do things they ordinarily would not. And the Leftist proposes to do that by various forms of coercion.  How authoritarian is that?  It could hardly get more authoritarian.  The Leftist claim that conservatives are the authoritarian ones is thus a huge case of Freudian denial and projection.  LEFTISTS are the authoritarian ones but they themselves just cannot confront that.  They cannot admit what they basically are.  Sweetie is a poor thing.  He has got about as much self-insight as a goldfish

There is much more I could say about Sweetie's meanderings but I think I have already said sufficient.

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Why Have One Government Program When 10 Can Do the Same Thing? GAO Report Reveals Duplicated Efforts, Wasted Money.

The report below is serious enough but it overlooks the biggest duplication of all:  The way both Feds and the States have  departments that do the same or similar things.  Why, for instance, have both federal and State Depts. of education?   Americans may need government for some things but no American needs two governments for anything

In the movie Multiplicity, we learned that a copy of a copy is sometimes not as sharp as the original. When it comes to government, the original isn't usually that sharp to begin with. But officials sometimes insist on duplicating their efforts anyway, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The result is about as unimpressive as you'd expect, when federal agencies persist in stepping on each other's feet at enormous expense to taxpayers.

In the fourth report in a series that has already identified hundreds of instances of federal agencies providing the same or similar services to the same or similar beneficiaries, the GAO "presents new areas in which we found evidence that fragmentation, overlap, or duplication exists among federal programs or activities."

Why does this matter?

Because, as the GAO points out, "the federal government faces an unsustainable fiscal path," and getting out of its own way is one of the easier means of cutting costs.

Among the problems identified in the latest report is the lack of any consolidated system at the Department of Defense to contract for health care professionals. "For example, we identified 24 separate task orders for contracted medical assistants at the same military treatment facility." Now, multiply that across the entire military establishment.

And the creeping police state around us may be intrusive and presumptuous—but it sucks at cooperation. The Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and the Treasury are independently modernizing their wireless communications systems. "As a result, their communications systems, which represent hundreds of millions of dollars in investment, may not be interoperable and may not enable the most effective response to natural disasters, criminal activities, and domestic terrorism."

That's hundreds of millions of dollars just on radios that may not talk to each other.

The federal government is equally efficient about monitoring double-dipping from disability and unemployment benefits. In 2010 alone, the GAO found more than $850 million in duplicated payments from the Disability Insurance and Unemployment Insurance programs. In each case, "the federal government is replacing a portion of lost earnings not once, but twice."

Even when it comes to targeted programs and specific communities, government officials can't resist cloning—badly—their efforts. The GAO found 10 different agencies and offices in the Department of Health and Human Services offering overlapping programs with regard to HIV and AIDS among racial and ethnic minorities.

After taking a grand tour of federal government multiplicity, the GAO recommends 45 actions for cutting costs. Don't get your hopes too high, though. Of the 380 reforms previously recommended, only 124 have been fully addressed.

SOURCE

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The ObamaCare Enrollment Trifecta

Remember those 30 million uninsured individuals – or was it 50 million? Democrats were always moving the goal post – who were going to be rescued by the dues ex machine called the Affordable Care Act? Well, the curtain's all but closed on the first enrollment period, and numbers show it's likely that less than 1% of the population actually went from uninsured to insured through ObamaCare exchanges.

Since the March 31 deadline, Barack Obama has been touting 7.1 million sign-ups. That claim is astonishing because for weeks after the October ObamaCare rollout, the White House couldn't pinpoint any exact enrollment data, until eureka! At 12:01 am on April 1, that 7.1 million figure was ready, available, and, most important of all, unquestionably factual. Yes, most definitely factual.

Or, perhaps not.

According to a RAND study released this week, as of March 28, “3.9 million people are now covered through the state and federal marketplace – the so-called insurance exchanges.” Also, from September 2013 through March 2014, Medicaid rolls went up by 5.9 million, and 8.2 million enrolled in employer-sponsored plans. Granted, the RAND study ended three days before the enrollment period closed, so the 3.9 million figure undoubtedly grew. But on March 27, one day before the close of the study, the Obama administration was already claiming more than six million sign-ups.

Meanwhile, how many millions lost their policies due to ObamaCare? And how many more lost policies because they could not afford the cost increases foisted on them by the Unaffordable No-Care Act?

Given Barack Obama's downright abysmal track record for telling the truth (just remember, if you like your plan, you can keep it), RAND seems to have more credibility. Further challenging White House claims of victory, the RAND study found that only 1.4 million of those who signed up via ObamaCare exchanges were previously uninsured. And then there is the all-important and unanswered question of how many of those who signed up actually paid. Insurers say that number is perhaps 80% of sign-ups, but, conveniently, the White House doesn't have those numbers.

Of course, ObamaCare requires not just that people sign up but also that the right people sign up: namely, young and healthy individuals who will largely foot the bill for everyone else.

Another epic failure.

According to a “first look” analysis conducted by Express Scripts, those who signed up for insurance in January and February through the ObamaCare exchanges were actually more likely to use specialty medications to treat conditions such as pain, HIV, and depression. In fact, while 0.75% of prescriptions in commercial insurance plans were for specialty medications, the number was 1.1% for ObamaCare exchange prescriptions, a difference of 47%. As the study notes, “Increased volume for higher cost specialty drugs can have a significant impact on the cost burden for both plan sponsors and patients.”

Since ObamaCare prohibits insurance companies from rejecting applicants based on pre-existing conditions, and since companies adjust their rates based on covered populations, this means even higher premiums are looming for everyone.

Of course, it's possible that a stampede of young, healthy individuals rushed to enroll for coverage in time for the March 31 deadline, and if this is the case, then the scenario may change. Possible, but unlikely.

Far more likely is that many young, healthy individuals opted out of enrolling, or at least put it off, thinking they could enroll at any time.

Wrong again.

Now that the enrollment period has ended, most people won't be able to buy insurance until the next open enrollment, which begins Nov. 15, 2014. This is true both inside and outside the exchanges. That's right, the marketplace – which is anything but – is closed.

This would be particularly ironic if the aim of ObamaCare were to get more people insured, as the claim went. When we understand, however, that the goal is and always has been full government control of the individual, then it makes disturbingly perfect sense.

SOURCE

There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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Monday, April 14, 2014


Why The Feds Chickened Out On A Nevada Ranch

Let me obliterate a bit of confusion here: the Obama administration attempted to go to war with a rancher in Nevada. Let me amplify a little bit of truth: They tucked tail and have returned home. And let me add a bit of clarity: they had no choice!

As the nation began to become familiar with the plight of the family of Cliven Bundy, many of us harkened back to another standoff in which the Federal government attempted to bully it's outcome: Waco, Texas and the Branch Davidian massacre.

It is telling that in the Nevada case the feds pulled out so quickly, given all they had indicated they were willing to do to resolve the matter to their satisfaction. They had set up a perimeter around the Bundy's family land, ranch, and home. They had brought in extra artillery, dogs, and snipers. They were beginning the process of stealing more than 300 head of cattle that did not belong to them.

They did so--or so we were told--for the reason of protecting the desert tortoise. But then it was revealed that the Bureau of Land Management had shot far more desert tortoises than the Bundy cattle had even possibly destroyed. We were told they did it because the Bundys had broken federal laws by not paying what amounted to retroactive grazing fees to the federal government. But the Governor of the state of Nevada told us that Bundy had paid every ounce of state tax, met the state requirements, and their family had been improving the property more than 100 years previous.

Finally we were allowed to know the connection between a communist Chinese wind/solar power plant and its connection to that senator named Harry Reid. Evidently a plan had been hatched to use the Bundy property for a solar farm and instead of paying the Bundys, someone, somewhere in the administration believed it was easier to just take what they wanted.

That approach is at least consistent with the readily documented abuse of imminent domain where the government for any number of reasons--few of them valid--have taken to taking what doesn't belong to them. Americans then watch as it gets handed over to some multi-national corporation for the "cause" of the "greater good."

There were a few specific reasons why the feds chickened out in the Nevada desert though.

1. Technology - As the Bundy family members were abused, cameras captured it. Not television network cameras, but dozens of cell phone video devices that gave witness to a Bundy aunt being shoved to the ground, and a Bundy son being tazed. All of this while threatening protestors with dogs, brandished weapons and vehicles was captured, uploaded and made viral to the watching world.

2. States' Rights - As the drama unfolded it became clear that the Governor of Nevada, and the Sheriff of Clark County knew that Cliven Bundy's family had not only not broken any state law regarding the land, but that they had gone to the enth degree to insure compliance with Nevada laws on the property. The Governor and the Sheriff, to their credit, did not favor the feds as a more powerful party in the conflict. Though there must have been pressure from Senator Reid's office, the administration via the Bureau of Land Management, and local officials who were bought and sold like the Clark County Commissioner who told those coming to support the Bundys to have "funeral plans in place."

3. Grassroots Response - As other incidents have transpired in the past, the amount of time it took honest information to reach the grassroots and thus the response to the action came to slow. In the massacre in Waco, most of the nation had been sold a single narrative from the limited media outlets covering the events. Similarly the events surrounding the abduction of Elian Gonzales from his family in Florida and deportation to Cuba took place in such a response vacuum that by the time Americans knew the real story, the damage was done. With the Bundy ranch, internet outlets by the dozen had competing information with the limited "official news" being released by the networks, and in most cases the alternative sources had it correct and usually a full day or so ahead of the news cycle. By the time afternoon drive hit, when the network news rooms in New York were preparing their first stories, talk radio audiences had already been dialing their elected officials in Washington demanding action.

The majority of Americans saw through the efforts to spin the story in Nevada. Couple that with the leadership failures that the American people view the administration responsible for, from Benghazi to the Affordable Care Act, all it took was the unedited video of federal agents tazing Bundy's son, followed by his pulling the wires from his chest and continuing to stand his ground for there to be comparisons made to the American revolution.

It's also important to note that merely pulling back from the Bundy property hasn't settled the matter for the American people either.

The feds have stolen 352 head of cattle, and will not confirm or deny if they euthanized some or all of them. Recompense must be made. And to be candid, I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see if a few ambitious law firms don't try to convince the Bundy family of the validity of litigation.

Fortunately for the American people, the feds were not able to ultimately bully a simple rancher, not for a tortoise, a solar power plant, or a dirty Senator and his administration.

We owe the Bundy family a great deal of thanks for standing tall.

For if the federal government is allowed to do it with one, then there will be nothing stopping them from doing it again.

SOURCE

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The “Assault Weapon” Rebellion

The triumph of Cliven Bundy might encourage this rebellion too

In the April issue of Townhall Magazine, Bearing Arms editor Bob Owens asks what would happen if a liberal government passed a new gun law but nobody obeyed it?

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) signed what the Hartford Courant called “the toughest assault weapons legislation in the nation” last year. It required owners of semi-automatic firearms to register all firearms designated as “assault weapons” with the state government, along with any “high capacity” magazines they may own, by December 31, 2013.

The Malloy regime expected Connecticut residents to register somewhere between 372,000-400,000 firearms, and roughly 2 million firearm magazines that held more than 10 rounds before January 1.

What they got instead was defiance.

Just 50,000 of the estimated 372,000 so-called “assault weapons” in the state were registered by the deadline, or less than 15 percent. That’s still far better than the anemic 38,000 “high capacity” magazines that were reported to authorities, out of 2 million.

Why is compliance so low? We can’t know for sure. After all, the owners of these firearms and magazines refused to register, so we can’t easily interview them. But the theory we’ve heard bandied about most frequently is that the owners of these firearms felt that registration was a forerunner of confiscation, and that they would rather become felons under the eyes of a vengeful state than become disarmed subjects.

The development has left the government stunned and unsure of how to respond, and has driven the editors of the anti-gun Courant into a sputtering rage.

The newspaper released an unsigned editorial on Valentine’s Day titled “State Can’t Let Gun Scofflaws Off Hook,” and argued that the state should use the background check database to hunt down non-compliant owners, presumably targeting them for police raids and arrests.

We can only assume that the Courant’s newsroom staff skipped American history in school, or they would know what happened the last time a group of government forces attempted a series of dramatic gun control raids in a neighboring state. As I recall, that day, April 19, 1775, went rather poorly for the British Regulars under Lt. Col. Smith.

Malloy’s staff seems to grasp their terrible predicament a bit better than the hotheads of the Courant. Sending 1,120 Connecticut State Troopers on SWAT-style raids against more than 80,000 suspect “assault weapon” owners could not possibly end well.

To date, Malloy and his allies in the legislature who rammed through these strict gun control laws largely remain silent on the fact that the citizenry has simply ignored them. What else can they do?

The government of Connecticut can’t threaten the citizenry with criminal charges. They’ve already willingly decided to become felons en masse. The government can’t threaten the citizenry with force. They’re both grossly outnumbered and outgunned. The government can’t offer an amnesty. It would only reinforce how little power the government has over a rebellious citizenry.

The only realistic option is for the government of Connecticut to pretend that their assault weapon ban never existed. To admit it exists, and that they can do nothing to enforce it, would reveal that the emperor and his court have no clothes.

A nearly identical problem is brewing next door in the much larger, more populous state of New York, thanks to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s hastily-passed NY SAFE Act. That law demands that New Yorkers register their semi-automatic “assault rifles” with the government by April 15.

While Connecticut is thought to have something less than 400,000 firearms classified as “assault weapons” under their law, New York is thought to have as many as 1 million firearms meeting New York’s revised criteria.

Cuomo faces an even bigger registration problem in New York than Malloy did in Connecticut because many of New York’s sheriffs are in near open revolt against the SAFE Act, and have stated publicly that they will not enforce it. While they have been less publicly vocal, New York State Troopers have quietly indicated that they, too, will do as little as possible to enforce the law.

New York Assemblyman Bill Nojay, a Republican from suburban Rochester, summed up Cuomo’s problem succinctly. “If you don’t have the troopers and you don’t have the sheriffs, who have you got? You’ve got Andrew Cuomo pounding on the table in Albany.”

As a result of the common revolt by New York gun owners and law enforcement against the SAFE Act, it is quite likely that the law’s April 15 deadline will reveal an even more spectacular refusal of citizens to register their arms, well exceeding 90 percent.

What will Cuomo do then? He has the option of following Malloy’s lead and just remaining silent.

Unfortunately for Cuomo, he’s never shown that ability.

SOURCE

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An evil old man

A few weeks back, I highlighted Harry Reid's creepy obsession with the Koch brothers, billionaire businessmen who've donated generously to a number of right-leaning organizations (not to mention cancer hospitals, arts centers, and institutions of higher learning). In an unsparing headline, I referred to Reid as an incoherent, muttering old man. Allahpundit kicks it up a notch with his headline: "Mentally ill man can't stop talking about the monsters under his bed."

Labeling Reid a deranged person may seem like a low blow -- until, that is, you watch this clip assembled by the Washington Free Beacon. You'll be tempted to stop watching after about ten seconds, assuming you've got the drift of it. Don't. You really need the full experience. Take it away, gramps:



That's your Senate Majority Leader, America. Nowhere in any of those speeches did Reid mention his own multi-bilionaire political sugar daddy, Tom Steyer, who's pledged $100 million help elect Democrats. Nope, only conservatives try to "buy our democracy," or something. Meanwhile, Reid and his deep-pocketed liberal super PAC are being raked over the coals by fact-checkers for a series of lie-filled ads running against Republicans. Left-leaning Politifact rates an attack on vulnerable Sen. Mark Pryor's opponent "false," while the Washington Post awards Four Pinocchios to a separate spot running to help Sen, Mary Landrieu in Louisiana:

"This is the third time in a month that the Fact Checker has given Four Pinocchios to an ad sponsored by Senate Majority PAC. That’s a pretty dreadful track record, and does little for the organization’s credibility more than six months before the midterm elections."

Indeed. One fun fact noted by WaPo: Senate Majority PAC has been heavily funded by..."out of state billionaires." National Journal's Ron Fournier is disgusted with Reid, and says that the media should be ashamed of themselves if they let the Nevada Senator get away with his string of lies:

SOURCE

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Leftist hypocrisy in Texas

Truth is optional for the Left.  There is a hole in Wendy Davis's head where integrity should be.  She is a "whited sepulchre"


Davis is also a miracle of plastic surgery

On National Equal Pay Day, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis’s Twitter account posted this tweet exposing the gender pay gap in her conservative opponent Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office:

Missing from that tweet were statistics that reveal Davis paid her own male staffers significantly more than women for years. The Daily Caller has the exposé:

According to documents obtained in an open records request, in 44 out of the 58 months between Jan. 2009, when Davis took office, and Oct. 2013, the highest earner in Davis’ Senate office was a man.

All told, male staffers employed by Davis earned just over $300,000 more than female staffers. Salaries paid to men totaled $1,143,357 while women were paid $837,481 in aggregate, salary records show.

This is just Davis’s latest bout of hypocrisy. In January, The Dallas Morning News wrote that Davis had exaggerated her rags to riches story. While campaigning that she overcame hardship living as a divorced teenage mom in a trailer home, Davis failed to admit this was only for a few months before moving into an apartment with her daughter. Her boyfriend then paid for her last two years at Texas Christian University. I don’t hear feminists bragging about these little details.

Awkward.

SOURCE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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Sunday, April 13, 2014


Wonderful!  The little people can defeat FedGoons


This man had the guts to stand up against an ever-increasing bureaucracy.  How would you feel if FedGov arbitrarily "reclassified" YOUR land so you could not use it any more?

A Nevada cattle rancher appears to have won his week-long battle with the federal government over a controversial cattle roundup that had led to the arrest of several protesters.

Cliven Bundy went head to head with the Bureau of Land Management over the removal of hundreds of his cattle from federal land, where the government said they were grazing illegally.

Bundy claims his herd of roughly 900 cattle have grazed on the land along the riverbed near Bunkerville, 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, since 1870 and threatened a "range war" against the BLM on the Bundy Ranch website after one of his sons was arrested while protesting the removal of the cattle.

"I have no contract with the United States government," Bundy said. "I was paying grazing fees for management and that's what BLM was supposed to be, land managers and they were managing my ranch out of business, so I refused to pay."

The federal government had countered that Bundy "owes the American people in excess of $1 million " in unpaid grazing fees and "refuses to abide by the law of land, despite many opportunities over the last 20 years to do so."

However, Saturday the BLM said it would not enforce a court order to remove the cattle and was pulling out of the area.

"Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public," BLM Director Neil Kornze said.

"We ask that all parties in the area remain peaceful and law-abiding as the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service work to end the operation in an orderly manner," he said.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the BLM will also release 100 of the seized cattle. The BLM did not immediately return calls to The Associated Press.

Also on Saturday, the Nevada Highway Patrol shut down southbound Interstate 15 so that law enforcement could respond to protesters who were gathering along the highway and clogging traffic in their attempt to free the cattle, the newspaper reported.

U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-Nev.) issued a statement Saturday urging protesters and militia groups to return to their homes and allow BLM officials to gather their equipment and leave.

"We are very close to a calm, peaceful resolution but it only takes the action of one individual to stir things up again and bring us back to the brink of violence and no one wants to see that happen," Heller said in the statement. "I want to offer my deepest thanks to all those who are urging calm and diligently working to avoid any sort of violent confrontation at the conclusion of this episode. Again, please return home and allow the federal officers to collect their equipment and depart in peace."

The roundup began April 5, following lengthy court proceedings dating back to 1993, federal officials said. Federal officers began impounding the first lot of cows last weekend, and Bundy responded by inviting supporters onto his land to protest the action.

"It's not about cows, it's about freedom," Utah resident Yonna Winget told ABC News affiliate KTNV in Las Vegas.

"People are getting tired of the federal government having unlimited power," Bundy's wife, Carol Bundy told ABC News.

By Sunday, April 6, one of Bundy's sons, Dave Bundy, was taken into custody for refusing to disperse and resisting arrest, while hundreds of other protesters, some venturing from interstate, gathered along the road few miles from Bundy's property in solidarity. Dave Bundy was later released.

A spokesman for the Bundy encampment told ABC News roughly 300 protesters had assembled for the protest, while a BLM representative estimated there were around 100 people.

"We want a peaceful protest, but we also want our voices heard," said Cliven Bundy's sister, Chrisie Marshall Bundy.

But clashes between demonstrators and authorities took a violent turn on Wednesday, with cell phone video showing some being tasered at the site, including Bundy's son, Ammon Bundy. Two other protesters were detained, cited and later released on Thursday, according to the BLM.

As the movement grew by the day, and demonstrators rallied together, bonding by campfires at night, local protest leaders warned people not to wear camouflage and keep their weapons inside their vehicles.

Both sides said the issue is one of fairness, with the federal government maintaining that thousands of other cattle ranchers are abiding by the law by paying their annual grazing fees, while Bundy's family and supporters say the government's actions are threatening ranchers' freedoms.

"It's about the freedom of America," said another of Bundy's sisters, Margaret Houston. "We have to stand up and fight."

SOURCE

UPDATE: Corrupt Senator Harry Reid is behind the Bundy ranch land grab. The Bundy ranch is wanted for a solar power installation


Hispanic immigration and Fascism

Ann Coulter seems to be just about the only prominent conservative voice speaking up loudly and unapologetically against amnesty for America's 11 million Hispanic illegals.

And most libertarians have long been scathing about opposition to illegal immigration.  For example:

Let it be noted that Jeb Bush deserves kudos for making sense on the immigration issue. When he describes coming to the United States illegally in order to find opportunity as "an act of love, it's an act of commitment to your family," he displays more compassion and decency than any of the fence-building border warriors possess in their shriveled, nativist souls.

So I would like all libertarians to answer me this question:

"Why are you happy to import into the USA millions of Fascists who are ready to vote for Fascist laws and candidates?"  That Latin Americans are in general Fascist in their inclinations you can see just by looking at the governments that already govern them.  And the Democratic party has plenty of Fascist legislation ready to go if they can get support for it.  Federal Republicans already do little else but knock back destructive Fascist legislation from Democrats.

I don't think I have a "shrivelled" soul but I am certain that I have an anti-Fascist soul.  Do libertarians have self-hating souls?  It sure looks that way to me

Yes.  I know where the trouble lies.  It lies in the doctrinaire libertarian belief that liberty will solve everything.  What that overlooks is that you don't get liberty just by asking for it.  You have to preserve and extend it by all means possible.  And an important part of that is not letting Fascists get control of your life.  When the Brownshirts come knocking on your door, you are going to feel great that you made a pure-souled case for liberty, right?

And in case anybody is childish enough to accuse me of being racist, the authoritarian inclinations of Hispanics could just as easily be attributed to culture as race.  The Catholic church could be seen as having a large part in that.  Even South America's great "liberator", Simon Bolivar, was thoroughly Fascist  once he had wrenched control from the feeble hands of the Spanish monarchy. Bol√≠var proclaimed himself dictator on 27 August 1828 and the dictatorships have flowed thick and fast ever since. There is a semblance of democracy in most of Latin America at the moment but corruption remains their basic form of government. Does the USA need any more of that?

Once again: With Hispanics you are not talking about just a few families. You are talking about a major voting bloc.

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Undocumented Unworkers Pouring Across Rio Grande

All this Obama as Deporter-in-Chief  talk doesn't seem to impress actual illegal aliens, who are becoming more blatant about border-crossing.  From the NYT:

Lured by Hope of U.S. Asylum, Migrants Strain Border Security [3]

By JULIA PRESTON   APRIL 10, 2014

HIDALGO, Tex. — Border Patrol agents in olive uniforms stood in broad daylight on the banks of the Rio Grande, while on the Mexican side smugglers pulled up in vans and unloaded illegal migrants.

The agents were clearly visible on that recent afternoon, but the migrants were undeterred. Mainly women and children, 45 in all, they crossed the narrow river on the smugglers’ rafts, scrambled up the bluff and turned themselves in, signaling a growing challenge for the immigration authorities.

I know you are supposed to notice differences between men and women and children, and just call them all Undocumented Workers, but when the illegal aliens were mostly men decades ago, they didn't reproduce anchor babies as much. Women illegal aliens are anchor baby generating machines. And then there are their already-born kids who are tax sinks.

After six years of steep declines across the Southwest, illegal crossings have soared in South Texas while remaining low elsewhere. The Border Patrol made more than 90,700 apprehensions in the Rio Grande Valley in the past six months, a 69 percent increase over last year.

The migrants are no longer primarily Mexican laborers. Instead they are Central Americans, including many families with small children and youngsters without their parents, who risk a danger-filled journey across Mexico. Driven out by deepening poverty

Is there evidence that poverty is deepening in Central America? Are they fleeing hunger?  Mexico, Venezuela, Guatemala Among 10 Fattest Countries

increasing numbers of migrants caught here seek asylum, setting off lengthy legal procedures to determine whether they qualify

The new migrant flow, largely from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, is straining resources and confounding Obama administration security strategies that work effectively in other regions. It is further complicating President Obama’s uphill push on immigration, fueling Republican arguments for more border security before any overhaul.

With detention facilities, asylum offices and immigration courts overwhelmed, enough migrants have been released temporarily in the United States that back home in Central America people have heard that those who make it to American soil have a good chance of staying.

“Word has gotten out that we’re giving people permission and walking them out the door,” said Chris Cabrera, a Border Patrol agent who is vice president of the local of the National Border Patrol Council, the agents’ union. “So they’re coming across in droves.”

In Mexican border cities like Reynosa, just across the river, migrants have become easy prey for Mexican drug cartels that have seized control of the human smuggling business, heightening perils for illegal crossers and security risks for the United States.

At the Rio Grande that afternoon, the smugglers calculatedly sent the migrants across at a point where the water is too shallow for Border Patrol boats that might have turned them back safely at the midriver boundary between the United States and Mexico.

A Border Patrol chief, Raul Ortiz, watched in frustration from a helicopter overhead. “Somebody probably told them they’re going to get released,” he said.

As agents booked them, the migrants waited quietly: a Guatemalan mother carrying a toddler with a baby bottle, another with an infant wrapped in blankets.

Undocumented workers each! Soon they'll be productive members of the work force.

A 9-year-old girl said she was traveling by herself, hoping to rejoin her mother and two brothers in Louisiana. But she did not know where in Louisiana they were. After a two-week journey from Honduras, her only connection to them was one telephone number on a scrap of paper.

A Honduran woman said the group had followed the instructions of the Mexican smugglers. “They just told us to cross and start walking,” she said.

But whereas Mexicans can be swiftly returned by the Border Patrol, migrants from noncontiguous countries must be formally deported and flown home by other agencies. Even though federal flights are leaving South Texas every day, Central Americans are often detained longer.

Women with children are detained separately. But because the nearest facility for “family units” is in Pennsylvania, families apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley are likely to be released while their cases proceed, a senior deportations official said.

Minors without parents are turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services, which holds them in shelters that provide medical care and schooling and tries to send them to relatives in the United States. The authorities here are expecting 35,000 unaccompanied minors this year, triple the number two years ago.

SOURCE

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IRS Employees Don't Just Target Political Enemies, They Also Support Friends, Says Federal Watchdog

We already know that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a long history of wielding its awesome clout against political opponents of sitting presidents, powerful members of Congress, and the tax collectors themselves, but who are IRS employees for? Well, President Obama seems to tickle their fancy. According to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which enforces the Hatch Act limiting political activity by federal employees, IRS employees are "alleged to have engaged in partisan political activity on duty and in the federal workplace."

Under federal law, IRS employees, like most federal workers, are considered "less restricted employees" who still must mind their actions lest they be be seen as using the taxpayers' money and resources to influence who gets to rule over those taxpayers. According to the list of no-nos, such federal workers "May not engage in political activity—i.e., activity directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group— while the employee is on duty, in any federal room or building, while wearing a uniform or official insignia, or using any federally owned or leased vehicle."

Nevertheless, in a press release dated April 9, the Office of Special Counsel reports that not just individual IRS employees but whole offices are openly rooting for the incumbent president of the United States.

OSC received allegations that employees working in the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center in Dallas, Texas, violated the Hatch Act by wearing pro-Obama political stickers, buttons, and clothing to work and displaying pro-Obama screensavers on their IRS computers. It could not be determined whether these materials were displayed prior to the November 2012 election or only afterwards. However, since the information OSC received alleged that these items were commonplace throughout the office, OSC issued cautionary guidance to all IRS employees in the Dallas Taxpayer Assistance Center that they cannot wear or display any items advocating for or against a political party, partisan political group, or partisan candidate in the workplace.

Other IRS employees face discipline for advising taxpayers to vote for President Obama during the course of their duties.

This raises certain concerns given the tax agency's acknowledged ability to peer into and disrupt the lives of individual taxpayers and organizations. Just yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to refer former IRS official Lois Lerner to the Justice Department over allegations that she led the targeting of conservative political organizations.

Long before the current scandal, presidents of both parties—including Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Richard M. Nixon—used the IRS as a bludgeon against political enemies. "My father," Elliott Roosevelt said of FDR, "may have been the originator of the concept of employing the IRS as a weapon of political retribution."

Further evidence of politicized tax collectors with distinct partisan preferences does the IRS no favors—and should scare the hell out of Americans.

SOURCE

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White House Says Wage Gender Gap Stats Are Misleading...When Applied to the White House

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney doesn't like when you apply the same logic governing wages in private businesses to his employer's own payroll. As President Obama prepares to sign an executive order addressing the gender gap in federal contractors' wages, critics have pointed out that female White House staffers make an average of 88 cents for every dollar male staffers earn.

Carney protested that this was misleading, because women and men holding similar positions at the White House are paid equivalent salaries. Because women outnumber men at the lowest levels of the employee chain, however, the average female salary at the White House is lower.

Carney is right: It is misleading to average the salaries of men and women in widely varying positions and then use this as evidence that women are being discriminated against. That women disproportionately make up lower-paid positions may point to some broad, systematic gender bias, past or present, but it doesn't equal outright sexist behavior on an employer's part.

It's good that Carney acknowledges this as far as the White House is concerned, because the Obama administration and many others are quick to gloss over nuance like this when talking about the wage gap in general. We frequently hear that American women make only 77 cents for every dollar men make, but this is based on data that fail to account for women's work histories and life choices. It aggregates the earnings of women in all positions and compares this average against the earnings of all men.

SOURCE

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Equal Pay' Fails in Senate

Senate Republicans successfully blocked so-called “equal pay” legislation that's a key part of Democrats' election strategy of class and sex warfare. Democrats claim that women are paid less than men (they may be at the White House, anyway), but as we wrote Wednesday, that's largely a bogus claim. Naturally, the facts don't stop Democrats from pushing for a federal “solution” to the “problem.”

Along with their proposed minimum wage hike, Democrats' policies will only slow economic growth further for everyone. As Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “[W]hen it comes to American women over all, what we've seen over the past five and a half years is less income and more poverty. That's the story Senate Democrats don't want to talk about.”

SOURCE

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Bad Brew in Florida

Legislators in Florida have identified a serious problem in their state: Microbreweries who sell directly to customers. Craft beer makers are understandably outraged at the idea that they should have to first sell their beer to a distributor and then buy it back before selling to customers. But new Republican-sponsored legislation does just that. The beer doesn't even have to leave the brewer's premises; just process the paperwork and pay the middlemen.

Obviously it's nothing but a payoff for distributors. Evidently “Big Beer” is sour-faced about the competition they're facing from smaller (and better in our humble opinion) brewers and lobbied for the ridiculous law. That's what happens with cronyism – both sides become drunk on power.

SOURCE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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