Archive for the ‘Regulation’ Category

Gun News Roundup for January 15, 2019

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

Been a while since I did one of these, so let’s have at it:

  • The Trump Administration’s bump-stock ban is a legal abomination:

    The new rule represents the most sweeping federal gun control effort since the so-called assault weapons ban, which was passed in 1994 and expired in 2003. Even the Obama administration, which was overtly hostile to Second Amendment rights, rejected the logic of Trump’s bump stock ban.

    As a matter of both law and physics, the Trump administration’s gun control rule banning bump stocks is an abomination. The Department of Justice (DOJ), which formally issued the rule, not only ignores underlying federal statutes that precisely define what constitutes a fully automatic “machine gun,” it also ignores the mechanics of how guns are fired and how bump stocks increase the rate of fire. Even worse, the faulty logic of the new gun control rule could eventually be used as a basis for a presidential administration unilaterally banning and confiscating all semi-automatic weapons.

  • Another concern about the bump stock ban: It doesn’t just ban them, it make those already legally purchased before the ban illegal to own:

    “A current possessor may destroy the device or abandon it at the nearest ATF office, but no compensation will be provided for the device. Any method of destruction must render the device incapable of being readily restored to its intended function.”

    Get caught in violation and prepare to have your life destroyed through arrest, prosecution, incarceration and a lifetime ban on owning guns. All brought to you by a “pro-gun” president taking his lead from NRA’s plea to regulate instead of legislate.

    This is, to my mind, an unconstitutional taking under the Fifth Amendment, and if allowed to stand, would pave the way for future gun confiscations via regulatory mandate.

  • Borepatch makes his position clear: “Gun control is unconstitutional. All of it. ALL OF IT.” Further: “I would roll it all back past the 1934 Gun Control Act. No lists. No watchdogs. No limits on design or rate of fire.”
  • Speaking of unconstitutional, “red flag laws” are bullshit.”
  • Just in case it was unclear, Democrats really do want to ban all modern sporting rifles. (Hat tip: Say Uncle.)
  • City of Austin: Don’t think you can bring your foolish “gun rights” here. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton: Here, have a lawsuit:

    Austin could face punishment for infringing on the citizen’s rights: state law allows for a $1,500 daily fine for blocking licensed citizens from entering city hall with their permitted handguns. According to Paxton’s press release, the city has been barring the resident for more than 500 days, and the attorney general’s team asked the court to impose a total fine of over $750,000.

  • Borepatch on the Failure of the War on Drugs

    Saturday, January 5th, 2019

    Borepatch and co-blogger ASM826 have been trading off talking about the massive pile of failure that is the War on Drugs.

    Start with Borepatch’s piece on the similarities between gun control and the war on drugs:

    Let me take a stab at providing answers to these questions from the “we should declare victory in the War on Drugs and go home” perspective. The proposal is that most or perhaps all drugs be decriminalized, offered for sale, and taxed.

    Rule #1. Can the person proposing the law state what they think the law will accomplish? This is intended to accomplish five specific things:

    1. Remove the perceived need to militarization of the police forces, no-knock raids, asset forfeiture, controls on how much you can deposit at your bank, etc. It’s caustic for the Republic and it costs us a lot of money. It’s an anti-tyranny goal.
    2. Improve the purity of the drugs on the market which will reduce overdose deaths. Food and Drug purity laws would apply and so the heroin that Joe Junkie buys at the local Alcohol Beverage and Drug Emporium wouldn’t be the equivalent of bathtub gin. His gin isn’t adulterated (like it was during the Prohibition days) and his smack shouldn’t be either.
    3. Lower the price of drugs, by eliminating the risk premium that must exist to cover expected loss from seizure, arrest, etc.
    4. Eliminate the massive profits that are flowing to drug cartels, which fund a bunch (admittedly not all) of the violence associated with illegal drug use.
    5. Generate a tax revenue stream that can be targeted towards providing detox centers for drug users who want to fight their addiction.

    Laws about theft, driving under the influence, etc would fully apply to junkies who commit these crimes, just as they do today. Peter, Aesop, and Bill are entirely correct that today these are not “victimless” crimes.

    Rule #2. Can the person proposing the law state how likely the law is to accomplish the goal from Rule #1? Let’s break these down by the five points above.

    1. No doubt some agencies will resist this – police unions, prison guard unions, the DEA, etc will rightly see the reduction of public funding as a threat to them. However, this is more of a hinderance to getting decriminalization passed in Congress than in implementation. In any case, I don’t see any fundamental disagreement between the two camps in this as a goal.
    2. This seems a no-brainer, as the illegal drug market is replaced by a legal one. It will be safer for both sellers and users, and legalization will probably attract big corporations who know how to mass produce pure products. I’m not sure you’ll see Superbowl advertisements for “The Champagne of heroin” but I don’t think you need to for success here.
    3. This seems like an absolute no-brainer. You are eliminating some very costly parts of the supply chain (machine guns, private armies, etc). Not sure how big this is but it sure isn’t zero.
    4. We saw this with the end of Prohibition. Today’s Al Capones are drug king pins.
    5. Tax money is notoriously fungible and is often diverted by politicians, but we see tax revenue streams from legal pot in places where it was legalized (e.g. Colorado).

    I endorse this line of thinking. I cannot, however, endorse Borepatch’s heinous use of two spaces after periods in the computer era…

    See also his bit on how the war on drugs has made things much worse for people in chronic pain.

    My own two cents (familiar to regular readers) is that federal drug prohibition is unconstitutional on Ninth and Tenth Amendment grounds, being neither necessary nor proper for the federal government to enforce, and thus should be left to the states. This is especially true of federal prohibition of growing marijuana for personal use, as only the warped, grossly expansive interpretation of the commerce clause endorsed in Wickard vs. Filburn would give the federal government standing to determine what can and can’t be grown on a person’s private property for their personal consumption. Elimination of federal prohibition would allow states to experiment with the right mix of policies for narcotics. Let Utah try total prohibition, Portland complete legalization and deregulation, Maryland decriminalization and drug treatment, and Pennsylvania state owned drug dispensaries, and see which aspects of which approaches work best. That’s what federalism and subsidiarity are for.

    Anyway, there’s a lot more over there, and a lot of links to all sides of the debate, that are worth pursuing.

    Why No New Housing Gets Built in San Francisco

    Saturday, December 29th, 2018

    A property owner spent nearly 5 years and $1.4 million trying to convert his laundromat into new housing in San Francisco’s Mission district, only to find that city’s far left political establishment hates letting new housing be built.

    And they wonder why San Francisco has a homeless problem…

    Federal Judge Rules ObamaCare Unconstitutional

    Saturday, December 15th, 2018

    The budget busting, premium-hiking monster that is ObamaCare may finally be slain:

    A judge ruled Friday evening that Obamacare is unconstitutional, putting the future of the federal healthcare law in jeopardy.

    The decision, issued by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in the Northern District of Texas — a George W. Bush appointee, is likely to face an appeal to the Fifth Circuit. Obamacare will remain in place pending appeal .

    The suit in the case, Texas v. Azar, was brought by 20 Republican state officials, who have asked that all of Obamacare be thrown out as a consequence of the new tax law, which zeroed out a penalty on the uninsured, known as the “individual mandate.” The officials argued that the penalty was central to making the rest of the law work, and that without it, the rest should crumble.

    O’Connor appeared to sympathize with this argument in his opinion. He explained that he believed Congress would not have enacted Obamacare in the first place, with its various rules and taxes, without the mandate, and that the regulatory framework was intended to work together.

    “Congress stated many times unequivocally — through enacted text signed by the president — that the individual mandate is ‘essential’ to the ACA,” he wrote of the Affordable Care Act, the formal name for Obamacare. “And this essentiality, the ACA’s text makes clear, means the mandate must work ‘together with the other provisions’ for the Act to function as intended.”

    O’Connor was talking about the Obama administration’s argument that the mandate could not be severed from the rest of the law in a 2012 Supreme Court case. In his opinion, he elaborated on the different ways that Obamacare had been challenged in court and in Congress.

    “It is like watching a slow game of Jenga, each party poking at a different provision to see if the ACA falls,” O’Connor wrote.

    The “death of a thousand cuts” approach undertaken by congressional Republicans and the Trump Administration may finally be bearing fruit. Remember that the central conceit that allowed the Supreme Court to find ObamaCare constitutional in National Federation of Independent Business vs. Sebelius was treating the individual mandate as a tax, and the individual mandate was repealed in 2017.

    Consider how radically the political environment has changed. Many of the baleful effects Republican foresaw for ObamaCare (spiraling premiums and declining choices) have come to pass. Also, in chasing their Russian collusion fantasy, the Democratic Media Complex has had precious little bandwidth to expend on extolling the supposed wonders of ObamaCare. Chief Justice John Roberts may well feel that he has a chance to undo a mistake in being the deciding vote in the originalSebelius decision now that the political pressure and scrutiny has lessened.

    Texas vs. Azar may deliver ObamaCare the mercy killing it so richly deserves.

    LinkSwarm for August 24, 2018

    Friday, August 24th, 2018

    I suspect people in the upper Midwest want summer to last as long as possible, but here in Texas, I admit to getting mighty tired of walking my dog at night when it’s still 90° and windless…

  • Thanks to a booming economy, millions fewer are on food stamps.
  • As those arguing for immigration restrictions from Muslim-majority countries have long argued, the majority of convicted rapist in Sweden are foreign born:

    About 58% of men convicted in Sweden of rape and attempted rape over the past five years were born abroad, according to data from Swedish national TV.

    Public broadcaster SVT said it had counted all court convictions to present a complete picture in Sweden.

    But Sweden had thousands more reported rapes, and there is no ethnic breakdown for those.

    Immigration and crime are major issues in Sweden’s general election campaign. The vote is on 9 September.

    The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats hope to make significant ground, although they have slipped to third place in the latest opinion poll.

    The Mission Investigation programme, due to be broadcast on Wednesday by SVT, said the total number of offenders over five years was 843. Of those, 197 were from the Middle East and North Africa, with 45 coming from Afghanistan.

  • A thorough examination of the Pennsylvania DA’s investigation into the Catholic Church’s child molestation scandal:
  • The report clearly shows a pattern of cover-up by the Church, even detailing the precise methods the archdioceses used to avoid prosecution. Of this, there can be no doubt that the scope of the abuse was known by the Church, and that it sometimes took extraordinary measures to bury evidence and deny facts.
  • Over 1,000 individual victims are identified, but the report acknowledges that many of them came forward only as news spread that the report was being compiled. The writers of the report are aware that public release of this report may result in thousands more victims coming forward. An interesting facet of mass-child-abuse cases is that many victims keep silent for decades assuming no one will believe them; however, when seeing that “Rev. Joe Smith” has been identified doing X, the victims often realize “Hey, he did that to me, too” and then realize they were not alone, and are now credible.
  • More interestingly, the report acknowledges the cooperation of the Church in its compilation. Even though the report lambasts current Church leaders, the report acknowledges the various archdioceses of Pennsylvania (with the exception of Philadelphia, which is still preparing information) were readily assisting with producing evidence: letters, memoranda, reports, and more were promptly turned over, and Church officials almost seem to be eager to get this information public. The report even stipulates that, for the first time, there is reason to be optimistic the Catholic Church is cleaning house at last.
  • (Hat tip: Borepatch.)

  • Most people don’t know the self defense laws of their own state. Sadly, “most people” frequently includes prosecutors. Says friend-of-the-blog firearms training expert Karl Rehn: “I think his comments are correct in that article.”
  • President Donald Trump’s bad court day in context:

    None of this would be happening, of course, but for Bob Mueller’s effort to drive President Trump from office on behalf of his de facto client, the Democratic Party. In a nauseating bit of hypocrisy, Deputy U.S. attorney Robert Khuzami said today that “The essence of what this case is about is justice, and that is an equal playing field for all persons in the eyes of the law….” Equal justice has nothing to do with this prosecution. Michael Cohen was targeted solely because he was Trump’s personal lawyer, and enforcement of campaign finance law is anything but equal. Just ask Dinesh D’Souza.

    As we and others have said many times, what is going on in the courts is mostly theater–unless, of course, you are Paul Manafort or Michael Cohen. President Trump can’t be indicted, so legal niceties are not very material. The Mueller Switch Project has three objectives: 1) furnish House Democrats (assuming they take the majority in November) with ammunition to impeach the President; 2) help the Democrats to win the midterm elections; and 3) make President Trump’s re-election less likely in 2020.

    Today’s legal developments unquestionably represent a step forward for the Democrats on all three fronts. But in principle, there is no reason why they should change the landscape. Manafort’s conviction has nothing to do with Trump. And no matter how Mueller may try to dress it up with talk about campaign finance–which voters don’t care about, anyway–the Cohen plea simply confirms what we already knew–that Trump tried to keep Stephanie Clifford quiet. That may be a big deal to Melania, I can’t speak for her. But I doubt that it is a big deal to a significant number of voters, and I doubt that tomorrow’s headlines will move the needle on the midterm election.

  • Purdue’s new engineering school dean is a social justice warrior. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Texas successful in getting District Court to overturn ObamaCare fee. Texas Attorney general Ken Paxton: “Obamacare is unconstitutional, plain and simple. We all know that the feds cannot tax the states, and we’re proud to return this illegally collected money to the people of Texas.”
  • This piece claims that had (for example) Ted Cruz won the nomination and beaten Hillary Clinton in 2016, the liberal overclass would be acting just as deranged toward him as it is toward Donald Trump.

    Bill [Kristol] and his fellow travelers such as Jennifer Rubin, David Frum, Max Boot, and George Will, among other NeverTrumps and their allies, are telling each other, and anyone who will listen, that Trump is not only far worse than the Democrats in Congress, but solely responsible for the combative state of American politics.

    Trump’s unexpected and overwhelming success as an amateur politician is a clear and present danger to the Professional Conservative Class, as he does not and will not listen to them. This cabal is used to being feted by the mainstream media as setting the tone for the conservative movement, which more often than not includes being obsequious toward the dominant movers and shakers in Washington: the Democrats and the media.

    Therefore, the radicalization and absolutism of the Democratic Party that have been evolving over the past two decades are subsumed by the greater threat of Donald Trump. To listen to the NeverTrump crowd, had he not won the presidency, the country would be far better off, civility would reign supreme, and Democrats and housebroken Republicans would hold hands as they cheerfully do the bidding of them who must be obeyed: the American Ruling Class.

    Snip.

    Ted Cruz represents an existential threat to the Democratic Party. He is Cuban-American and thus would be the first Hispanic nominated to run for president by either major party. The Democrats and the left view the 57 million Hispanic Americans and 38 million black Americans as the unquestioned property of Democratic Party, thus they are not allowed to wander off the plantation. Any threat to that hegemony must be met, and has been met, with unrestrained ferocity.

    Therefore, the foundational strategy the Democrats and Hillary Clinton decided to deploy against Cruz, if he won the nomination, was to portray him as an out-of-control and dangerous extremist – so vile and fanatical that his own party could not stomach him – thus an out-of-touch and faux Hispanic.

    To augment this strategy, Cruz would have been vilified as a virulent Islamophobe, an anti-immigration bigot, a Bible-toting intolerant Christian Evangelical, someone in favor of draconian spending cuts, and a toady of the far-right…and he was born in Canada.

    Further, as this same cabal went to great lengths and expense to produce and use a phony dossier regarding Donald Trump, it would be safe to assume that they would have done the same with Ted Cruz, particularly in light of a fictitious story about a number of alleged extramarital affairs planted in the National Enquirer in March of 2016. There would have been incessant leaks to the media that would have mirrored what they did to Trump.

    There is a certain amount of truth in this, but there is something about Trump, just like there was something about Sarah Palin, that needles our self-anointed overclass at a subconscious, visceral level. The idea that this obvious social inferior gnaws at them and makes them irrational in a way that I suspect a Ted Cruz presidency would not.

  • Nothing qualifies you to attend a DNC meeting, or run for president, like being the mouthpiece for a porn star. And really, is that actually the whole DNC meeting? It looks like a PTA meeting.
  • Facebook removes conservative posts as spam. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Singer claims he was anally raped by opera’s gay power couple.
  • Game studio allows social justice warrior customization…for a World War II game. Check out the comments. “Ever since I was a kid watching the likes of The Longest Day and Where Eagles Dare I’ve fantasized about raiding occupied Norway as an Asian transgender pirate.” (Ht tip: Borepatch.)
  • Sid Miller Messes With Texas BBQ

    Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

    What the hell, Sid Miller?

    On August 7, Michael Hernandez was fed up. That morning, the pitmaster glanced through the window as two inspectors from the Texas Department of Agriculture pulled up to his restaurant, Hays Co. Bar-B-Que, in San Marcos. It was about an hour before the business’s 11 a.m. opening time, and Hernandez was in a meeting. The inspectors walked in the unlocked front door to inspect the scales he uses to weigh his barbecue, he says. Hernandez cut his meeting short and found them in his kitchen. His temper flared. “Get out of my establishment,” he told them. According to Hernandez, the inspectors looked at each other, and then went back to their truck. He says they then returned with a written warning for Hernandez about delinquency on his renewal fee, and told him they were just the messengers. “Here’s my message: tell Sid that I ain’t paying a damn thing,” he said.

    Hernandez was referring to state agriculture commissioner Sid Miller, who has proven himself to be obsessed with the scales inside barbecue joints. The Texas Department of Agriculture had ramped up inspections on barbecue joint scales as part of Operation Maverick back in 2015, but they were removed from the department’s purview after the Barbecue Bill went into effect in September 2017—or so everyone outside of TDA thought. However, even after being repeatedly told the service is no longer required, Miller says his duty to protect the barbecue consumer won’t allow him let to go of barbecue scale enforcement.

    The problem comes down to two words: “on premises.” After the legislature two years ago overwhelming passed the Barbecue Bill, which was designed to exempt barbecue joints, yogurt shops, and other establishments weighing food for immediate consumption from inspection, Section 13.1002 was added to the Agriculture Code. It reads: “Notwithstanding any other law, a commercial weighing or measuring device that is exclusively used to weigh food sold for immediate consumption is exempt” from the need for registration fees and inspections from the TDA. Implementing that directive from the legislature was the responsibility of TDA, which left Section 13.1002 alone but added new definitions for “immediate consumption” elsewhere in the Agriculture Code. One definition reads that an exempted scale is “a scale exclusively used to weigh food sold for immediate consumption on premises.”

    In other words, the TDA was telling barbecue joint owners that if they sold any barbecue to go, they still had to pay their yearly registrations of $35 per scale and be subject to random inspections. The Texas Restaurant Association, which had supported the Barbecue Bill, cried foul, along with 45 Texas legislators who signed a letter to Miller urging him to change the new rule to align with the intent of the legislature. In response, Miller sought clarification on the rule’s wording from Texas’s attorney general, Ken Paxton. Miller received a response from Paxton in April:

    The language of the statute [as written by TDA] requires that the vendor sell food that a consumer can eat immediately, but it does not mandate where or when the purchaser will eat that food. Nor does it require that the seller provide a space for the consumer to eat. On the other hand, the Department’s rules require actual consumption of the food on the premises, placing additional conditions on the buyer and seller in order for a device to be exempt from Department regulation.

    In Paxton’s non-binding opinion, Miller’s interpretation was an overreach. Pitmasters, including Hernandez, were relieved. He admits he received a registration renewal letter for his scales from TDA a few months before the surprise inspection, but mistakenly thought that Paxton’s directive meant the issue was over. He was wrong.

    “Nothing has changed,” TDA spokesman Mark Loeffler wrote in late June in response to Paxton’s directive. “The Attorney General’s letter is non-binding but has been thoroughly reviewed. Our inspectors will continue to do the work they do every day to protect consumers as outlined in TDA rules.” Miller requested the letter from Paxton—and when it didn’t offer the opinion he hoped for, his department ignored it.

    I don’t vote for Republicans to increase taxes and regulation, especially in defiance of legislative intent.

    I’ve written Mr. Loeffler to see if anything has changed [Edited to add: See comments below], or if the Texas Department of Agriculture still requires barbecue joint owners to pay yearly registrations of $35 per scale and be subject to random inspections, despite the express wishes of the Texas legislature and the opinion of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

    Don’t mess with Texas BBQ joints…

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

    LinkSwarm for August 3, 2018

    Friday, August 3rd, 2018

    I’m hoping that this week is Peak Busy for me. Enjoy a Friday LinkSwarm:

  • Rasmussen: “Today’s [President Donald Trump] approval ratings among black voters: 29% This time last year: 15%.” Overall Trump approval rating at 50%.
  • Related: “President Donald Trump was lauded by inner-city pastors, including one who said he may go down as the ‘most pro-black president’ in recent history, during a White House roundtable on Wednesday that was focused on efforts to reform the prison system.” (Hat tip: Da Tech Guy via The Other McCain.)
  • ObamaCare is now optional:

    At long last, the Trump administration has created a “freedom option” for people suffering under Obamacare. A final rulemaking issued Wednesday reverses an Obama-era regulation that exposed the sick to medical underwriting. The new rule will expand consumer protections for the sick, cover up to two million uninsured people, reduce premiums for millions more, protect conscience rights, and make Obamacare’s costs more transparent. And unlike President Barack Obama’s implementation of his signature healthcare legislation, it works within the confines of the law.

    Federal law exempts “short-term, limited duration” health insurance from having to carry the unwanted coverage and hidden taxes Obamacare requires. Many consumers have understandably taken refuge from soaring Obamacare premiums in short-term plans.

    Hoping to force those consumers into Obamacare plans, the Obama administration sabotaged short-term plans by stripping them of crucial consumer protections. It cut the maximum plan term from 12 months to three months, and forbade issuers from offering “renewal guarantees” that allow the sick to continue purchasing short-term policies at healthy-person rates. State insurance regulators protested that these restrictions literally stripped sick patients of their coverage.

    Wednesday’s rule reinstates and even expands the consumer protections Obama curtailed. It allows short-term plans to last 12 months, and allows insurers to offer them with renewal guarantees.

    You read that right. Democrats curtailed consumer protections; Republicans are expanding them.

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

  • Yesterday’s controversy de jour: “Sarah Jeong: NY Times stands by racist tweets reporter.”
  • Andrew Sullivan on the same topic:

    Is the newest member of the New York Times editorial board, Sarah Jeong, a racist?

    From one perspective — that commonly held by people outside the confines of the political left — she obviously is. A series of tweets from 2013 to 2015 reveal a vicious hatred of an entire group of people based only on their skin color. If that sounds harsh, let’s review a few, shall we? “White men are bullshit,” is one. A succinct vent, at least. But notice she’s not in any way attacking specific white men for some particular failing, just all white men for, well, existing. Or this series of ruminations: “have you ever tried to figure out all the things that white people are allowed to do that aren’t cultural appropriation. there’s literally nothing. like skiing, maybe, and also golf. white people aren’t even allowed to have polo. did you know that. like don’t you just feel bad? why can’t we give white people a break. lacrosse isn’t for white people either. it must be so boring to be white.” Or this: “basically i’m just imagining waking up white every morning with a terrible existential dread that i have no culture.” I can’t say I’m offended by this — it’s even mildly amusing, if a little bonkers. (Has she read, say, any Shakespeare or Emily Dickinson?) But it does reveal a worldview in which white people — all of them — are cultural parasites and contemptibly dull.

    A little more disturbing is what you might call “eliminationist” rhetoric — language that wishes an entire race could be wiped off the face of the earth: “#cancelwhitepeople.” Or: “White people have stopped breeding. you’ll all go extinct soon. that was my plan all along.” One simple rule I have about describing groups of human beings is that I try not to use a term that equates them with animals. Jeong apparently has no problem doing so. Speaking of animals, here’s another gem: “Dumbass fucking white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants.” Or you could describe an entire race as subhuman: “Are white people genetically disposed to burn faster in the sun, thus logically being only fit to live underground like groveling goblins.” And then there’s this simple expression of the pleasure that comes with hatred: “oh man it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men.” I love that completely meretricious “old” to demean them still further. And that actual feeling: joy at cruelty!

    Another indicator that these statements might be racist comes from replacing the word “white” with any other racial group. #cancelblackpeople probably wouldn’t fly at the New York Times, would it? Or imagine someone tweeting that Jews were only “fit to live underground like groveling goblins” or that she enjoyed “being cruel to old Latina women,” and then being welcomed and celebrated by a liberal newsroom. Not exactly in the cards.

  • Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro admits that socialism doesn’t work. Just think how much pain could be avoided if he had admitted this before people had to eat their dogs…
  • California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein had a Chinese spy on her staff for nearly 20 years. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Mistaken police call for an active shooter at a McAllen mall turns out to be an illegal alien robbery gang. Result? Seven illegal alien criminal suspects arrested.
  • Fort Myers, Florida: “Police Officer Dies After Being Shot By Illegal Alien.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “Noncitizens across U.S. find it easy to register to vote, cast ballots.” And some have even had other people do it for them without their knowledge… (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Sheldon Silver Sentenced: Seven in Sing Sing. (Actually, it’s not clear the former New York Assembly speaker will be serving his sentence in Sing Sing, but we can only hope, for the sake of the alliteration…)
  • Maryland forces 90-year old woman to tear down wheelchair ramp she built for he own home.
  • Kane bodyslams Democratic opponent in Mayor of Knox County race.
  • Tommy Robinson freed in the UK.
  • Related tweet:

  • Woman rams car for having a Trump bumper sticker.
  • China cracks down on illegal coffins. Which is to say, any coffins, since cremation is now mandated. Including seizing and destroying coffins old people have spent their entire lives saving for.
  • He Made the Most Beautiful Films of All Time and They Put Him in Prison For It.” He being Sergei Parajanov and they being the Soviet Union. (Hat tip: Don Webb on Facebook.)
  • Liberal NYC lawyer who worked under both Bloomberg and De Blasio talks about just how bad De Blasio sucks:

    When Bill de Blasio became mayor of New York in 2014, things changed drastically. I started to hear rumblings early on. My former colleagues who were dedicated public servants were concerned by a large-scale rollback of Bloomberg’s strategic initiatives. These seemed to be based on partisan politics and black-and-white thinking as opposed to critical analysis. It was very disappointing for me since I had also voted for de Blasio.

    Although I was still working in the same social-services agency where I had remained at the end of Bloomberg’s term, my job changed radically. I had no contact with the new commissioner who appeared to be disengaged from substantive discussions about social-services programs for an extremely vulnerable population. In fact, she was much more preoccupied with renovating her office — I heard her new desk alone cost thousands of dollars. She even requested that a private bathroom be built for her. She had the attitude of an oligarch and was disturbed that she had to vet invitations to galas through legal and City Hall. She wanted carte blanche to attend expensive events.

    She also refused to meet with the lawyers in her department and she kept the door to her office closed and didn’t know the names of the people who worked in her agency.

    Under my commissioner, there were no benchmarks, no goals and she did not hold regular meetings with her general counsel. Under her tenure, the legal unit was gutted. And there were no consequences for failing to meet performance goals because there were no performance goals.

  • Comics video blogger Jeremy Hambly attacked at GenCon. “The Quartering also provided another update claiming five eyewitness have identified the attacker as Matt Loter, the owner of Elm City Games.” GenCon promptly expelled Loter. Ha! Just kidding!

  • Liberal Chicago Sun-Times reporter: “Donald Trump is going to be re-elected in 2020. The Democrats don’t have anyone who can touch him. Bank on it.”
  • “Millennial Drops Support For Socialism After Learning How Hard It Is To Get Avocado Toast In Venezuela.” The Babylon Bee has just been tearing it up recently. I probably need to add them to the blog roll.
  • EU Votes To Censor the Internet

    Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

    This isn’t going to end well:

    This morning, the EU’s Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) voted in favor of the legislation, called the Copyright Directive. Although most of the directive simply updates technical language for copyright law in the age of the internet, it includes two highly controversial provisions. These are Article 11, a “link tax,” which would force online platforms like Facebook and Google to buy licenses from media companies before linking to their stories; and Article 13, an “upload filter,” which would require that everything uploaded online in the EU is checked for copyright infringement. (Think of it like YouTube’s Content ID system but for the whole internet.)

    EU lawmakers critical of the legislation say these Articles may have been proposed with good intentions — like protecting copyright owners — but are vaguely worded and ripe for abuse. “The methods to address the issue are catastrophic and will hurt the people they want to protect,” Green MEP Julia Reda told journalists earlier this week. After this morning’s vote, Reda told The Verge: “It’s a sad day for the internet … but the fight is not over yet.”

    Both Article 11 and Article 13 were approved by the JURI committee this morning but won’t become official legislation until passed by the entire European Parliament in a plenary vote. There’s no definite timetable for when such a vote might take place, but it would likely happen sometime between December of this year and the first half of 2019.

    “Vaguely worded and ripe for abuse.” Music to a bureaucrat’s ears!

    Both those provisions fly in the face basic structure of the Internet, where linking is free and censorship is damage to be routed around. And make no mistake, once they have an “upload filter” in place, there’s no way it will be limited to “copyright infringement.” Expect them to start by censoring “hate speech” (such as videos critical of unassimilated Muslim immigration into Europe) and anything else sufficiently critical of sacred European goals. Calls for Italy to quit the Euro? Sorry, those have to be banned in the interest of “economic stability.”

    Set aside, for now, the impossibility of implementing this for all but the biggest sites in Europe, much less the world. Merely attempting it would no doubt do a lot of damange and have that fabled “chilling effect” on free speech.

    Let’s hope this legislation gets killed by Eurocratic inertia…

    (Hat tip: Slashdot.)

    My Hovercraft Is Full Of Moose

    Monday, June 18th, 2018

    When you see a phrase like “Moose vs. Hovercraft,” you think it’s probably about some ironic iPhone game you can back on Kickstarter. (That, or a SyFy movie, in which case it would be Giant Moose vs. Megahovercraft.) But today the phrase pops up in relation to a case the Supreme Court has agreed to take up. Bonus: For the second time.

    An Alaska hunter who wants to use his hovercraft to hunt moose persuaded the Supreme Court to take up his case Monday for the second time.

    After its last hearing on John Sturgeon’s case, the Supreme Court found that the Ninth Circuit failed to recognize the unique conditions of Alaska that usually make the state the exception, not the rule, when it comes to Nation Park Service regulations.

    On remand from the Supreme Court, however, the Ninth Circuit again ruled against Sturgeon, finding that the U.S. government had authority to regulate Sturgeon’s use of a hovercraft on the federally protected Nation River.

    Sturgeon’s latest petition for certiorari, which he filed this past January,

    Asks whether the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act prohibits the National Park Service from exercising regulatory control over state, tribal or private land that overlaps with the National Park System in Alaska.

    The Supreme Court decision for the first round of Sturgeon vs. Frost can be found here. An excerpt:

    In 2007, John Sturgeon was piloting his hovercraft over a stretch of the Nation River that flows through the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, a conservation system unit in Alaska that is managed by the National Park Service. Alaska law permits the use of hovercraft. National Park Service regulations do not. See 36 CFR §2.17(e). Park Service rangers approached Sturgeon, informing him that hovercraft were prohibited within the preserve under Park Service regulations. Sturgeon protested that Park Service regulations did not apply because the river was owned by the State of Alaska. The rangers ordered Sturgeon to re move his hovercraft from the preserve, and he complied. Sturgeon later filed suit against the Park Service in the United States District Court for the District of Alaska, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief permitting him to operate his hovercraft within the boundaries of the Yukon-Charley. Alaska intervened in support of Sturgeon.

    The Supremes remanded the case back to the Ninth Circuit saying they had misinterpreted the regulation in question:

    Looking at ANILCA both as a whole and with respect to Section 103(c), the Act contemplates the possibility that all the land within the boundaries of conservation system units in Alaska may be treated differently from federally managed preservation areas across the country, and that “non-public” lands within the boundaries of those units may be treated differently from “public” lands within the unit. Under the Ninth Circuit’s reading of Section 103(c), however, the former is not an option, and the latter would require contorted and counterintuitive measures.

    The Ninth basically responded as they are usually wont to do. “Nah-uh, you’re not the boss of me! I do what I want! Screw you, moose-hunting hovercraft guy!” (I might be paraphrasing just a tad here.)

    Having been ignored the first time, expect the Supreme Court to strike down upon the ninth with great vengeance and furious anger issue a more strongly-worded decision. The only question is whether it will be a narrowly-based textual decision, or a broader decision about federal regulation of state and private lands.

    (Hat tip for my headline swipe.)

    The Night Before Christmas: Air Cargo Deregulation Edition

    Sunday, December 24th, 2017

    This year’s lazy holiday blogging theme: Silly Capitalist Christmas videos! This one is from the Mercatus Center.

    And there’s more on that theme coming tomorrow!