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Bernie Sanders' health plan costs $1.38 trillion per year

The details are at TaxProf. Bernie will pay for it by taking employers (6.2% increase: there goes your raise), households (2.2% increase: there goes your vacation), destroying family businesses by taxing them to death rather than passing them from parents to children, and much more. In the process of doing all this, Bernie will destroy the country by socializing health care, insuring that we can all have the high quality health care experienced by patients in the care of Britain's National Health Service.

2016-02-01 12:13:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Constitutional ignorance

Ars TechnicaA federal appeals court is refusing to block the President Barack Obama administration's climate change initiative. Two dozen states and other energy companies sued (PDF) the Environmental Protection Agency in October, on the day the carbon-emissions cutting plan became law.

This sort of thing makes me furious, even leaving aside the court's rejecting an injunction request (which may or may not have merit as a court decision).

Obama's climate change plan is not law.

Why not? Congress did not pass it and send it to the president for his signature. That's the only way we make law.

Instead, Obama ordered his agency to find a way to shut down coal plants without Congressional action.

At most the Environmental Protection Racket's plan is a regulation, and it's only a binding regulation if it was passed pursuant to valid legislative authority from Congress. That's very debatable, because while the EPA has legislative authority to regulate pollution (itself a shaky claim based on Congress's authority to regulate interstate commerce), carbon dioxide is not a pollutant; it's simply part of our atmosphere.

But regardless of whether carbon dioxide is or is not a pollutant subject to the EPA's authority, we can be certain that the EPA's latest emission on this topic is not law and cannot ever be law.

2016-02-01 11:13:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Gun control on the ballot in Maine

Shall Not Be QuestionedAs the Mainer who notified me of this noted, “The UBC proposal is being driven and financed by out-of-state interests (read: Bloomberg). As a general rule, Mainers DO NOT appreciate being told how to live their lives by outsiders.” Spread the word, because if we don’t beat Bloomberg, this is coming to every state that has a ballot. Ballot measures come down to one thing: who spends the most money, and we cannot outspend Mike Bloomberg.

It sure looks like we'll be facing a full court press on gun control in Obama's final year. We're going to have to deliver a lesson that will be remembered.

2016-02-01 10:13:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS hard drive destruction case seems serious

Senate Finance Committee letter1. The hard drive in question – that of Samuel Maruca – was collected in August 2014, held until April 2015, and “sanitized” at that point. Please provide a narrative of the custody of that hard drive, including the names of each IRS official who had custody of the hard drive during this period, the time for which they held it, the location that it was stored.

So the IRS has this person's hard drive, holds it for a year, and only destroys it after it appears that Congress (and a FOIA request) are interested in the contents. But the IRS claims it was their official policy to destroy the drive:

Senate Finance Committee letter10. How long has the IRS had a policy of destroying (including but not limited to recycling or sanitizing) employee hard drives one month after their separation from the agency? Why was this policy created? Who created this policy? When and how is it administered?

If the policy was to destroy the drive one month after employee separation (and never mind that this makes an utter mockery of public records laws), why was it not destroyed until a year later when the requests came in?

The policy itself is stupid and probably illegal, but it can't be used as an excuse when there was such a long lag between separation and destruction. Some other decision happened that cause the destruction of this hard drive in response to the requests for data.

At this point, the IRS is just laughing at us and dancing on the bonfire of burning evidence.

2016-02-01 09:13:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Missing the point

The IRS has been eating hard drives again.

Washington ExaminerGovernment transparency is not a luxury or a concession of the bureaucracy; it is the law. Bureaucrats work for the public and owe it a complete account of their work. The next president must reinforce this point with tough new sanctions for violators, lest the IRS be forced to spend most of its future budget on new hard drives. One candidate for president has, of course, already shown she is not up to the task.

The dynamic between Republicans and Democrats on this topic is dysfunctional. Democrats are utterly corrupt; they use the agencies of government to channel money to their activists and suppress political activity by their opponents. When caught, they delay and stonewall and destroy evidence and the media helps them cover it all over in time for the next election. And the Republicans in office, if they even notice, do investigations and demand documents and hold hearings and nothing ever actually gets done about the problem.

So suppose a Republican president is elected with a substantial majority in the House and enough of a Senate majority to pass legislation that reforms the IRS and orders the employees there to properly retain records of their work and stop destroying evidence. What happens then?

What happens is that the Republican is forced to play fair and by the rules, with most of the rules enforced by Democrats in government agencies. Any attempt to claim a political advantage is tied up in red tape at best and leaked to the press to create a scandal at worst. And when a Democrat is in power, the rules go out the window for actual abuse of power, which is subsequently covered up and the evidence destroyed until the Republicans are next in power to pass "reform".

The last time a Republican tried to play by Democrat rules we got Nixon.

This is not a winning strategy for liberty, but I'm not sure what we can do to change the game.

2016-01-31 12:13:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obama paid ransom to Iran for US hostages

BreitbartThe United States’ sent Iran $400 million in debt plus $1.3 billion in interest, and the money was disbursed as a ransom payment for four American hostages of the Islamic regime, a top Iranian commander said Wednesday afternoon. Therefore, the U.S. paid the Iranian regime $425 million dollars per American hostage, according to the commander.

Remember the sailors that Iran kidnapped, right before "implementation day" of the nuclear treaty? Remember how they were recorded kneeling in submission, hands on the backs of their heads? Remember the recorded apology?

Remember also how the nuclear treaty involved paying Iran some $150+ billion dollars?

A very interesting caller to Mark Levin's show who claimed to have lived in Saudi Arabia for years noted that the Islamic jizyah tax, a tax paid by non-Muslims to live in Muslim territory, must be paid "in humiliation" by those who fight against Muslims. Which suggests that Iran views the release of funds under the treaty as a jizyah tax, and that the capture of the boats was staged -- possibly with the cooperation of the president.

Is this proof of anything? No, it's just speculation. But it's speculation that explains events that are otherwise unlikely.

2016-01-31 11:13:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Cruz has all the right enemies

Dallas NewsIowa Gov. Terry Branstad says Sen. Ted Cruz’s ethanol stance should cost him the Feb. 1 caucus.

Cruz easily appeals to evangelical Iowa voters but he is tougher sell for corn farmers. Cruz is a vocal opponent of the Renewable Fuel Standard, which sets the amount of ethanol mandated to be in the fuel supply. Corn farmers embrace the requirement to as a way to prop up prices, what Cruz calls “the government picking winners and losers.”

So the governor of Iowa doesn't like Cruz because the governor of Iowa likes being paid by the government to turn food into fuel. No offense to Iowans who obviously like their government subsidies, but the rest of the country doesn't want to be forced to prop up food prices by burning it instead of eating it. Advantage: Cruz.

Dallas NewsFormer GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole is bashing Sen. Ted Cruz, calling him potentially “cataclysmic” for the Republican Party. Dole told The New York Times Wednesday if Cruz were the nominee the party would see “wholesale losses,” preferring rival Donald Trump.

And Bob Dole, a pathetic candidate who lost his 1996 race to a president who would later be impeached by the House for lying about using the White House interns as a dating service, thinks that Ted Cruz will be a disaster for the party and prefers Donald Trump who has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the foundation run by the president who beat Dole. Advantage: Cruz.

2016-01-31 10:13:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Challenge to Obama Executive Action on guns filed

The Daily SignalA conservative lawyer and activist has filed the first federal court challenge to President Barack Obama’s executive actions to restrict firearm ownership, arguing that the president’s moves violate the Constitution.

Larry Klayman, a former U.S. Justice Department lawyer who heads the conservative advocacy group Freedom Watch, filed the lawsuit Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

I'm going to have to actually read the case he filed before I can comment on it substantively. The fact that it was filed so quickly suggests it's likely to lose on standing grounds; to get a solid case we probably need to find someone who tries to purchase a gun under Obama's changes, is denied because of those changes, has his appeal of the denial denied because of those changes, and then sues. All of that takes time to happen even after the rules are implemented, and they won't be implemented right away.

We'll see what the courts say.

2016-01-31 09:13:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Haley has no credibility now

USA TodayIn responding to the State of the Union address, Haley turned in a flawless performance.

She knows how to thread a needle. She defended legal immigrants by asserting that "no one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country" while stressing the importance of protecting our borders and "stopping illegal immigration."

... while the Spanish translation of her remarks promised amnesty. It amazes me that the people running the party think we are stupid enough to accept this sort of deceptive BS from a candidate.

2016-01-30 12:13:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Senator Mikulski doesn't want to hear about constitutional rights

Daily CallerMaryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski said at a Senate hearing Wednesday that she wanted to avoid getting “involved in constitutional arguments.” The only problem is that the hearing in question dealt with President Obama’s recent executive actions on guns, which many believe infringes on Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

It amazes me that politicians can say this sort of thing and not have it come back to throw them out of their seat at the next election. It's their job to get involved in Constitutional arguments.

2016-01-30 11:13:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Allegation: Waco police made no effort to aid injured in motorcycle meet shooting

Dallas ObserverWilson begins by telling how Jake Rhyne, one of seven Cossacks killed that day, lay bleeding for 30 to 45 minutes without receiving medical attention. Wilson wanted to help, and he recounts his conversation with a Waco police officer

There should be enough witnesses and video to confirm what he is claiming, and if it can be confirmed, there should be charges brought against the police. It's one thing to shoot someone -- even several someones -- because you thought they presented a danger to you. Even if you found out shortly after that that you were wrong. That can be an honest mistake, and should carry consequences, but may not amount to murder.

It's quite another thing to then let that person die in order to avoid being sued for your mistake. That particular tactic is absolutely disgusting and should be grounds for murder charges in itself. (Proving it would be a challenge, but in the day of omnipresence video recordings, proof is beginning to become a possibility). And this is far from the first time I've read reports that it happened. Letting people die is not an acceptable police tactic.

2016-01-30 10:13:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

FBI stopping NICS appeals?

Funny, I don't recall Obama mentioning that the FBI would stop processing NICS appeals in his list of executive actions. But if they do, I think this is something we can sue on and win. Denial of a fundamental right without due process seems like something even the recently cowardly Supreme Court could handle.

2016-01-30 09:13:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Did Trump win or lose by leaving the debate stage?

Gateway PunditThursday night’s Trump-less Republican presidential debate on FOX News Channel scored 12.5 million viewers, making it the second-highest rated telecast in the network’s history.

Lots of people are saying the telecast was a Big Success without Trump. Other people are saying that they lost half their viewers compared to the first Republican debate this year. Who's right? Well, technically both claims are true; it's a question of which spin the speaker is trying to put on the information. Let's look at the actual context. For the purposes of this post I'm going to trust the Wikipedia numbers:

Wikipedia
1) 24 million
2) 23 million
3) 14 million
4) 13.5 million
5) 18 million
6) 11.1 million
7) 12.5 million

OK, so the first debate numbers to the last debate numbers did drop by almost half. But they did that over the course of 7 debates. The big drop occurred after the 2nd debate (9 million fewer people tuned in for the 3rd debate than the 2nd debate). Debate 5 was an outlier that jumped back up; 6 and 7 were consistent with most of the previous results. If anything, Trump's absence slightly reversed a downwards trend. We can only guess at causation for those numbers, of course, but viewer count was trending mostly down with a small blip up for the last debate (and a much larger blip up for debate 5).

So, if your measure of winning or losing is how many people watched compared to previous debates, or the trend of people watching with or without Trump, Trump lost. About the same number of people showed up as had been showing up before. And maybe a few more showed up because Trump wasn't there. Maybe.

I'll note that a declining trend is common for situations like this. People lose interest in watching the same group of (frankly, mostly boring) people say basically the same things on basically the same topics over and over. For most people, you watch until you make up your mind, but only political junkies keep tuning in for 6 or 7 debates (remember, that's probably 20-30 hours of programming if you count the mini-dates too).

So the declining interest is normal, and in context with the other debate numbers, removing Trump from the debates didn't move the needle much.

I don't have numbers for Trump's competing event in front of me. I've seen reports that he did not match or beat the debate numbers, but (right now) I have no idea if it was by a lot or a little or just not yet confirmed. We'll see, or I'll find numbers before I post...

UPDATE: The veteran's nonprofit involved appears to be an Establishment astroturf operation.

2016-01-29 20:50:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Anti-gun democrat accused of opening fire with AR-15 at ex-wife

Ammoland“Smith, who served three years in the state House of Representatives before being elected to the Senate in 2010 and re-elected in 2014, is accused of opening fire with an AR-15 in the direction of his ex-wife, Anistia Thomas, and her Mercedes about 1 a.m. May 10,”

Sordid soap opera details aside, what’s of note for gun rights advocates is that Smith has a record of hostility to their concerns. Per Project Vote Smart, he was rated “D” by the NRA’s Political Victory Fund, and “was rated 0% by Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners.”

As someone is fond of asking, why are anti-gun politicians so violent?

2016-01-29 12:13:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Constitutional carry legislation in Tennessee

Worth supporting, but there are probably reasons politicians prefer to have lists of names they can send mail to.

2016-01-29 11:13:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Blaming criminal activity on ... social media?

BreitbartChicago’s interim police superintendent John Escalante is struggling to explain the wild jump in shootings in the Windy City, and he thinks he has at least part of the explanation: it’s social media’s fault.

If he's referring to stuff like BlackLivesMatter increasing tensions between police and certain segments of the community, maybe he has a point. Especially if those tensions result in decreased police presence and investigation. But really, this is Chicago we're talking about here. The city has a problem even if you take social media out of the picture completely.

2016-01-29 10:13:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS erases another hard drive under court preservation order

Americans for Tax ReformThe IRS erased a hard drive belonging to a former top employee involved in the agency’s controversial, taxpayer-funded hiring of elite trial law firm Quinn Emanuel.

Although there was a court preservation order on all documents related to the IRS hiring of the outside firm, the hard drive was erased anyway. The order was borne of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted by Microsoft.

If this was a novel, people would call it implausible. Apparently the IRS feels it can ignore the courts.

2016-01-29 09:13:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Just a note

Bill Quick at Daily Pundit has been pretty much all Trump all the time for the past few months. Fair enough; clearly the man knows where he stands and there are a number of points we agree on. However, a lot of his posts have the following quality to them lately:

Bill QuickBetting markets predicting a solid Iowa win for Trump.
Polling averages predicting a solid Iowa win for Trump.
538 models both now predicting a solid Iowa win for Trump.
TDS sufferers predicting it’s all meaningless, and Ted Cruz (or somebody, anybody, else) will blow Trump away. Because magic.

He may be right. Trump may win Iowa. Trump may win the nomination, and Trump may win the presidency. I don't know. The polls do suggest Trump has a pretty good chance of doing at least the first and maybe the second. (We're way too far ahead to predict the third).

But I don't pick the candidates I support based on who I think will win. I pick the candidates I support based on their positions on issues, what I think they will do in office, and whether I can trust them to follow through on their promises competently. Popularity has little to do with it, and polls even less. I pick the candidate I think would be the best President, and I do my damnedest to make sure they win.

The endless poll following is not persuasive and is getting a bit tiresome.

2016-01-28 22:32:01.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

State Dept forgot to send Hillary emails to other agencies for review

Washington TimesThough they’ve been working on the emails for more than a year, State Department officials said they only realized three weeks ago that they still had thousands of emails marked for review by other agencies — but had forgotten to send them out.

"Forgotten"?

Did the person who said that say it under penalty of perjury?

2016-01-28 22:17:48.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Interesting bits from the debate

If you're not interested in the Republican primary debate, don't click the Read More button now.

(Read More...)

2016-01-28 22:00:45.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

FOX debate executive's daughter is working for Rubio's campaign

Daily PunditLewandowski revealed two things for the first time: that the executive he was discussing matters with was Bill Sammon, and that Sammon’s daughter Brooke Sammon works for Rubio’s campaign, giving the first-term Floridian Senator an obvious boost. That blatant conflict of interest has never before been disclosed to the viewers of Fox News by the network.

That does seem like a problem, and not a made-up one.

2016-01-28 21:37:28.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Garbage In Garbage Out

InstapunditWELL, WHY WOULD IT BE? Camille Paglia psychoanalyzes Hillary Clinton and it’s not very pretty.

Garbage in, garbage out.

2016-01-28 21:34:01.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Indoctrination in schools

The College FixA teacher at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro requires students in her class to write an 8-page commitment to social justice — pupils who take her class because it’s a required course to earn a K-12 teaching credential. Zilonka’s syllabus also tells students to Like on Facebook a slate of secular-progressive pages, such as the pro-LGBTQ Human Rights Campaign, Feministing, Million Hoodies for Justice, and the Brown Girl Collective.

Ever wonder why students in the public education system always come out of it like good little marxists?

2016-01-28 12:13:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Study on genetically-modified crops being investigated for faked data

NaturePapers that describe harmful effects to animals fed genetically modified (GM) crops are under scrutiny for alleged data manipulation. The leaked findings of an ongoing investigation at the University of Naples in Italy suggest that images in the papers may have been intentionally altered. The leader of the lab that carried out the work there says that there is no substance to this claim.

The left has co-opted science to serve their political causes. Until scientists rediscover the importance of honesty and ethics, science as a whole will continue to lose credibility. Which is a shame, because science done properly is extremely useful and important.

2016-01-28 11:13:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Astroturf

PJMediaOver a decade ago, the New York Post’s Ryan Sager published a blockbuster story, showing that “campaign finance reform has been an immense scam perpetrated…by a cadre of left-wing foundations and disguised as a “mass movement.” Based on the astonishing testimony of Sean Treglia, who ran the campaign finance reform effort for Pew Trusts, Sager reported that…

…Treglia came up with a three-pronged strategy: 1) pursue an expansive agenda through incremental reforms, 2) pay for a handful of “experts” all over the country with foundation money and 3) create fake business, minority and religious groups to pound the table for reform.

They are still doing it. In the gun control debate we call it astroturf -- fake grass roots. They do it, ironically, on campaign finance reform. They do it on illegal immigration. The unions do it with paid protesters and picket lines. Planned Parenthood does it on abortion funding. It was practically the whole reason that ACORN existed.

The left funds their activism organizations through government and infiltrates their operatives into media organizations. Other activists extort funds for their political activities through pressuring corporations for donations, sometimes with the Justice Department and other regulators as active partners.

The main takeaway is that for many on the left, politics is their job. Those of us on the right who prefer limited government have to maintain real jobs and advocate on our own time.

2016-01-28 10:13:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]
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