Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Obama Administration’s Race-Baiting Campaign

National Review Online ^ | July 20, 2013 | Andrew C. McCarthy

Democrats want 2014 to be an us-versus-them election.

The first thing to remember is that, with the Obama administration, there are no coincidences.

The attorney general of the United States is engaged in a shocking extrajudicial publicity campaign. Eric Holder is prosecuting George Zimmerman in the court of public opinion because he knows he wouldn’t have a prayer of convicting him in a court of law. Worse, in doing so, Holder is quite deliberately stoking resentment and tension — under the guise of leading a “national conversation” about race.

At precisely the same time, the United States secretary of health and human services has loathsomely injected race into the debate over Obamacare. Toward the conclusion of this week’s NAACP grievance fest, Kathleen Sebelius took the podium to demagogue Obamacare opponents. The fight against them, she inveighed, is reminiscent of “the fight against lynching and the fight for desegregation.” She made these inflammatory remarks just as violence was erupting over Zimmerman’s acquittal in the Trayvon Martin shooting, no small thanks to Holder’s accomplice, Al Sharpton.

These episodes are not unrelated. They are coordinated.

The second thing to bear in mind is that race-baiting is the last resort of scoundrels whose insipid policy claims cannot survive collision with real-world conditions. The incitements that transform policy debates into an us-versus-them rumble are not about race per se. They are about advancing a hard-left agenda through the community organizer’s crude bag of tricks — the extortion that Alinskyites euphemistically call “direct action.” It is what happens when social-justice prescriptions turn out to be unjust and unworkable.

Sebelius is not agitating because she actually believes there is some faint connection between Jim Crow and opposition to socialized medicine. Sensing that no one was looking as the country kicked back for an extended Independence Day weekend, the president’s Myrmidons conceded that Obamacare is collapsing of its own fiscally reckless weight. Alinskyites are about power. Obama realizes he won’t have much left if Democrats are yoked to a smoldering train wreck in advance of the 2014 midterms. So he is struggling to keep it a looming train wreck. A third-string Treasury bureaucrat was thus dispatched to announce, in passing, that Obama has “waived” the employer mandate until 2015.

Quite apart from the lawless imperiousness of this maneuver, it is not going to work. Not being well acquainted with the private sector, the president may not realize that, for corporate executives, planning ahead means more than scheduling the next tee time. As National Review’s editors have observed, Obamacare has already “complicated business decisions touching on everything from long-term investments to hiring to the number of hours worked by part-time employees.” It is, right now, a ball and chain around the ankle of a high-unemployment, no-growth economy.

Even if Obama gets his way — such that only the employer mandate is delayed, with Republicans unable to shame Senate Democrats into putting off the equally noxious individual mandate — the calendar is not in his favor. The administration cannot allow 2014 to be an election about policy. It has to be an us-versus-them election, with the “us” enjoying the “animated by rage” advantage. What we saw from Holder and Sebelius this week is the ugly start of a wickedly divisive enterprise.

The rule of law demands that criminal statutes be applied faithfully and that law-enforcement officials respect due process by conducting their investigations in silence, speaking publicly only when they are prepared to file charges they can prove in court. Yet Holder and his Department of Social Justice have publicly and unethically agitated against George Zimmerman for over a year: partnering with Sharpton, saber-rattling about a federal civil-rights prosecution, and browbeating Florida officials into charging Zimmerman with murder despite evidence woefully insufficient to meet the statute’s terms.

Now, Holder is ensnared in this web of his own making. The state prosecution predictably failed, and it turns out there has never been a plausible civil-rights prosecution. Holder can commission all the bizarre anti-Zimmerman “tip lines” he likes; it won’t fill the cavernous holes in his case.

Obviously, he knows this. But he has also dramatically raised the expectations of Obama’s hard-left base — and note that the anti-Zimmerman protests are being driven at least as much by Occupy types and outfits such as the Party for Socialism and Liberation as by anguished supporters of the Martin family. After all the attorney general’s bold talk, they want to know where the civil-rights indictment is. Holder’s stall is that he is “investigating,” but Trayvon Martin was killed nearly a year and a half ago. How long does it take to investigate a comparatively straightforward altercation about which Florida has already completed a full-blown trial and the FBI has already conducted exhaustive interviews?

So in his NAACP stem-winder, Holder refocused the community organizer’s lens from civil-rights laws to “stand your ground” (SYG) laws.You are to believe that, while he’d love to charge that civil-rights case, he is being frustrated — justice is being frustrated — by these self-defense provisions that “sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods.” According to Holder, justice for Trayvon mandates that SYG be repealed. Effectively, the attorney general would surrender the streets to criminal aggressors by imposing a “duty to retreat” on law-abiding citizens.

SYG has become the proxy for the case the Left can’t win. The game is given away by Holder’s race-mongering echo chamber. Pressed by Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, radio commentator Tavis Smiley admitted that Zimmerman’s trial had been consistent with Florida law. But, he groused, “it’s the law I have a problem with.” Taking Holder’s bloviating to its illogical end, Smiley explained that Florida law gave Zimmerman a “right to stand his ground” but insidiously deprived Martin of this same right because our nation generally views black men “as a menace to society.”

Please. Martin did not just “stand his ground” when Zimmerman followed him; he initiated the fateful physical confrontation by attacking Zimmerman and brutally beating him. But the point is that Zimmerman’s right to stand his ground was utterly irrelevant to the case. Its newfangled pertinence is a fabrication of the Left. The Monday-morning quarterbacks now claim that SYG has seeped into all Florida law; thus, it was dispositive in the deliberations that led to Zimmerman’s acquittal.

In truth, Zimmerman did not claim the immunity of SYG because SYG matters only when there is an opportunity to retreat. If you are lying on the ground being pulverized, the fact that you’d have a right to stand your ground in the unlikely event you could get to your feet is beside the point.

The legacy media, which is joining the racialized campaign against SYG just as it joined the racialized campaign to charge Zimmerman, is quick to point out that a juror, in a CNN interview, mentioned SYG as a factor in the jury’s consideration. What they don’t tell you, though, is that it was the blunderbuss prosecutors, not Zimmerman’s lawyers, who injected SYG into the trial testimony.

Zimmerman did not ask for the pretrial hearing to which a person claiming SYG immunity is entitled. It was the prosecutors, in their desperation to come up with some modicum of evidence that Zimmerman intended to commit murder, who adduced testimony that he had taken a criminal-justice course that covered SYG laws. The suggestion, if you can follow this, was that maybe the shooting was sort of premeditated. (If you took addition in the first grade, you’d better not bounce a check in Florida — who knows what they’ll charge you with?)

Nevertheless, Zimmerman’s lawyers posited a classic self-defense strategy, under the standards that existed long before SYG was enacted in Florida. SYG had nothing to do with Trayvon Martin’s death.

Nothing more, that is, than opposition to Obamacare has to do with segregation. But logic won’t stop the bloody shirt of racial politics from being waved in dutiful pursuit of the Left’s dream world. It’s a world where you’d better hope everyone has “free” health care. With your right to self-defense stripped away, it won’t do you much good that the state’s police are nowhere in sight when you find yourself besieged . . . and with no better chance to retreat than George Zimmerman had.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute. He is the author, most recently, of Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.

Offensive Expectations

PJ Media ^ | July 20, 2013 | Tom Blumer

Five years into the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy, our government’s lowered expectations, eagerly embraced and endorsed by its media apparatchiks, are arguably more offensive, intolerable, and damaging than the failed government policies which have kept it in effect.
Those policies, best understood as the final proof of Keynesianism’s collapse, have begotten awful results. Supposedly designed to generate robust economic growth coming out of the recession, they have instead led to the weakest post-downturn growth since World War II, with trillions of dollars in collateral damage.
Three decades ago, during the first four years after the economy emerged from an awful recession while facing a far worse economic landscape — 13 percent inflation, 20 percent-plus prime interest rates, and almost 11 percent unemployment — the economy grew by over 21 percent in real terms. Assuming it ekes out the 1.7 percent annualized growth analysts predict during this year’s second quarter, the POR economy’s four-year post-recession growth will only be 8.5 percent. If the economy would have replicated its Reagan-era performance during the past four years, growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would have been 2-1/2 times greater. That breathtaking difference works out to over $6,000 per person in today’s dollars, or over $24,000 for a family of four:
This leads to a point which can’t be repeated enough: The recession as defined by Obama cheerleader Warren Buffett in 2010 still hasn’t ended. Buffett’s benchmark, which explains why the average American correctly feels that the recession is still here: “I think we’re in a recession until real per capita GDP gets back up to where it was before.”
If we’re lucky, real per capita GDP might get back to where it was in calendar 2007 this year. Under Reagan, per capita GDP fully recovered within one year of the recession’s end, and was 13 percent higher than its pre-recession peak by Year 4.
As demonstrated last week, the recession’s onset can be traced to early June 2008, the point at which it became clear that Barack Obama, armed with an “energy-starving, heavy-taxing, wealth-redistributing, business-hostile agenda,” would become the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee and that campaign’s favorite to win in November. Enough businesspeople, entrepreneurs, and investors to make a difference cancelled any plans they might have had for expansion and additional hiring, and in many cases scaled back their operations in an attempt to survive the coming storm.
Obama himself seriously worsened the recession’s severity during the 2008-2009 presidential transition by expressing solidarity — “they’re absolutely right” — with union workers who were philosophical predecessors of the Occupy movement after they staged an illegal sit-in at a bankrupt window factory in his Chicago hometown. As a result, two banks which shared no blame for the employees’ plight were intimidated into making $1.35 million in payments to make what should never have been their problem go away. An Investor’s Business Daily editorial correctly stated that Obama endorsed “criminal activity,” and summarized the impact of that move in nine blunt words: “To advocate offenses against society is to legitimize them.” Many more members of the business community who hadn’t figured out or focused on what this man was and would be all about now did so, and reacted accordingly. As night follows day, the U.S. economy had itsworst single-month job loss in history.
Once in office, Obama, with the help of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, oversaw the passage of an $800 billion-plus stimulus program which spectacularly failed by any reasonable definition.
Four years and $5 trillion in accumulated budget deficits, along with another $3.4 trillion in “money from nothing” purchases of government securities by the Federal Reserve, both of which are supposed to be stimulative, have failed to stimulate the kind of growth needed to take the unemployment rate back to regular and fully loaded levels of 5.1 percent and 9 percent or lower, respectively, both of which were present for 36 straight months during the George W. Bush administration.
Obama’s continued encouragement of lawbreakers who support his agenda since he took office has been an important negative influence. Two of many examples include his silence while AIG executives were harassed in 2009, and his 2011 endorsement of the Occupy movement. Even more crucial, Obama and his own administration have openly flouted the law when doing so advances their agenda on more occasions than one can even hope to count. The business community especially noticed how they ran roughshod over the common-law property rights of disfavored General Motors and Chrysler bondholders during their spring 2009 bankruptcies, and chose to make hourly UAW members whole while shafting Delphi’s salaried retirees. Paraphrasing IBD above, “Openly flouting the law delegitimizes it.” The best defense for most businesses, especially smaller ones, has been to lay low, move very selectively, and hope not to get noticed. Such completely rational postures have led to the slow-motion economy we are now experiencing, and definitely not enjoying. In such an atmosphere, even interest-free funding won’t motivate, while the Reagan era’s off-the-charts growth was achieved despite persistent double-digit interest rates.
Obama and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke are clearly okay with all of this. Bernanke has publicly stated that he is targeting a reduction of the current 7.6 percent unemployment rate to 7.0 percent by June 2014 and 6.5 percent by June 2015, as if that’s the best anyone can possibly do in the circumstances. The guess here is that we won’t even get that far by the identified deadlines. Every time Bernanke makes noise about “tapering” his stimulus, let alone stopping it or, heaven forbid, unwinding it, the stock market heads down, Ben gets cold feet, and nothing changes. Thus we have an artificially propped-up market which has increased the wealth of the top half of American households by over $4 trillion, while the heavily home value-dependent and debt-ridden bottom half has been devastated.
The Democratic Party and the establishment press would have correctly considered those unemployment rates unconscionable as policy goals until Obama came into office. Obama’s own economic team obviously also once thought so; they’re the ones who promised that the rate would be down to 5.1 percent by now if Congress would only pass his stimulus plan.
Obama, Bernanke, and their defenders would rather stick with the current malaise and its massive waste of human potential than change course and do what has historically quickly changed things for the better: lower and simplified taxes accompanied by regulatory restraint and predictability. The longer they remain stubborn, the better the chances are that we will become a two-decade zombie economy like Japan. It will not be pretty — at a macro or micro level.

Why The Left Wants Obamacare To Fail...WTF,over? ^ | July 20, 2013 | John C. Goodman

There is stirring on the left.

Now that the odds that ObamaCare will crash and burn have ticked up a notch or two, the words "single payer" are being heard more frequently.

[For those who have been living under a rock, "single payer" is what we used to call "national health insurance," and before that "socialized medicine" and before that "government-provided health care," by people who today call themselves "progressives" but used to call themselves "liberals" and before that "socialists" in some cases — all in the hope that continual re-labeling will make the ideas actually seem sensible.]

Take Dennis Kucinich. The other night on Fox News he announced that the Affordable Care Act was a bad idea from the get-go. "Everybody should be in Medicare," he said, and "We should get for profit companies out of health care." My problem with people on the left is that they are so obsessed with "public" rather than "private" and "non-profit" rather than "for-profit" that they become oblivious to basic facts, including these:

• Most government health care programs are mainly managed by private companies — for-profit companies more often than not.

• One in four Medicare enrollees is actually in a private insurance plan and almost all the rest of Medicare is being managed by private companies (Blue Cross, Cigna, etc.)

• 70 percent of Medicaid enrollees are in private plans — a number that is expected to grow — and I believe all the rest are mainly being managed by private companies.

More importantly, THERE IS NOT A SINGLE MAJOR PROBLEM IN OBAMACARE THAT WOULD BE SOLVED BY MOVING EVERYONE INTO MEDICARE. And any minor problems that might be improved by universal Medicare could have been easily solved by tweaks to ObamaCare as well.

Paying for the expansion. Sometime back,the NCPA calculated that we could pay for national health insurance with a 15% VAT tax. But if it were easy to impose such a tax the Democrats would have financed ObamaCare that way. Bottom line: the easiest way to fund universal Medicare is the same way we are funding ObamaCare. That means:

Individual mandate. For the very same reasons that ObamaCare made insurance mandatory, universal Medicare would also have to be compulsory. Otherwise, people would only join when they are sick. To make the budget balance, people would have to pay a premium that, on the average, equals the expected cost of their care. Just like ObamaCare, there would have to be subsidies for lower-income families. Since no one on the left believes in charging buyers a fair price for almost anything, the healthy would be over-charged and the sick would be under-charged. Incentives to game the system would be monumentally destructive without a mandate. Note: none of the problems with the individual mandate have gone away.

Employer mandate. For people at work, there would be enormous pressure to pretend that employers pay for fringe benefits rather than workers themselves. So employers would have to buy their employees into Medicare. That would raise the issue of exempting small business, exempting part-time workers, etc. Note: none of the problems of the employer mandate have gone away.

Cuts in Medicare Spending on the elderly and the disabled. Almost half the funding for ObamaCare comes from reduced spending on current Medicare beneficiaries. Since the money will still be needed, these cuts will not go away.

New taxes on everything from tanning salons to pacemakers to wheelchairs and crutches. Obviously, these are not going to go away.

Managed care. Doctors on the left hate managed care every bit as much as doctors on the right. The problem is that current third-party payment practices give everyone perverse incentives; and when they act on those incentives they make costs higher, quality lower and access to care more difficult than otherwise would have been the case. The Obama administration is experimenting with Accountable Care Organizations and other reforms to deal with this problem. Of course, nothing the administration is doing is working, but that doesn't change anything. Under universal Medicare, we can't change the rate of growth of health care spending unless we change the way providers are paid.

Actually there is one place where the Obama ideas for reform are working — though not in the way Washington bureaucrats have planned — in the Medicare Advantage plans. These plans are not going to go away under universal Medicare for the same reason they are not going away under ObamaCare.

The exchanges. If the truth be known, what the left hates the most about ObamaCare is the idea of competition. That's because of their fundamental dislike of the economic model of medical care delivery. I have been critical of the exchanges because they are managed competition rather than real competition and they create perverse incentives for everyone who participates. The left dislikes the exchanges because they dislike the idea of competition as such.

But for reasons given above, we have no alternative to the economic model if we want to control costs.

Medicare already has an exchange: it's how enrollees get into Medicare Advantage plans. And if employers get involved, it's almost certain people will want to enroll in their employer plans as an alternative to traditional Medicare.

Here's the upshot: In moving everyone into Medicare, we will not have solved a single problem of any importance that we started with in ObamaCare.

The Obama Administration's Race - Baiting Campaign

National Review ^ | July 20, 2013 | Andrew C. McCarthy

The first thing to remember is that, with the Obama administration, there are no coincidences.

The attorney general of the United States is engaged in a shocking extrajudicial publicity campaign. Eric Holder is prosecuting George Zimmerman in the court of public opinion because he knows he wouldn't have a prayer of convicting him in a court of law. Worse, in doing so, Holder is quite deliberately stoking resentment and tension - under the guise of leading a "national conversation" about race.
At precisely the same time, the United States secretary of health and human services has loathsomely injected race into the debate over Obamacare. Toward the conclusion of this week's NAACP grievance fest, Kathleen Sebelius took the podium to demagogue Obamacare opponents. The fight against them, she inveighed, is reminiscent of "the fight against lynching and the fight for desegregation." She made these inflammatory remarks just as violence was erupting over Zimmerman's acquittal in the Trayvon Martin shooting, no small thanks to Holder's accomplice, Al Sharpton.
These episodes are not unrelated. They are coordinated.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Now That Barack Obama Lectured Us on Trayvon Martin Will He Talk About Marley Lion?

Gateway ^ | July 19, 2013 | Jim Hoft

Marley Lion was killed in Charleston, South Carolina, at around 4 am on June 16, 2012. He was 17.
His life and death has been ignored by the national media. Marley was white. His killers were black.
Unlike Trayvon Martin, Marley Lion was shot in cold blood. There was no fight. He did not approach the thugs who murdered him.
Unfortunately, some deaths are more important than others.
Marley is a victim of black gang violence. Violent crime against white Americans was up 18% last year.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Should We Be Optimistic or Pessimistic about the Future of the Second Amendment? ^ | Daniel J. Mitchell

Fifty years from now (assuming we haven’t suffered a Greek-style fiscal collapse), will we still enjoy our constitutional freedom of private gun ownership?
Sometimes I’m pessimistic about what will happen because politically correct educators are brainwashing our kids. We’ve even gotten to the point where a deaf kid can’t use sign language if his fingers somehow resemble a gun! And if you think that’s bizarre, check out these other horror stories of anti-gun hysteria in government schools.
And even though there’s currently a majority on the Supreme Court in favor of the Second Amendment, it’s only a one-vote margin. That doesn’t give me much comfort, particularly since we’ve seen examples of Justices ignoring their oathwhen subjected to political pressure.
Moreover, it’s difficult to be optimistic when a local government imposes a $1,000 fine on a man who uses an unregistered gun (gasp!) to save a child’s life.
On the other hand, I’m somewhat optimistic because gun owners and defenders of the Constitution have done a remarkable job in expanding and extending our Second Amendment rights at the state level.
For instance, check out this map of concealed-carry laws in the United States. The first thing to notice is that every single state allows citizens to carry, with the only real difference being whether the law is “shall issue” or “may issue.”
Concealed Carry Laws of US
I’m a bit mystified, for what it’s worth, that Alabama has a relatively weak “may issue” law. Do they really want to be in the same anemic category as California?!?
Now let’s look at this map of stand-your-ground laws. The right of self-defense is not as ubiquitous as the right of concealed-carry, but the trend is very positive with more states moving from blue to red over time.
Stand your ground laws US
I’m puzzled why Nebraska and Missouri have weak New York-style laws, but I imagine those colors will change in a couple of years.
By the way, state legislatures are not the only place where we’re making progress. Thanks to scholars such as John Lott, it’s increasingly clear that social science research leans in favor of private gun ownership.
And I challenge anyone to defend gun control after reading this Larry Correia article.
But the biggest sign of progress may be that honest leftists are beginning to acknowledge the benefits of the Second Amendment. If you have squeamish friends and colleagues who favor gun control, show them this article from The Atlantic and this column from the New York Times.
I’m also encouraged by polling data that shows cops overwhelmingly reject the gun control agenda.
So what does all this mean? To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure. It does appear, however, that the political elite is moving in the wrong direction on the Second Amendment and the American people are moving in the right direction.
I don’t know what side will win, but it’s a safe bet that we’ll have some major political battles in the future.
P.S. If you enjoy anti-gun control humor, here are some amusing videos.
And you can find lots of additional anti-gun control humor at this link.
P.P.S. If you outlaw tanks, only outlaws will have tanks.
P.P.P.S. Feel free to add your vote to my poll on the most important reason to defend the Second Amendment.
P.P.P.P.S. Last but not least, here are some serious videos on the folly of gun control

‘Delusional’ Analysis of Bankrupt Detroit May Stun You (Gov't to small)

The Blaze ^ | 07/20/13 | Jason Howerton

On Friday, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry put forth a theory as to why Detroit inevitably went bankrupt — terminal lack of government.

We’ll do our best to explain.

While discussing Detroit’s downfall, Harris-Perry and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean agreed that “you’ve got to have a government to run the place.”
Harris-Perry noted Detroit’s declining population, and in turn its tax base. The population of the city has declined dramatically over the last 10 years.
Mediaite’s Noah Rothman, who calls the MSNBC host’s assessment “delusional,” provides some analysis and facts:
Harris-Perry presents this fact as though former Detroit residents left – estimated in 2011 at one resident every 22 minutes — on a whim without making a cost/benefit calculation as to whether to continue to reside in a city with one of the highest violent crime rates in the nation with a poverty rate of a staggering 40 percent.
Furthermore, since Detroit’s population has fallen below 750,000, it was not legally allowed to collect income taxes from its residents until Gov. Rick Snyder and the state’ legislature reduced that threshold to 600,000 two years ago. The city’s population hovers today around 700,000 residents.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Video: Honda presents the fastest lawnmower evah!


No, they’re not available for all your grasscutting needs. They’re just here to tease you.
Top speed: 133 mph and 0-60 in 4.0 seconds. Though it only seems to actually cut grass at 15 mph. I wonder how it does on gas; maybe it’s just Honda’s entrant into the Smart Car market, and this is their way of pitching it to rubes like me. Not a tiny Euro-car, but a super-fast lawnmower, Red America! Clever.
Honda, in conjunction with Top Gear magazine and racing outfit Team Dynamics, has built a high performance ride-on lawn mower capable of reaching speeds up to 130 mph.
And, yes, it can still cut the grass.
The so-called Mean Mower started out as a production Honda HF2620 Lawn Tractor before the team replaced its stock 20 hp motor with the 109 hp 1,000 cc V-twin from a Honda VTR1000 Firestorm sport bike along with its six-speed transmission and reengineered the suspension to handle a set of ATV wheels and tires.
A Scorpion exhaust system pumps up the volume to an ear-shattering 130 decibels, compared to about 106 db for a typical mower, while a Cobra racing seat was fitted to keep up with the bump in performance, now good enough to accelerate the grass assassin to 60 mph in four seconds.
It’s a joint project of Honda, Top Gear, and a British racing team, which means you get to see The Stig drive it:

This solar eruption video will straight up melt your face it's so awesome! ^ | 7 June 2012 | Robert T. Gonzalez

Damn. We've seen us some solar eruption videos in our day, but this here's a sight to behold.

We've got some incredible photo and video for you here, so pay attention — you don't want to miss any of this.

Up top you'll find some downright gorgeous footage of a coronal mass ejection (a roiling whip of plasma, hurled from an active region on the Sun). It was shot by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory during an intense solar storm on August 31.

Down below we've featured a series of still images from the explosion, and first up is one that should help you put the size of this eruption into perspective.

This "long filament of solar material," as NASA calls it, was spotted tearing away from the Sun at upwards of 900 miles per second. Yes, per second; this CME, as is typical of super-hot plasma filaments that are flung from the sun, was hauling serious ass. It was also freaking enormous — plenty big enough to wrap itself around the Earth a few times — not to mention a few other planets — and still have some plasma left over:

Cruz says Obama going after guns with 'stand your ground' remark

CNN ^ | July 19, 2013 | CNN Political unit

President Barack Obama's suggestion that state "Stand your Ground" laws should be examined after the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin could amount to an assault on the right of Americans to own guns, Sen. Ted Cruz said in Iowa Friday.

"It is not surprising that the president uses, it seems, every opportunity that he can to go after our Second Amendment right to bear arms," the Texas Republican said. "This president and this administration has a consistent disregard for the Bill of Rights."
In his speech, Obama called for reconsideration of "Stand your Ground":\ self-defense laws in Florida and other states.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Senate immigration bill includes nearly $300 million in slush funds for immigrants' rights groups

Daily Mail on line ^ | 7/19/13 | David Martosko

A former senior policy analyst at the National Council of La Raza supervised the drafting of a U.S. Senate bill, passed on June 27, that would give an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants a path to citizenship if the House of Representatives goes along. And La Raza figures to enlarge its budget significantly, thanks to slush funds buried deep in the legislation.

A bombshell report published Thursday by Investor's Business Daily shows that the immigration reform bill would set aside hundreds of millions of dollars for La Raza and other liberal immigrants' rights groups, which the federal government would contract to assist future U.S. citizens with applications and offer them legal advice.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Self-Defense Immunity Laws: Which States Protect You Best?

Legal Insurrection ^ | July 19, 2013 | Andrew Branca

(Note: This post has been updated to more accurately reflect the state of self-defense in immunity law in Ohio, which does not appear limited to acts of self-defense around one’s home as previously reported. Thanks to Peter Bossley for the insight–your complimentary copy of “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition” goes in the mail tomorrow, Peter.)

Now that the Zimmerman criminal trial has concluded, much attention has focused on the prospects for Zimmerman seeking protection under Florida’s self-defense immunity statute from any possible civil action against him.

Florida’s statute 776.032, is among the broader self-defense immunity statutes, in that it possesses all four qualities of an optimal statute of this type.
First, it is not limited to particular settings or circumstances (e.g., such as to self-defense encounters in and around one’s home).
Second, it prohibits even the arrest of the person who acted in self-defense, in the absence of probable cause for such arrest.
Third, it immunizes against criminal as well as civil liability.
And, fourth, it provides for the defendant who successfully obtains immunity to recover all reasonable legal expenses (and, in the case of Florida, even compensation for lost income) from the plaintiff.
Fully 29 states provide some degree of limitation of liability for the individual who has genuinely acted in self-defense..........
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Judge orders Detroit bankruptcy to be withdrawn, claims it’s ‘not honoring the president’

The Daily Caller ^ | 4:55 PM 07/19/2013 | Katie McHugh

MUG SHOT of a criminal.

Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemary Aquillina ordered on Friday that Detroit’s bankruptcy be withdrawn, citing a concern that government employees’ pensions would be endangered by federal bankruptcy proceedings, The Detroit News reports.
“It’s cheating, sir, and it’s cheating good people who work,” the judge told assistant Attorney General Brian Devlin on Friday, adding that she will ensure that President Barack Obama gets a copy of her order. “It’s also not honoring the president, who took [Detroit’s auto companies] out of bankruptcy.”

At the same time, Aquillina voiced her confidence that Obama would ensure that pension guarantees were protected and honored.

“I know he’s watching,” she said.

In 2008, the Bush administration began and the Obama administration continued a bailout of the auto industry in the Midwest, including Detroit, that cost taxpayers nearly $85 billion, although only $44 billion had been approved for the project.

Detroit filed the largest bankruptcy case in U.S. history on Thursday after declaring an emergency March 1. Retiree pensions could face significant cuts — since they compromise approximately $9.2 billion of the city’s $11.5 billion in unsecured claims.

Although defined-benefit pensions have all but vanished in private sector employment, they continue to pile up for government employees. Nationwide, state and local governments have built up nearly $3 trillion in unfunded pension liabilities, a figure that continues to grow.

The Downfall of Detroit

National Review Online ^ | July 19, 2013 | Mark Steyn

It took only six decades of “progressive” policies to bring a great city to its knees.

By the time Detroit declared bankruptcy, Americans were so inured to the throbbing dirge of Motown’s Greatest Hits — 40 percent of its streetlamps don’t work; 210 of its 317 public parks have been permanently closed; it takes an hour for police to respond to a 9-1-1 call; only a third of its ambulances are driveable; one-third of the city has been abandoned; the local realtor offers houses on sale for a buck and still finds no takers; etc., etc. — Americans were so inured that the formal confirmation of a great city’s downfall was greeted with little more than a fatalistic shrug.
But it shouldn’t be. To achieve this level of devastation, you usually have to be invaded by a foreign power. In the War of 1812, when Detroit was taken by a remarkably small number of British troops without a shot being fired, Michigan’s Governor Hull was said to have been panicked into surrender after drinking heavily. Two centuries later, after an almighty 50-year bender, the city surrendered to itself. The tunnel from Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit, Michigan, is now a border between the First World and the Third World — or, if you prefer, the developed world and the post-developed world. To any American time-transported from the mid 20th century, the city’s implosion would be literally incredible: Were he to compare photographs of today’s Hiroshima with today’s Detroit, he would assume Japan won the Second World War after nuking Michigan. Detroit was the industrial powerhouse of America, the “arsenal of democracy,” and in 1960 the city with the highest per capita income in the land. Half a century on, Detroit’s population has fallen by two-thirds, and in terms of...
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Study finds fracking chemicals didn't pollute water!

Associated Press ^ | July 19, 2013, 5:41 AM

A landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, shows no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process moved up to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a western Pennsylvania drilling site, the Department of Energy told The Associated Press.

After a year of monitoring, the researchers found that the chemical-laced fluids used to free gas trapped deep below the surface stayed thousands of feet below the shallower areas that supply drinking water, geologist Richard Hammack said...

The DOE team will start to publish full results of the tests over the next few months, said Hammack, who called the large amount of field data from the study "the real deal."

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Rand Paul: Obama will bail out Detroit 'over my dead body'! ^ | 7 19 2013 | Matthew Boyle

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said he will use every resource he has at his disposal to stop President Barack Obama from bailing out newly-bankrupt Detroit because he believes the city can and must save itself and learn from its fiscal mistakes. "I basically say he [Obama] is bailing them out over my dead body because we don’t have any money in Washington.”
“There’s some good things that come out of bankruptcy,” Paul said in a phone interview from Iowa. “One is you get to start over. Bankruptcy lets you be forgiven of your debt. And you do so by getting new management, better management, and by getting rid of unwieldy contracts, contracts that give you where public employees are getting paid twice what private employees are and things come back more to normal. That’s the way cities and businesses can recover.
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Krauthammer: Obama's Trayvon Speech "Not Enlightening"--The Trial Was Not About Race ^ | July 19, 2013 | Greg Hengler

I appreciate Krauthammer shooting down Steve Hayes' attempt to praise Obama's White House Press Conference appearance on the George Zimmerman verdict. Sadly, I've heard too many conservatives give the thumbs up to The One's "heart-felt" and "genuine" speech. There are two reasons I don't like it and these two reasons were the thread running through his 17 minute speech: 1) He was an apologist for black victim hood. 2) He appealed to the sentiments of white guilt. That in itself disqualifies the speech from having any positive or redemptive aspects. When he tried to speak "positive" at the end, it was immediately nullified based on the first part of his speech--the 9 or so minutes of his NAACP-like talking points.
Krauthammer: Obama's Trayvon Speech "Not Enlightening"--The Trial Was Not About Race 

The Exploitation of Trayvon Martin ^ | July 20, 2013 | Bill O'Reilly

Although they may not realize it, some supporters of the dead teenager Trayvon Martin are actually exploiting him, using his death to advance their own personal agendas. That is very disturbing when you think about it.
After the acquittal of George Zimmerman, one loon out in San Francisco justified some mob-driven property damage, saying: "We have to grow a new society. A people society. Not one where Wells Fargo, the Federal Reserve, all these big banks. We need a whole new system!"
A protester in D.C. said: "We don't get democracy. We get capitalism. We get white supremacy."
And then there was race. Radical priest Michael Pfleger in Chicago told his congregation: "We are not in a post-racial area. In fact, racism has a second breath in America today and (with the verdict) it got new oxygen."
So, if you believe the fringe, the reason Zimmerman was found not guilty by a jury of six women is that they are racists who want big business to dominate the country.
Makes sense to me.
And then there are the grievance folks. Talk-radio host Tavis Smiley told ABC News that it is open season on black men in this country. According to Smiley, the Zimmerman verdict is "just another piece of evidence of the incontrovertible contempt that this nation often shows and displays for black men."
At the top, President Barack Obama used the verdict to call for stricter gun control measures. And Attorney General Eric Holder told the nation that Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law should be repealed. All of this was said in the name of a Florida teenager who died unnecessarily.
The truth is that cynical opportunists often use tragedies to their advantage. For me, the death of Martin and the subsequent prosecution of Zimmerman were lessons in confrontation, not anything else.
We live in a country where citizens must understand that intense personal interactions can lead to disaster. I can't tell you how many times I have wanted to confront somebody who was doing something wrong in my presence. But I simply can't. There are legions of sleazy lawyers lined up to attack the affluent in court. If you have money, these parasites will find a legal way to harm you. Just fighting nuisance suits can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
And then there are the unstable folks who will do you physical damage. Road rage, verbal assaults, threats -- you have to walk or drive away. It is far too risky to confront the perpetrator and "work it out."
Of course, sometimes you must stand your ground -- but not often. Zimmerman was told by a 9-1-1 operator to stay in his car. He did not. Disaster followed. It didn't have to happen.
Exploiters of the Martin case should be ashamed. For everyone else, there is one huge lesson: Avoid confrontation if you possibly can. No good can come of it.

Your Dreams Not Included ^ | July 20, 2013 | John Ransom

Over the last several weeks we have heard Congress caterwauling, stonewalling, stalling and wailing about so called "bank reform".

So, cover your eyes and get the kids of out the room because this is about to become bi-partisan.*

Here it is: According to both parties- I know you'll find this hard to believe- banks apparently aren't reformed enough.

Yes, the problem that Barney-Frank and Chris-Dodd supposedly fixed with huge Democrat majorities from 2000-Obama to 2000-O'Tea Party, apparently isn't fixed, both Democrats and Republicans agree.

For example, the other day we heard Barney-Frank both defend and condemn the Dodd-Frank banking reform law, a measure that he co-authored with now ex-senator Chris-Dodd. Dodd, in what's completely congressionally coincidental, left the Senate after it was revealed that he took an insider loan from one of the worst banks. At the same time we also heard Barney-Frank both defend and condemn Glass-Stegall, the banking regulation repealed in 1998, the repeal of which many feel was responsible for the bank crisis in 2008.*

There is a move afoot to bring Glass-Stegall back, but Barney-Frank wants you to know that he is against re instituting it, even though he was also against repealing it.

And he's right about not bringing back Glass-Stegall, but he's right for the wrong reasons.

Glass-Stegall prevented banks from being in more risky types of financial operations like securities sales and trading, true. But lifting those restrictions on banks was not the primary reason for the repeal of Glass-Stegall. Nor was it responsible for the banking meltdown in 2008.

There's a much simpler explanation than that.

One of the provisions of Glass-Stegall was that it only allowed banks to operate in contiguous states. So, for example, if you were a bank that was headquartered in Chicago, you could only do traditional banking business in states that bordered Illinois. That kept banks local and homey and small.

Then in the mid 1990s, after the implosion of the Soviet Union, countries in Europe, like a unified Germany, started buying up banks and brokerages around the world.

It became apparent to Wall Street watchers in the mid '90s that soon international banks would dwarf U.S. banks while offering a wider array of services unless some changes were made to banking regulations here at home.*

Hence the repeal of Glass-Stegall. The repeal allowed U.S. banks to compete globally on an even playing field, offering competitive services and competitive size, which created a kind of banking supercenter where all consumer and investor needs could be filled.*
While it's easy to say that this set the stage for mortgage contagion that spread from 2006 and finally culminated in the crash of 2008, it would also be wrong.

People wrongly blame the rise of the banking supercenter, when in reality it was the subversion of the banking supercenter that was responsible.

Because hidden inside all the banking reform that politicians crafted was a motive that was really the idea behind the idea for bank reform.*

Banking supercenters were kind of a perverse proving ground for Obamacare.
This is how: The theory behind the fiction of Obamacare is that if you spread the costs- that is risks- over the largest pool of people- in this case every American- everyone can afford to get healthcare goodies. Some pay more, some pay less, some pay none, but everyone is included.*

And that's the same fiction that drove federal policy on banks: Every man could own his castle, so to speak. That meant making easy credit available to anyone who wanted to buy a home, a car, or go surfing in their retirement.

Or, more importantly, fuel deficit spending.

Only $50 down, $50 a month, for 50 years.

In return, banks were very eager to to help politicians with this scheme. After all, it amounted to more sales for banks, and hey, everyone was doing it and it was backed by the federal government. So banks came up with a mathematical formula that theoretically allowed them to spread the risks around- that is the costs- to a larger group of people, just as the government suggested. And in case that math didn't work, well, then the federal government with a wink and a nod let them know that they'd spread the risk to all Americans to keep the system afloat in any event.*

Which is exactly what happened in the event.

The math didn't work. What was supposed to be perpetual money motion ground to a halt through 2000-n-Bush.

"This over extension by banks caused an unnatural disequilibrium in the money markets that initially caused a boom then a bust.  Booms are sure signs of impeding busts when fueled by lose easy credit."

If that sounds familiar, it's because it's all too familiar. But not for the right reason.
The quote above isn't about the crisis that started in 2008, it's about the Great Depression that started with a market crash in 1929.

It wasn't big banks in either 1929 or '08 that killed the economy, but Big Credit.

And it's time we gave it credit where credit is due.

That credit properly belongs to the only institution left that believes in Big Credit.
While corporate America cleans up its balance sheet and American families avoid debt, it's the Go-Go Century for government debt.

And that reform they talk about in D.C. isn't about bank size or risky trades; it's about keeping the money flowing with one purpose in mind: easy credit for government.
And, incidentally, sometimes you.*

*Your dreams not included.