Thursday, February 28, 2013

MediaMatters lives in its own fantasy world

While doing some research, I ran across this 2009 'fact check' from Media Matters for America:
And rest assured, you're not the only "firm believer" in the 2nd Amendment.  I found a video of President Obama promising "I believe in the Second Amendment. I believe in people's lawful right to bear arms. I will not take your shotgun away. I will not take your rifle away. I won't take your handgun away."

Watch it yourself:
So, there you have it: . . . . Obama's not taking away our guns.
As the last couple months have made clear, Obama never meant a word of that campaign statement.  Like most progressives, he strongly opposes the right of self-defense.  MMfA's 'fact check' was  just an exercise in self-delusion.

Monday, February 25, 2013

How to buy the Secretary of the Treasury

Obama, Lew
You might think that buying a top cabinet official might require subtlety.  It doesn't.  Citigroup shows how it can be done right out in the open.   While companies often offer bonuses to retain their best employees, Citigroup did the opposite: when Citibank hired Jack Lew, it offered him almost a million dollar bonus on the condition that he leave Citigroup for a high level Federal job.  Wall Street on Parade reports:
At last we know how the grease is funneled to that revolving door between Wall Street and Washington. One only gets a $940,000 bonus from Wall Street’s Citigroup if you can land a “full time high level position with the United States Government or a regulatory body.” It can’t be just a part-time job, mind you; and you can’t be rank and file. Citigroup’s dangling carrot will only pay $940,000 if the company can add a “high level” government mover and shaker to their gold-plated Rolodex.

This was the bombshell dropped by Senator Orrin Hatch yesterday in Jack Lew’s confirmation hearing for one of the highest offices in the land – Secretary of the U.S. Treasury who will also head the body that makes critical decisions impacting Citigroup – the Financial Stability Oversight Council. (Lew held an executive position with Citigroup at the time of its collapse.)
At Bloomberg,  Jonathan Weil has more details.

PREVIOUSLY on our for-profit government:
How Congressmen get rich
Kickbacks and the LA Coliseum
How to buy a congressman
How to buy a judge
Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Feinstein: how their husbands benefit from government contracts

Thursday, February 21, 2013

John Locke, Natural Law, and the 2nd Amendment

This US was founded on the notion of natural law.   When the founders wrote "we hold these truths to be self-evident," the truths they were talking about are natural law.  One such self-evident natural law is the right of self-defense.  John Locke explained it plainly as follows:
A Man with a Sword in his Hand demands my Purse in the High-way, when perhaps I have not 12 d. in my Pocket; This Man I may lawfully kill.
Natural law gives a man the right to self-defense, even if it means killing someone over a mere 12 pence.  Locke recognized sensible limits to this right: if the situation gives one opportunity to appeal to the rule of law, then one should.  Locke, for example, wrote about recovering a loan from another person:
To another [man] I deliver 100 l. to hold only whilst I alight, which he refuses to restore me, when I am got up again, but draws his Sword to defend the possession of it by force, if I endeavour to retake it. The mischief this Man does me, is a hundred, or possibly a thousand times more, than the other perhaps intended me, (whom I killed before he really did me any) and yet I might lawfully kill the one, and cannot so much as hurt the other lawfully. The Reason whereof is plain; because the one using force, which threatened my Life, I could not have time to appeal to the Law to secure it:
With natural law in mind, look at the full text of the Second Amendment:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The Second Amendment does not grant people the right to bear arms.  As the founders understood natural law, the people already had that right.  The Amendment merely instructs the government not to infringe on the people's natural right.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Does the government really need all the money it spends?

The Flash Report discusses the spending priorities in the Los Angeles schools:
We all heard the commercials — without the passage of Prop. 30 and the income and sales taxes that came with it, education in California would be decimated.  And Californians responded, approving the higher tax burden.  Well, apparently it’s now Christmas over at the LAUSD Board of Trustees.  At their board meeting last week, in addition to revoking the pink slips of 208 employees, the board voted to commit taxpayers to a half-billion dollar investment to provide tablet computers to every student in the district.  Yeah, you read that right.  Given all of the other budget priorities that sit in front of that board (such as a massive unfunded pension liability), it’s time for iPads for everyone.
PREVIOUSLY on the subject of education:
Are public schools succeeding?
Paradox: student test scores improve after school budgets are cut
The great minds of the Ivy League
Study: teacher's unions are bad for education
Study: sexist women teachers stunt learning of girl students
Black students, harassed for "acting white," get $150,000
Teaching self-esteem backfires
Education in Korea vs. the US: does "self-esteem" backfire?
LA pays teachers not to teach
What teachers learn in teacher's ed.
Obama promises to throw money at schools
How to get a job teaching in California even if you are illiterate
Affirmative action backfire
California offers student tutoring but only for students belonging to the right races
High school implements race-based punishments for misbehavior

Why do people say that liberals think money grows on trees?

An anecdote from the Rush Limbaugh show:
RUSH: This is Pam in Cincinnati.  Hi, Pam.  Great to have you on the Rush Limbaugh program.  Hello.
CALLER:  Hi, Rush.  Thanks for taking my call.
RUSH:  You bet.
CALLER:  I am a self-employed hairdresser, salon owner in Cincinnati. I've been self-employed for about 14 years.  Just after the 2008 elections, I had a client come in to the salon and she was born and raised in Italy and said that she had come to the United States in 1990s and how she loved the United States and that she was self-employed here, and I asked her, "Well, can you not be self-employed in Italy?" And she said, "Oh, no. No one is self-employed in Europe because the taxes are so high."  She had quickly become an American citizen.  Well, I asked her, "How do you like Barack Obama and all that he's doing?"  She said, "Well, I love Barack Obama.  I'm very, very liberal," and I knew right then that she truly did not understand how capitalism worked, because she didn't understand where the money came from.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Environmentalism killed 8 million children in the last 12 years

From Slate (hat tip: Instapundit):
Finally, after a 12-year delay caused by opponents of genetically modified foods, so-called “golden rice” with vitamin A will be grown in the Philippines. Over those 12 years, about 8 million children worldwide died from vitamin A deficiency. Are anti-GM advocates not partly responsible?

Golden rice is the most prominent example in the global controversy over GM foods, which pits a technology with some risks but incredible potential against the resistance of feel-good campaigning. Three billion people depend on rice as their staple food, with 10 percent at risk for vitamin A deficiency, which, according to the World Health Organization, causes 250,000 to 500,000 children to go blind each year. Of these, half die within a year. A study from the British medical journal the Lancet estimates that, in total, vitamin A deficiency kills 668,000 children under the age of 5 each year.

Yet, despite the cost in human lives, anti-GM campaigners—from Greenpeace to Naomi Klein—have derided efforts to use golden rice to avoid vitamin A deficiency. [Emph. added]
Golden (GM) rice is impressively cost-effective:
Supplementation programs costs $4,300 for every life they save in India, whereas fortification programs cost about $2,700 for each life saved. Both are great deals. But golden rice would cost just $100 for every life saved from vitamin A deficiency.
Being an environmentalist means never having to take responsibility for the consequences of one's actions.

Greenpeace protest in Rotterdam

PREVIOUSLY on environmentalism:
Mafia profits off of "green energy" scams
Global warmism as anti-science
More ethics problems among Global Warming "scientists"
4.5 Billion to die this year, or maybe not
Global warmists propose mass killing of animals
Democrat: Global Warming will destroy Washington DC by the year 2000
Earth Day: environmentalism and the test of science
The collapse of the UN IPCC's credibility
Yet another UN IPCC Glacier-gate scandal
UN IPCC claims of melting Himalayan glaciers exposed as fraud
Environmentalists at war with environmentalists over green energy
EPA's new global warming rules, illustrated
California global warming rules backfire
France's carbon tax ruled unconstitutional
UN IPCC responds to Climategate with wild accusations
Surprise: EU's carbon trading riddled with fraud
Global warming and the test of science, III
Global warming and the test of science, II
Global warming and the test of science, I
141 scientists wrote letter to UN challenging global warming hysteria.
Ma'am Sen. Boxer for and against climate whistleblowers.
BBC propaganda on global warming
Climate alarmist Phil Jones to step down pending review
Why Penn State's investigation of its global warmist will go nowhere
Former boss calls James Hansen call an embarrassment to NASA
NASA's global warming scientists caught hyping false data
The resemblance of global warming true-believers to Islamists
James Hansen "muzzled" by Bush White House?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Engineers and geoscientists are overwhelmingly skeptical of IPCC and global warming alarmism

The APEGA is the Alberta Canada's regulatory body for the disciplines of engineering, geology, and geophysics. It commissioned two economics researchers, Lianne M. Lefsrud and Renate E. Meyer, to study the opinions of its members on global warming and the IPCC. Their results, published in Organization Studies (abstract here, and full text here, PDF) found that Alberta's engineers and geoscientists were overwhelmingly skeptical of the IPCC and its global warming alarmism. A mere 36% were classified as Kyoto supporters.  Lefsrud and Meyer break down their results as follows:
  • 10% "point to the harm the Kyoto Protocol and all regulation will do to the economy."  They say "the ‘real’ cause of climate change is unknown as nature is forever changing and uncontrollable." They "disagree that climate change poses any significant public risk and see no impact on their personal life."  This group doubts that "the scientific debate is settled and that the IPCC modeling is accurate." This group emphasizes that ‘Conservation is always a good idea, but spending money without any real understanding of what the value you will be getting is always a bad idea.’
  • 17% conclude that "climate change as both human- and naturally caused." This group consider "climate change to be a smaller public risk with little impact on their personal life." Like other groups, they "are sceptical that the scientific debate is settled regarding the IPCC modeling." 
  • 5% believe that "climate change as being both human- and naturally caused, posing a moderate public risk, with only slight impact on their personal life."  This group is "also sceptical with regard to the scientific debate being settled and are the most indecisive whether IPCC modeling is accurate."
  • 24% believe that "changes to the climate are natural, normal cycles of the Earth."  They say, for example, that 'global warming is what brought us out of the Ice Age.’ This group "strongly disagree[s] that climate change poses any significant public risk and see no impact on their personal lives."
  • 36% think climate change is "a significant public risk and see an impact on their personal life." This group supports Kyoto.
The authors of this study, Lefsrud and Meyer, are clearly supporters of global warming alarmism: their use of the term "denier," for example, is a dead giveaway of this.  Also, the bias was apparently obviously enough that they reported that respondents called their survey "left wing/liberal."  The surveys results must have been particularly disappointing for them.

Even more embarrassing for the alarmists, it was found that Kyoto supporters were "significantly more likely to be lower in the organizational hierarchy, younger, female, and working in government."   In other words, the believers in the IPCC were primarily the young and inexperienced.  They also typically worked for the government.

They tried to blame the results on the biases of those employed in in Alberta's oil and gas industry.   But, even among government workers, global warmings strongest supporters, only 45% were in the "comply with Kyoto" group.

Global warmists claim widespread support but you rarely see detailed surveys like this.  These results are why.

Hat tip: WattsUpWithThat.

PREVIOUSLY on support for global warming:
Study: those most knowledgable about science are least fooled by climate alarmists
It is never too cold for a Climate Crisis Rally
Science versus the UN: 125 scientists expose UN's fraudulent claims
Global warming hypocrite of the day is Arnold

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Southern Poverty Law Center website inspired a hate crime

The Clarion Ledger reports on the guilty plea
Floyd Corkins II, 28, acknowledged in a plea agreement that he intended to kill as many people as possible during the August shooting at the Family Research Council. [Emph. added]
How did he come to the idea of killing people at the Family Research Council?
In his plea agreement, Corkins acknowledged he identified the Council as "an anti-gay organization" by visiting Southern Poverty [Law Center]'s website.[Emph. added]
 The SPLC doesn't just attack supporters of traditional marriage.  It also has labeled the Tea Party movement as racist.  The SPLC writes:
Now, there is new evidence that race is playing a part in the Tea Party movement as well, even as it begins to claim some real political power.
The SPLC lent support to the absurd claim that opposition to nationalized health insurance was based on Obama's race.

The SPLC also brands those who believe that immigration laws should be obeyed as "nativist extremists."

The SPLC cannot be blamed for Corkins' homicidal intentions.  The hate that it indiscriminately spews does, however, encourage it.  It is not clear whether the SPLC was ever a legitimate civil rights organization.  It certainly isn't now.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Obama's Treasury nominee is yet another law-breaker?

The Washington Times reports:
Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Budget Committee, has repeatedly demanded the Obama administration comply with the Medicare law.

He and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan wrote Mr. Obama in 2011 demanding he submit the plan required by law.
But budget and notification laws are routinely ignored.
Mr. Obama has missed this year’s legal deadline for submitting a budget, blaming the late passage of the tax increase deal early last month.
In 2010 through 2011, during the time when the Medicare submission was required, the person in charge of the White House budget office was Jacob "Jack" Lew.   Pres. Obama has nominated Lew to be Secretary of the Treasury, replacing Timothy Geithner who, during his confirmation hearings, was caught owing $34,000 in back taxes.

Many of Obama's nominees have had problems with ethics, tax, or law (click here).  Many of Clinton's nominees, along with Democrat Senators, have violated tax law.

It is amazing that those who fail to comply with existing laws are also among the ones most eager to enact new laws.

Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it

When a leader is powerful enough, he (she) thinks that even the laws of economics will bend to her will:

The Soviet Union tried price controls. Richard Nixon tried price controls. It doesn't end well.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Popular resistance

We've seen Occupy Wall Streeters throw rocks, smash cars, and break windows.  Their movement, however, merely represented the inchoate anger and frustrations of youth.  As such, it was be unlikely to develop any coherent leadership.  If it had been more organized, it might have resembled that the Baader Meinhof gang whose deadly attacks terrorized Germany in the 1970s.  Such a movement is more like a crime wave, though, that a serious political movement.

By contrast, consider this town hall (video below) in the sleepy town of Buffalo New York.  Gov. Cuomo's new gun law threatens prison for those who don't destroy or turn in their "assault" weapons.  It is quite clear from the comments at this meeting, however, that many Americans consider the right of self-defense every bit as important as a civil right as, say,  the right to free speech.  These citizens talk of noncompliance and one man went further, talking of armed insurrection:
When angry people get together, they form militias.  This country, this Western New York area, is prime for something like that.

Between Obamacare, bailouts, deficits, and attacks on the 2nd Amendment, the left is pushing a more divisive agenda now that at any time in at least the past seventy years.   It is hard to see this ending well.

Hat tip: Instapundit and No Lawyers

Thousands attend San Francisco rally in support of the 2nd Amendment
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