Insane amounts of government regulation

So just how much regulation does the federal government indulge in? There's legislation being proposed to privatize the air traffic control system, which may or may not be a good idea; I'm not going to claim to be an expert on how well the current system is working but I generally favor privatization. However, as part of that discussion, Democrats are trying to establish flight legroom minimums and force airlines to seat families together, and a panel approved more rest time for flight attendants and banned e-cigarettes on flights. In addition to the traffic control measure, the Republicans are trying to relax rules on airline advertising which points out that there are apparently special rules for airlines to advertise. (On the brief summary of the rules provided, "requiring the airlines to include taxes and fees in the ticket prices" seems like a good idea, but there's always more to it than that). And a Democrat is trying to ban lithium battery shipments by airplane while another is seeking greater labor union protections for the people fondling your grandchild and grandmother at security checkpoints. And a Republican is pushing for a ban on in-flight phone calls.

Not to be left behind, the United Nations just approved new rules for airplane emissions.

That's a lot of rules and regulations. To some extent, it's the business of Congress (being interstate commerce by definition), and I'd rather than focus on things like this than trying to regulate fantasy football games. But still, most of those proposed rules sound like they would be much better off as business decisions made by individual airlines.

Wed Feb 24 10:41:48 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Ten questions to ask global warming advocates

WattsUpWithThatThe wild exaggerations of both the direct CO2 warming and the supposedly more serious add-on warming are rooted in an untruth: the falsehood that scientists know enough about how clouds form, how thunderstorms work, how air and ocean currents flow, how ice sheets behave, how soot in the air behaves.

In truth, we do not understand climate enough to make even an uneducated guess about how much global warming our adding CO2 to the air will cause. Other things being equal, we will cause some warming, but – based on actual measurements to date – not much.

Science, and especially uncertainty, are very tricky things. The truth is, we are not very certain about the true magnitude of anthropogenic climate change. The amount of data is huge, the impact of natural variables is almost entirely unknown, and only some of the mechanisms are well understood. The claimed impact of human activity on the variable we are trying to measure -- global temperature averages -- is almost certainly below the precision of the means we have to measure it.

Quite frankly, a competent high school science student could understand the problems with the claims, if they were only asked to look at them with a critical eye instead of fed propaganda.

Wed Feb 24 09:41:48 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Twitter is now alienating prominent authors

Monster Hunter NationThey’ve been unverifying conservatives, and outright banning conservative journalists. Then there were rumors of “shadow banning” where people would post, but their followers wouldn’t see it in their timelines. So it’s like you’re talking to a room that you think has 9,000 people in it, but when the lights come on you’ve been wasting time talking to an empty room.

For the record, I don’t know if that’s what happened to me or not. Some of my posts have just disappeared from my timeline entirely. Other tweets seem to show up for some followers, but not others, and it wasn’t just replies. Beats me. Either something weird was going on and I’ve violated the unwritten rules of the Ministry of Public Truth, or their technical interface is just getting worse (never attribute to malice what could just be stupidity). Either way it is enough of a pain that it was getting to be not worth the hassle.

Then today they disappeared all of my friend Adam Baldwin’s tweets. Ironically, his only visible post (out of 8,000) was a link to an article about how Twitter is banning conservatives. That was the last straw.

On the one hand, Twitter is a business and if they want it to be a playpen for the Left, they can do that. On the other hand, Twitter is a publically-traded business and that means the people running the company have obligations to their shareholders that don't include destroying their business to advance their politics by pissing off half of their potential users.

On the gripping hand, respect for free speech and the refusal of ordinary businesses to take overt political sides in a culture war are both vital defenses against totalitarianism. Just because it's not government doing the censoring directly doesn't mean that a company seeking to be a platform for discussion should take sides in that discussion.

The ideals that once made America exceptional are crumbling.

Tue Feb 23 14:08:10 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

More classified Clinton emails

McClatchyDCAt least 1,730 emails that Hillary Clinton sent or received contained classified material, according to the State Department’s latest update from its ongoing review of more than 30,000 emails.

If Hillary is elected to the presidency despite this record, will she be receiving the nuclear launch codes to her "private" server where any competent intelligence service could read them?

Tue Feb 23 12:30:46 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A Senator's bad joke may cost him his seat

Kurt Schlichter“President Obama has spent over seven years disrespecting and disregarding the Constitution. He and his liberal soulmates have expressed nothing but utter contempt for the separation of powers and for our most basic rights. I will not stand by and allow them any further opportunity to infringe upon our freedoms. So my advice to Obama is not to bother nominating anyone to replace Justice Scalia, but if he does so then I shall withhold my consent. I will not support hearings on, or a vote on, or confirmation of, any Obama Supreme Court nominee, ever. Period.”

Read the whole thing, particularly people in Nevada.

Tue Feb 23 11:30:46 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Biden says president shouldn't nominate for SCOTUS

Hot AirIf you’re keeping score, this means that the current president, current vice president, current Senate minority leader, and incoming Senate minority leader have all gone on record in the past in favor of obstructing a Supreme Court nominee.

If it was about honesty for the Democrats, this would be a problem. Since it's about naked power, they'll just ignore the contradiction, and the media will cover for them.

Tue Feb 23 10:30:46 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

ISIS cell broken up before planned chemical attack

Gateway PunditAuthorities in Morocco broke up an ISIS cell last Thursday before a planned chemical weapons attack. ISIS was planning to use sulphur containing chemicals to create a fatally toxic gas in an explosion. Four machine guns, thirteen tear gas bombs and significant quantities of ammunition were confiscated from the terror cell.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away. Usually, it gets worse while you try to ignore it.

Tue Feb 23 09:30:46 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Getting serious in the GOP primary

Kurt SchlichterDonald Trump needs to get serious, and not just about his stupid neo-Trutherism, but he has earned the right to remain in the race. I don’t support him (though I would vote for him in the general against one of those socialist monsters) but he’s a viable candidate with a path to nomination. Yet there are others who aren’t and who are interfering with the critical decision that GOP voters need to make in light of Justice Scalia’s sad passing. If you aren’t a real candidate, you need to get out.

There are three candidates. Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio. No one else has a path to the nomination. The rest are in the way.

Read the whole thing.

It's time for the GOPe to let go of this absurd splitter stuff. Bush, Kasich, Carson, all of them need to drop out and save their PAC money for supporting the winner in the general. Honestly, Rubio should drop out too; running an amnesty candidate is pretty much certain to lose the general no matter how appealing the candidate's smile is on TV. The battle is between Cruz, a sober, serious conservative with some libertarian leanings, and Trump, a guy who might shake up the general by bringing in Democrats while destroying the party by nominating his sister to the Supreme Court.

Tue Feb 23 00:26:25 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS hearing

The HillTwo Democrats on the panel accused their GOP colleagues of repeatedly holding hearings on the IRS for political reasons. Jordan said the hearings are warranted because the IRS has engaged in a pattern of destroying records and documents.

The IRS has earned every bit of the scrutiny it is presently under. It earned that scrutiny by engaging in political targeting and successfully covering up the evidence of that targeting.

Hat tip to TaxProf

Tue Feb 23 00:26:19 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Apple stands on principle

Apple Letter to Customers (as quoted by Joe)The U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.

Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.

The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.

I fully support Apple's refusal to cooperate here.

Part of the confusion here is that the iPhone and other smartphones are both computing devices and communication devices. A computer with an encrypted hard disk is

It doesn't help that the FBI in this case is facing the consequences of their own stupidity.

Tue Feb 23 00:26:11 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Clinton pledges to release speeches if everyone else does too

The Hill"Let everybody who’s ever given a speech to any private group under any circumstances release them,” Clinton said on ABC’s “This Week.” “We’ll all release them at the same time.”

“You know, I don’t mind being the subject in the Republican debates, the subject in the Democratic primary,” she added. “That kind of goes with the territory – I’ve been around long enough.”

“But sometimes, you know, these rules need to apply to everybody."

I think this is, frankly, a desperation move. Hillary is trying to avoid releasing those transcripts by pointing at the Republicans running and demanding they also release them. But the Republicans won't -- because why help Hillary, especially if any of them have any skeletons in their Wall Street speech closets, and with so many in the field, surely someone does. So the Republicans not releasing their speeches becomes her excuse for not releasing her own. But she really needs to resolve the speech question to beat Bernie, who appears at first glance to be a true believer.

I don't think she can sell that excuse to her party's base. Not when there's a hotly contested primary. She could have pointed the finger at Bernie personally and asked him to release his speeches, but Bernie might actually be able to do that without a lot of embarrassing self-inflicted wounds.

Mon Feb 22 12:53:03 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Another 550 Clinton emails to be released over the weekend

The HillThe State Department will release 550 emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server this weekend after pressure from a federal judge who earlier this week appeared visibly annoyed at its delayed efforts.

In a court filing late Wednesday night, State Department official Eric Stein told the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that department staffers have made “significant progress” on preparing the emails for release.

It's amazing how emails with the potential to embarrass former Secretary of State Hillary, current Secretary of State Kerry, and President Obama himself are being continually delayed even in the face of a judge's fury.

Mon Feb 22 11:53:06 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

It's not just lower wages

Gateway PunditCarrier Air Conditioner announces they are going to move 1,400 jobs to Mexico from Indianapolis due to government regulations, outrageous union demands and competitiveness.

Note that the decision to move was driven by multiple factors:
1) Taxes
2) Regulations and the cost of compliance
3) Union demands (presumably wages and benefits)

Stupid environmental regulations have a huge economic cost. So do union demands. So do taxes. All of those things add up to make the US an uncompetitive place to do manufacturing work. That's been going on for a lot longer than just under Obama, and it won't be fixed just by imposing tariffs on foreign goods. We need to cut the double-taxation of foreign profits by US companies, allowing those companies to invest in their US operations. We need to cut corporate taxes, which are currently the highest in the civilized world even ignoring the double-taxation element. We need to identify which regulations are actually necessary and eliminate those which are not. And we need to break the grip of the unions, allowing our factory workers to make their own choices between working at competitive wages or not working at all.

To the extent that tariffs play a role in this strategy, it must be based on rational concerns rather than economic protectionism. If China can manufacture a given product more cheaply than in the US because their workers will accept a lower wage, that is one thing. If they are achieving cheaper goods by ignoring environmental considerations or, to pick an example, shipping us poisonous pet food, we can and should respond to that.

Mon Feb 22 11:43:17 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

States now allowed to verify citizenship prior to voter registration

Judicial WatchRecognizing that voter identification is not sufficient, the government agency created by Congress to oversee the administration of elections has quietly reversed itself to allow states to verify U.S. citizenship before permitting voters to register.

This could be a big deal, if enforced.

Mon Feb 22 10:43:17 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Why the Flint water problems can't be blamed on the free market

ReasonPrivate companies had as much to do with Flint’s lead poisoning as Adam Smith had to do with the bread lines in the former Soviet Union. In fact, as I have noted before, Flint was a government-made disaster from top to bottom. Private companies didn’t run the system or profit from it. Government officials switched Flint from the Detroit Water and Sewage Department (a government-owned-and-operated system) to the more—not less—expensive Karegnondi Water Authority (another government-owned-and-operated system). Why? Because it would create union jobs and boost the local economy. This wasn’t an austerity cost-cutting effort but a stimulus move, as I noted previously.

Just in case you were curious what really happened, rather than what the media is twisting to try to blame the closest Republican.

Mon Feb 22 09:43:17 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Twitter to selectively censor tweets

BreitbartLast week, a report from BuzzFeed claimed that Twitter was about to implement an algorithmic news feed, a departure from the chronologically-ordered tweets which users have grown accustomed to, and by which the platform is defined.

For conservatives, this is bad news. If our feeds are ordered by algorithm, this effectively means that Twitter, rather than users, decides which tweets should be seen. Tweets that the algorithm decides are “uninteresting” to users might not be seen at all. Needless to say, I am already receiving DMs from fans claiming that my tweets are not showing up in their feeds.

The accusation that this is about political control is not baseless: it comes with real evidence. Read the whole thing.

Sun Feb 21 12:25:59 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The tangled Clinton web

PJMediaLast autumn, according to the Washington Post, the State Department’s inspector general (IG) issued subpoenas to the Clinton Foundation. The IG’s office has authority to investigate wrongdoing at the Department, including criminal wrongdoing. Its conclusions may be referred to the Justice Department for possible prosecution, and may also result in other forms of disciplinary action against government officials found to have committed misconduct. The subpoenas served on the Clinton Foundation reportedly focused on two areas of inquiry: (a) Clinton Foundation projects that may have required federal government approval during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state; and (b) Clinton Foundation records pertaining to the employment of Huma Abedin.

The Clintons have dug a very deep hole for themselves. And, ironically, their efforts to cover up their corruption may end up being the mechanism for exposing it.

Sun Feb 21 11:25:59 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

New York police freak out after finding a gun owner living peacefully at home

New York PostIn total, he was caught with ​14 licensed handguns​; two loaded, licensed shotguns​; one licensed rifle​; approximately 45,000 rounds of ammunition for a variety of weapons​; 225 pounds of smokeless gun powder stored in various containers and open to view​;​ unassembled parts for an AR-10 and AR-15 assault rifles, three high-capacity magazines — one fully loaded with 20 rounds and each capable of holding in excess of ten rounds of .308 caliber ammunition — two Kevlar body armor vests, six Kevlar armor plates, one ammunition press, numerous primers, empty cartridges, and several other devices and components related to weapons ammunition.

So in all of that "arsenal", what was actually illegal? Three normal capacity magazines which New York has retroactively declared illegal to possess under the "SAFE" act. The rest appears to be not only legal but licensed under New York law. There may be fire code issues with the quantity of gunpowder and ammunition, but that's about it other than the magazines.

How did they find the "arsenal" that was so alarmingly located "near a school"?

New York PostPolice were able to stumble upon the stockpile after officers conducted an administrative pistol licensee review at Shou’s apartment on Monday, prosecutors said.

A warrantless search of the man's home based on the fact that his firearms were legally licensed.

Sun Feb 21 10:25:59 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Lawsuit filed over Knoxville firearms ban

Knox NewsA lawsuit backed by the Tennessee Firearms Association was filed Thursday against the city of Knoxville in Knox County Chancery Court over the banning of guns from Chilhowee Park during the Tennessee Valley Fair last year.

The city declared guns would be banned from Chilhowee Park for the event, despite an opinion by the state attorney general that private events in public parks would not be exempt from state law allowing the carrying of handguns in parks. The city declared Chilhowee Park was not a park but a public entertainment venue.

People keeping trying to ban legally-carried firearms from public events and public spaces as if that makes those events and spaces safer. It doesn't. People intending to commit violence actually look for such spaces to attack.

Sun Feb 21 09:25:59 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Senate Republicans are starting to go wobbly

The HillSen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) broke with his Senate Republican colleagues this week over whether a potential Supreme Court pick that President Obama puts forth should get a confirmation hearing.

“If the president nominates someone, which is his choice, I think that person would deserve a hearing if that person is not someone that is just obviously nominated for political purposes,” Coats said in an interview this week with the Journal Gazette.

Senator Coats needs to hear from his constituents.

Sun Feb 21 09:08:56 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

South Carolina results

Trump seems to be set to win.

Rubio in second, with Cruz right on his heels (0.3% percent difference at this time).

Bush, Kasich, and Carson all at 7% and some change.

Bush is reportedly dropping out (finally!).

I've seen reports that Carson and Kasich are staying in, but I'm hoping that changes before the next set of primaries. If those two drop out, it frees up enough votes for either Rubio or Cruz to get on top of Trump. (I only favor ONE of those outcomes, but either one could end up on top depending where the voters go). I would expect most Bush votes to go to Rubio, and most Carson votes to go to Cruz... except that Carson and Trump's attacks may have damaged Cruz with Carson's voters, which would be unfortunate. God only knows where Kasich voters go; he's an establishment type of guy but I think he was occupying the "None of those guys on stage" vote since his name recognition was so low.

Sat Feb 20 22:13:10 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Thomas Sowell endorses Ted Cruz

Real Clear PoliticsIf the Republicans are to avoid having Donald Trump lead them -- and the country -- to disaster, they are going to have to have the majority of non-Trump supporters get behind some given candidate.

Senator Ted Cruz has been criticized in this column before, and will undoubtedly be criticized here again. But we can only make our choices among those actually available, and Senator Cruz is the one who comes to mind when depth and steadfastness come to mind.

As someone who once clerked for a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, he will know how important choosing Justice Scalia's replacement will be. And he has the intellect to understand much more.

Read the whole thing.

I continue to believe that Ted Cruz is the only candidate for serious people. He's not the only serious candidate, mind you: Trump is serious by virtue of his polls if not his behavior on a debate stage, Rubio is serious if you believe in political skills rather than issues. But if you want deep thinking, careful consideration, respect for the law and the Constitution, and the right answers rather than the popular ones, Cruz is the candidate for you.

Hat tip to The Smallest Minority

Sat Feb 20 17:55:09 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Ted Cruz has all the right enemies

Bob Dole ran for President against Bill Clinton when all of Clinton's scandals were coming out... and still lost. Bob Dole is so pathetic he was reduced to pitching viagra on TV. So when Bob Dole tells me that he doesn't like Ted Cruz, I think that Ted Cruz has all the right enemies.

Sat Feb 20 13:20:59 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Cruz Ad

Sat Feb 20 12:58:11 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Federal legislation to stop state infringements on encryption

WiredOver the last several months, local legislators have embarked on a curious quest to ban encryption at a state level. For a litany of reasons, this makes no sense. And now, a new bill in Congress will attempt to stop the inanity before it becomes a trend.

California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the “Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,” which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.

I'd feel a lot more comfortable with this if efforts to restrict encryption at the federal level weren't around too.

Sat Feb 20 12:54:39 CST 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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