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Trump To Exempt Little Sisters Of The Poor From Abortifacient Mandate

 writes: A draft of a new rule protecting religious adherents was leaked to the press earlier today. The 125-page ruling, if issued and finalized, would temporarily protect the Little Sisters of the Poor and other groups from an Obama-era Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring religious adherents to choose between crippling fines and violating their consciences.

The Supreme Court unanimously overturned lower court rulings against the Little Sisters of the Poor in May 2016, ordering the government not to fine the Little Sisters and telling the lower courts to get the government to accommodate religious beliefs. This interim rule would fulfill that Supreme Court ruling.

The Little Sisters of the Poor are a religious order that serves the elderly poor. The Obama administration’s rule required them to provide abortifacients and birth control in violation of their religious beliefs or be fined up to $70 million each year. In their five-year battle over the rule, they have repeatedly won court victories against this requirement. Courts routinely found the mandate, which the Obama administration kept revising, to be an onerous and unnecessary restriction on religious liberty.

“At long last the United States government acknowledges that people can get contraceptives without forcing nuns to provide them,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel with Becket, a civil liberties firm representing the Little Sisters. “That is sensible, fair, and in keeping with the Supreme Court’s order and the president’s promise to the Little Sisters and other religious groups serving the poor.”

The Little Sisters of the Poor were just one of many groups seeking relief from the mandate that violated religious liberty. Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] Alan Dershowitz on the Michael Flynn Controversy 

Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz on the controversy surrounding national security advisor Michael Flynn.

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[VIDEO] Trump Looks to Strengthen U.S. Trade Ties with Japan

Boston Herald Columnist, Adriana Cohen, former Bush senior campaign advisor, Mark Serrano, and Club for Growth president, David McIntosh on President Trump’s trade policies and his desire to put America first.

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Note: the above image is from Japanese social media. Original source unknown. But very typical of popular ‘kawaii’ image editing apps. See more of our Japan coverage here.

 

 


[BOOKS] On Howard Stern, Actress Lena Dunham Credits President Trump for Her Weight Loss Success, Debuts New Diet Book

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Rachel DeSantis reports: Most people turn to diets and exercise to lose extra pounds, but Girls star Lena Dunham is sharing a new weight-loss trick you may not want to try at home.

“Donald Trump became president and I stopped being able to eat food.”

— Actress and diet book author Lena Dunham

Dunham stopped by Howard Stern’s SiriusXM radio show Monday morning and revealed that she has none other than Donald Trump to thank for her slim figure.

“Everyone’s been asking like, ‘What have you been doing?’ And I’m like, ‘Try soul-crushing pain and devastation and hopelessness and you, too, will lose weight.’”

“Donald Trump became president and I stopped being able to eat food,” she told Stern after he complimented her look. “Everyone’s been asking like, ‘What have you been doing?’ And I’m like, ‘Try soul-crushing pain and devastation and hopelessness and you, too, will lose weight.’”

The actress, who was on hand to promote the upcoming sixth and final season of Girls, has not been shy about her dislike for the President, and apparently, the feeling is mutual. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Americans Gather Near U.S. Embassy in Tokyo to Protest Trump’s Travel Ban 日本のアメリカ大使館前で入国制限令に対するデモ

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TOKYO –  reports: A group of demonstrators gathered Tuesday morning near the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending the entry of refugees and restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Roughly 50 people, mainly Americans living in Japan, gathered near the embassy in Minato Ward at around 8 a.m. They held signs with slogans like “Build bridges, not walls,” “No Muslim ban” and “Immigrants make America great.”

“We will protest in solidarity with these individuals, including refugees from war-torn nations, as we stand against this unlawful, immoral and unjust action,” the organizers said in a Monday news release.

“We urge the Trump administration to cancel this executive order and to obey federal court orders against its implementation, and we ask all elected officials and world leaders to speak out against this despicable act,” it said.

Organizer Jesse Glickstein, an American lawyer living in Japan, said the demonstration was part of the global backlash against the immigration clampdown. Protests flared up around the world soon after the policy was implemented last Friday, which is also International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Glickstein, who is Jewish, said his grandparents immigrated to the U.S. after surviving the Holocaust.

“This, to me, is possibly the most offensive thing a president can do,” Glickstein said before the protest began.

“I think this is important so that the Japanese people understand that the majority of Americans are not in agreement with this,” he said. “We welcome refugees, we welcome diversity, and this administration honestly is basically … waging war on this concept.”

Protester Alexander Gonzalez said he rejects the policy because it targets specific citizens. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: President Trump Issues 3rd in a Series of Executive Headline Corrections

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[VIDEO] Does Judge’s Block of Trump Order Support ACLU’s Case? 

Immigration has become a presidential campaign issue. AP Photo

 


Shinzo Abe, James Mattis Reaffirm U.S. Commitment on Senkakus

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Visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis clearly said during talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday afternoon that the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture are within the scope of Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which obliges the United States to defend Japan, according to a senior government official who attended the meeting.

At the opening of the meeting, Abe said he hopes and is certain the two countries “can demonstrate in our country and abroad that the Japan-U.S. alliance is unshakable.” In response, Mattis said that he intended to make clear during the meeting that Article 5 of the security treaty will be important five years or 10 years from now, just as it was a year ago or five years ago.

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Mattis arrived in Tokyo on the day to hold talks with the prime minister, Defense Minister Tomomi Inada and other members of Abe’s Cabinet to exchange views on the security environment in East Asia and to address mutual security concerns. The new U.S. defense chief’s visit to Japan marks the first by a U.S. Cabinet member under the administration of President Donald Trump. The ministerial meeting with Inada is scheduled for Saturday, after which they will hold a joint press conference.

During these talks, the two sides are also expected to confirm that the United States will firmly uphold the “nuclear umbrella” (see below) over Japan in its defense.

During his presidential election campaign last year, Trump was ambiguous about defending the Senkakus and also suggested that if Japan doesn’t contribute its due share to shouldering the burden of stationing U.S. forces in Japan, it would be acceptable for Japan to possess its own nuclear weapons to confront North Korea’s nuclear threat. These remarks caused apprehension on the Japanese side.

Read the rest of this entry »


Seth Barron: ‘For Progressives, the Universe of Victims is Infinite’

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Trump v. the Border-less Left

Seth Barron writes: From illegal aliens who have committed crimes, to all immigrants, to “people of color” generally: the circle of Trump’s victims widens by orders of magnitude in de Blasio’s fantasy of total persecution. Even to ask a question about whether illegal aliens should be regarded in the same way as legal immigrants betrays an “ideological bent”; on the other hand, it is perfectly straightforward to read a legal challenge to sanctuary cities as all-out race war.

“The Left’s favorite cliché: ‘I am a Muslim. I am a Jew. I am Black. I am gay. I am a woman seeking to control her body.'”

The mayor’s expansive definition of victimhood was echoed this weekend by Governor Cuomo, who repeated the Left’s favorite cliché: “I am a Muslim. I am a Jew. I am Black. I am gay. I am a woman seeking to control her body.” This quasi-heroic affirmation of identity with the oppressed fringes of society, powered by anaphora, collapses into intersectional absurdity, and ultimately becomes the lowest form of political pandering, underscored by the repetition of the word “I.”

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“This quasi-heroic affirmation of identity with the oppressed fringes of society, powered by anaphora, collapses into intersectional absurdity, and ultimately becomes the lowest form of political pandering, underscored by the repetition of the word ‘I’.”

Last Friday, Trump announced that he would extend and expand the visa restrictions that Obama established in the 2015 Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, impose a 90-day moratorium on travel from seven countries with links to organized terror, and put a halt to the Syrian-refugee resettlement program.

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[Read the full story here, at City Journal]

These policies fulfill campaign promises and have been clearly stated as temporary measures in order to make sure that migrants are being accurately screened. Read the rest of this entry »


Japan Readies Facts for Defense Talks

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The government is rushing to compile details of its financial burden to host U.S. forces in Japan in preparation for a meeting of the defense chiefs of the two countries on Saturday, as well as for a separate meeting of the leaders scheduled for Feb. 10.

The U.S. side has intimated that it has no intention of demanding an increase in Japan’s share of the costs of stationing U.S. forces during the defense chiefs’ talks. However, the unpredictability of the U.S. administration under President Donald Trump is spurring the Japanese government to maintain a vigilant stance.

Defense Minister Tomomi Inada spoke at a press conference on Tuesday about her upcoming meeting with new U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis. Although she declined to reveal whether the costs of hosting U.S. forces are on the agenda, Inada did say, “I intend to convey Japan’s position firmly and I hope the meeting will allow us to exchange opinions candidly.”

Pentagon spokesperson Jeff Davis had said the aim of Mattis’ visit to Japan was to strengthen ties and not to submit a list of demands. This has led some to believe that the state of Japan’s financial burden with regard to U.S. bases will not come up at the ministerial meeting.

Trump, however, did refer to increasing Japan’s burden during the U.S. presidential campaign. “We’re preparing to be ready to explain that Japan already has a heavy load, in case there is a demand,” a source inside the Defense Ministry said.

Costs of stationing U.S. forces in Japan include land prices and other costs relevant to providing facilities and sites. These are paid for by the Japanese side in keeping with the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, while all other costs, in principle, are covered by the United States.

However, since fiscal 1978, the Japanese side has been expanding the range of its expenses based on demands from the United States. Currently, personnel costs for base employees as well as lighting, heating and water costs are also funded by the Japanese side. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Lawmaker Wants Victims to be Able to Sue Sanctuary City Politicians

Ernest Luning reports: A Colorado Springs Republican wants victims of what he calls “sanctuary city policies” to be able to file lawsuits and lodge criminal complaints against the “lawless politicians” who put the policies in place.

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State Rep. Dave Williams, R-Colorado Springs, is pictured before his election on July 1, 2016, at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver. (Photo by John Tomasic/The Colorado Statesman)

State Rep. Dave Williams said Monday he plans to introduce “The Colorado Politician Accountability Act” this week, legislation aimed at holding officials criminally liable for the “carnage” committed by some immigrants.

“If being a ‘sanctuary city’ means that we value taking care of one another and welcoming refugees and immigrants, then I welcome the title.”

“As the first Latino elected to Colorado House District 15,” said Williams, who was first elected to the heavily Republican district in November, in a statement, “I think it’s important that we do all we can to uphold the rule of law and ensure all communities, regardless of race or ethnicity, are protected from dangerous policies that are forced on us by radical, out-of-touch politicians who continually sell out to an unlawful agenda that increases the number of criminals, and needless deaths among our fellow citizens.”

“It’s beyond any reasonable thought as to why the Democrats, along with Mayor Hancock, would continue to not only act outside the law, which they swore to uphold but also enjoy immunity from their reckless decision to place Coloradans in danger because of the sanctuary city policies that they created and continue to implement.”

Announcing the bill, Williams took aim at Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, who said in a video posted online Friday that he was fine with calling Denver a “sanctuary city.”

“If being a ‘sanctuary city’ means that we value taking care of one another and welcoming refugees and immigrants, then I welcome the title,” Hancock said. Read the rest of this entry »


Byron York: Dems Escalate Anti-Trump Offensive 

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Byron York writes: From Washington State to Washington DC, Democrats across the country are stepping up what some call “The Resistance” to President Trump, moving across political, legal, bureaucratic, legislative, and civil disobedience fronts to frustrate the newly elected president’s agenda.

Just moments after Trump announced his choice of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court Tuesday night, some Democrats vowed to do everything in their power to kill the nomination (even as others calculated the cost of an ultimately losing fight). At the same time, Senate Democrats threw more sand in the gears of the confirmation machinery for Trump nominees.

Across Washington, Democrats praised Sally Yates, the Obama holdover and temporary head of the Justice Department fired by Trump after refusing to defend Trump’s temporary moratorium stopping non-Americans from entering the United States from seven terrorism-plagued countries. Democratic members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee sent a letter to the president supporting hundreds of State Department employees who have signed a memo on the Department’s “Dissent Channel” opposing the Trump order.

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[Read the full story here, at Washington Examiner]

Across the country, in Washington State, Massachusetts, San Francisco, and elsewhere, Democratic state officials initiated or joined lawsuits to challenge Trump’s executive order. In California, the Democratic Senate leader introduced legislation to make California a sanctuary state — that is, to go beyond sanctuary cities and have an entire state defy federal immigration law under President Trump. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Spicer to NBC: NBC Reporting is Based Off of ‘False’ NYT Reporting

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[VIDEO] Is Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration Constitutional? 

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[VIDEO] Refugees Detained at U.S. Airports After President Trump’s Executive Order

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[VIDEO] Former Border Patrol Agent Reacts to Wall Executive Order 

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Day One: Erasing Obama

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[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Just Hoping Obama Doesn’t Return Alaska to the Russians 

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Apple Reportedly Developed Custom White House App to Optimize Speed-Pardons

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[VIDEO] #ThanksObama: 5 Scary Powers Trump Will Take Over as President 

As Barack Obama bids farewell to his presidency, keep in mind these five scary powers that President Trump will inherit from him.

Remember when those pesky other branches of government wouldn’t bow down to Obama’s whims, and the president famously bragged about going it alone? Now Obama’s out and it will soon be Donald Trump wielding his pen and phone.

As Barack Obama bids farewell to his presidency this week, keep in mind these five scary powers that President Trump will inherit from him.

US President Barack Obama attends a military briefing with US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham (L) at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

1. War Without Congress

During the Libya intervention, Obama decided that he didn’t need Congress to approve massive bombing campaigns and regime change.

Obama has done legal gymnastics to justify using the same authorizations that George W. Bush got to fight al Qaeda and the Taliban to send our armed forces to places like West Africa, Somalia, Yemen, and Syria —not to mention staying in Pakistan and Afghanistan and going back to Iraq—all without Congress.

So if the Mexicans won’t pay for his wall, President Trump could just as well decide to bomb them.

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2. Kill Lists

Obama made up his own rules on targeted killings, denying that courts could review his “kill list” and only paying lip service to drone guidelines when he thought Mitt Romney might win in 2012. That never actually happened, and even in his last months in office, Obama has continued to expand the reach of our flying robots and special operations forces.

So President Trump can now vaporize any person he puts on his kill list, even American citizens, even outside of acknowledged battlefields, even if civilians die—all without due process.

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3. Access to All of Your Information

Obama expanded the powers of secret courts that provide little more than a rubber-stamp for mass surveillance of Americans.

He supports weakening encryption, general warrants that cover millions of people, and a host of powers with the ultimate goal of giving spooks what the NSA has called “Total Information Awareness“—access to your every word, move, purchase, and relationship, all without your knowledge.

Orwell would have been impressed, and Trump certainly will be.

Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. holds up four fingers to indicate the four Pulitzer Prizes won by the New York Times, as winners for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize are announced at The New York Times newsroom in New York April 15, 2013. Also pictured are (from L-R): CEO Mark Thompson, Sulzberger, Assistant Managing Editor Susan Chira, Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal (obscured by Chira) and Executive Editor Jill Abramson. REUTERS/Ruth Fremson/Pool (UNITED STATES - Tags: MEDIA SOCIETY) - RTXYN1U

4. Prosecuting Whistleblowers and Journalists

The leader of the self-anointed “most transparent administration” in history has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all other presidents in history, put together. His administration exploded the number of classified documents and fought the ACLU and New York Times in court to keep its legal interpretations secret.

Oh, and Obama’s Justice Department spied on journalists and investigated them as co-conspirators.

Based on what Trump thinks of the media, reporters should take care not to violate any secret laws going forward, especially in secret drone zones.

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5. Screwing Immigrants

Many undocumented immigrants trusted Obama with their personal information in exchange for his promise not to deport them. That may have been a huge mistake. First off, he’s deported more people than any president in history, so that should have been a red flag. Read the rest of this entry »


More Clinton Leaked Emails Detail Devotion to Executive Gun Control

More emails from Hillary Clinton campaign staffers were made public by WikiLeaks this week, granting insight into the campaign’s deceptive attacks on your rights and the extent to which Clinton is in league with the country’s most powerful anti-gun forces. Further, the emails provide more information about Clinton’s insistence on pursuing gun control by executive order.

Medium.com purports to be “a community of readers and writers offering unique perspectives on ideas large and small.” However, there’s nothing unique about the perspective of a January 12 item purportedly authored by a gun control advocate who was the victim of domestic violence. In fact, according to leaked emails, the piece was authored by Clinton campaign consultants and planted on Medium.com by campaign staff.

On January 8, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta forwarded an email titled, “Draft medium post on guns.” The author of the original email is not clear from the WikiLeaks archive. The email states, in part:        

Hey everyone –

Ron Klain wrote a riff for HRC and sent it to Teddy on guns. We thought it could make a strong Medium post from someone who could really speak to this issue (not HRC and not someone on our campaign).

Here’s the draft, which I edited and can personalize depending on who we want to use as an author. A survivor of gun violence? An advocate or family member?

If we can find someone, and if folks want, we could get this posted today to Medium in someone’s name (not us). Here it is, let me know your thoughts!

The email goes on to provide a draft of the commentary.

Ronald Klain is a prominent Democratic operative who served as the chief of staff to both Vice President Al Gore and Vice President Joe Biden. Most recently, Klain has consulted on the Clinton campaign.

Hillary Clinton Discusses Donald Trump's Policies At Reno, NV Campaign Event

From the email, it appears Klain developed an anti-gun commentary intended to be used by Clinton herself. However, the campaign seemed to have thought the item would carry more weight if it appeared under the name of someone outside the campaign who had a history with the issue.

The plan outlined in this email was carried out, as on January 12 a piece titled “I’m With Hillary” was posted to Medium.com with Clai Lasher listed as its author. Lasher was shot by her stepfather in 1970 and is a survivor engagement lead at Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety. Just as the email suggested, portions of the piece were personalized for Lasher. The majority of Klain’s commentary was not altered.

This incident should prompt the public to question just how much of the pro-Clinton content appearing in the media has been directly orchestrated by the Clinton campaign itself.

Recently released emails also give more insight into the unsavory nature of the Clinton campaign’s attacks on Democratic rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). The emails show that Clinton’s anti-Sanders messaging was tailored to the racial background of the target audience. In a February 7 email exchange between Democratic consultant Mandy Grunwald and Clinton campaign staff, potential attacks on Sanders were discussed. Specifically, the emails contemplated using the gun issue to attack Sanders’ support among African Americans. In one email, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook wrote, “We may need to use guns tactically in the AA community–just like we’ll have tactical skirmishes on crime bill, etc.”

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During the Democratic primaries, Sanders called on Clinton to produce the transcripts of her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs. Clinton refused, but WikiLeaks obtained the transcripts and has made them available to the public. While much of the speeches address financial and foreign policy, during a June 4, 2013 question and answer session with Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Clinton used the forum to take a swipe at NRA.

Despite NRA being a nonpartisan organization that routinely supports candidates across the political spectrum, Clinton blamed NRA, in part, for what she perceived is an increase in partisanship that stymied her preferred agenda. In doing so, Clinton gave a ham-handed retelling of an instance where NRA pursued the best interests of our members by supporting the opponent of a Tennessee lawmaker that had obstructed the passage of important Right-to-Carry legislation. Clinton characterized NRA’s vigorous defense of the rights of the state’s gun owners as unreasonable. Read the rest of this entry »


The Misleading Uses, Flagrant Abuses, and Shoddy Statistics of Social Science About Gun Violence

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You Know Less Than You Think About Guns

Brian Doherty writes: “There is a gun for roughly every man, woman, and child in America,” President Barack Obama proclaimed after the October mass shooting that killed 10 at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. “So how can you, with a straight face, make the argument that more guns will make us safer? We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths. So the notion that gun laws don’t work—or just will make it harder for law-abiding citizens and criminals will still get their guns—is not borne out by the evidence.”

In this single brief statement, Obama tidily listed the major questions bedeviling social science research about guns—while also embodying the biggest problem with the way we process and apply that research. The president’s ironclad confidence in the conclusiveness of the science, and therefore the desirability of “common-sense gun safety laws,” is echoed widely with every new mass shooting, from academia to the popular press to that guy you knew from high school on Facebook.

[Order Emily Miller’s book “Emily Gets Her Gun” from Amazon]

In April 2015, the Harvard gun-violence researcher David Hemenway took to the pages of the Los Angeles Times to declare in a headline: “There’s scientific consensus on guns—and the NRA won’t like it.” Hemenway insisted that researchers have definitively established “that a gun in the home makes it a more dangerous place to be…that guns are not used in self-defense far more often than they are used in crime…and that the change to more permissive gun carrying laws has not reduced crime rates.” He concludes: “There is consensus that strong gun laws reduce homicide.”

But the science is a lot less certain than that. What we really know about the costs and benefits of private gun ownership and the efficacy of gun laws is far more fragile than what Hemenway and the president would have us believe.

More guns do not necessarily mean more homicides. More gun laws do not necessarily mean less gun crime. Finding good science is hard enough; finding good social science on a topic so fraught with politics is nigh impossible. The facts then become even more muddled as the conclusions of those less-than-ironclad academic studies cycle through the press and social media in a massive game of telephone. Despite the confident assertions of the gun controllers and decades of research, we still know astonishingly little about how guns actually function in society and almost nothing at all about whether gun control policies actually work as promised.

Do More Guns Mean More Homicides?

“More Americans have died from guns in the United States since 1968 than on battlefields of all the wars in American history,” New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote on August 26, 2015, just after the grisly on-air murder of two television journalists in Virginia. It’s a startling fact, and true.

[See John R. Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, Third Edition (Studies in Law and Economics) at Amazon]

But do the number of guns in circulation correlate with the number of gun deaths? Start by looking at the category of gun death that propels all gun policy discussion: homicides. (Gun suicides, discussed further below, are a separate matter whose frequent conflation with gun crime introduces much confusion into the debate.)

In 1994 Americans owned around 192 million guns, according to the U.S. Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice. Today, that figure is somewhere between 245 and 328 million, though as Philip J. Cook and Kristin A. Goss in their thorough 2014 book The Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press) wisely concluded, liberal-huh“the bottom line is that no one knows how many firearms are in private hands in the United States.” Still, we have reason to believe gun prevalence likely surpassed the one-gun-per-adult mark early in President Barack Obama’s first term, according to a 2012 Congressional Research Service report that relied on sales and import data.

Yet during that same period, per-capita gun murders have been cut almost in half.

One could argue that the relevant number is not the number of guns, but the number of people with access to guns. That figure is also ambiguous. A Gallup poll in 2014 found 42 percent of households claiming to own a gun, which Gallup reports is “similar to the average reported to Gallup over the past decade.” But those looking for a smaller number, to downplay the significance of guns in American life, can rely on the door-to-door General Social Survey, which reported in 2014 that only 31 percent of households have guns, down 11 percentage points from 1993’s 42 percent. There is no singular theory to explain that discrepancy or to be sure which one is closer to correct—though some doubt, especially as gun ownership continues to be so politically contentious, that people always reliably report the weapons they own to a stranger literally at their door.

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The gun murder rate in 1993 was 7.0 per 100,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s (CDC) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (Those reports rely on death certificate reporting, and they tend to show higher numbers than the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program, though both trend the same.) In 2000 the gun murder rate per 100,000 was 3.8. By 2013, the rate was even lower, at 3.5, though there was a slight upswing in the mid-00s.

This simple point—that America is awash with more guns than ever before, yet we are killing each other with guns at a far lower rate than when we had far fewer guns—undermines the narrative that there is a straightforward, causal relationship between increased gun prevalence and gun homicide. Even if you fall back on the conclusion that it’s just a small number of owners stockpiling more and more guns, it’s hard to escape noticing that even these hoarders seem to be harming fewer and fewer people with their weapons, casting doubt on the proposition that gun ownership is a political crisis demanding action.

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In the face of these trend lines—way more guns, way fewer gun murders—how can politicians such as Obama and Hillary Clinton so successfully capitalize on the panic that follows each high profile shooting? Partly because Americans haven’t caught on to the crime drop. A 2013 Pew Research Poll found 56 percent of respondents thought that gun crime had gone up over the past 20 years, and only 12 percent were aware it had declined.

Do Gun Laws Stop Gun Crimes?

The same week Kristof’s column came out, National Journal attracted major media attention with a showy piece of research and analysis headlined “The States With The Most Gun Laws See The Fewest Gun-Related Deaths.” The subhead lamented: “But there’s still little appetite to talk about more restrictions.”

Critics quickly noted that the Journal‘s Libby Isenstein had included suicides among “gun-related deaths” and suicide-irrelevant policies such as stand-your-ground laws among its tally of “gun laws.” That meant that high-suicide, low-homicide states such as Wyoming, Alaska, and Idaho were taken to task for their liberal carry-permit policies. Worse, several of the states with what the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence considers terribly lax gun laws were dropped from Isenstein’s data set because their murder rates were too low!

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Another of National Journal‘s mistakes is a common one in gun science: The paper didn’t look at gun statistics in the context of overall violent crime, a much more relevant measure to the policy debate. After all, if less gun crime doesn’t mean less crime overall—if criminals simply substitute other weapons or means when guns are less available—the benefit of the relevant gun laws is thrown into doubt. When Thomas Firey of the Cato Institute ran regressions of Isenstein’s study with slightly different specifications and considering all violent crime, each of her effects either disappeared or reversed.

Read the rest of this entry »


Obama’s New Immigration Plan Offers Work-Permits To Foreigners Slated For Deportation

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Neil Munro writes: President Barack Obama’s new 181-page plan to award work-permits to at least 100,000 foreign college-grads also contains a convoluted section that would also sneak work-permits to a huge range of foreign migrants – even after courts have formally ordered their repatriation.

In plain English, the section in the rule would automatically provide updated work-permits to 15 categories of migrants who are appealing judges’ deportation orders.

In plain economics, the rule would increase the number of foreign migrants in U.S. workplaces and impose wage-cutting job competition on ordinary blue-collar Americans so that university-trained, white-collar immigration lawyers could be paid billable-hours by their due-for-deportation, work-permit clients.

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“Obama is transferring the jobs and salaries of Americans to foreign nationals, including illegal aliens… [who will be] licensed to take middle class jobs,” said one Hill staffer. The pending rule “highlights the unholy alliance between progressive Democrats, progressive Republicans, and the Obama administration… [so] when it comes to finding a job in America, being native-born in America is a disadvantage,” the staffer said.

There’s little chance that establishment GOP leaders will fight Obama’s pro-migrant, anti-American rule.

For example, House Speaker supported an amnesty-and-cheap-labor bill in 2014, and he sneaked a new rule into the December 2016 omnibus bill that allows companies to bring in at least 100,000 extra foreign workers for jobs sought by 100,000 blue-collar Americans. Ryan defended his pink-slip plan, while he and other GOP and Democratic leaders also rejected proposed amendments to the omnibus by pro-American legislators that would have constricted Obama’s legal ability to add more foreign workers to the U.S. economy.

[Read the full text here, at Breitbart.com]

If the rule is not struck down by the courts, the due-for-deportation migrants who would automatically get new work-permits include many categories of provisional immigrants, such as people who falsely claim persecution in their home countries. Most of the 250,000 Central Americans who have been allowed by Obama to migrate into the United States since 2009 have claimed in court hearings that they fear persecution in their home countries. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Dana Loesch: ‘What A Gun-Control Utopia Looks Like’

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Marilyn Mosby Files Motion for Gag Order–In Wrong Court. Judge Laughs, Says No


Noah Rothman: Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy Embarrasses Himself with Indiana RFRA Tantrum

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Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy revealed that he will prohibit all state-sponsored travel to this heretical member of the Union. He joins the mayor of Seattle, who also blocked city-funded travel to Indiana in protest over this perfectly banal law.

Noah Rothman writes: The frenzied outpouring of disproportionate outrage from the left over Indiana’s state-level version of the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act can be best described as a tantrum.

[Read the full text here, at Hot Air]

A number of firms including Apple and Angie’s List Inc. have announced that they will respond to the legislation that critics insist is designed to discriminate against gays and lesbians by reviewing their commitments to do business in the state. A cornucopia of liberal groups are organizing a boycott of all things Hoosier. And, on Monday, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy revealed that he will prohibit all state-sponsored travel to this heretical member of the Union. He joins the mayor of Seattle, who also blocked city-funded travel to Indiana in protest over this perfectly banal law.

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“This law, like other RFRAs, merely requires that state laws meet a demanding, but hardly insurmountable, test before infringing upon the religious practice or conscience of religious believers.”

— The Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy blogger Jonathan Adler

This reaction is nothing short of an embarrassment for the left and a repudiation of the values that the Democratic Party espoused as recently as the 1990s, when President Bill Clinton signed a national version of this act into law.

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“RFRA is a shield, not a sword. It can be used to defend oneself against lawsuits or administrative action. It can’t be used affirmatively to try and deprive others of the protections of law.”

— Attorney Gabriel Malor, The Federalist

The hypocrisy exhibited by the left in this display of childish pique over Indiana’s RFRA bill is impossible to ignore.

“[W]hile Indiana is being criticized, the NCAA didn’t say it was concerned over how athletes and employees would be affected by Kentucky’s RFRA when games were played there last week, there aren’t any plans to tall-surprise-faceboycott states like Illinois or Connecticut, and Miley Cyrus has yet to post a photo of President Clinton or any of the 19 other governors who have also signed RFRAs,” The Washington Post’s Hunter Schwarz wrote. “Indiana might be treated as if it’s the only state with a bill like this, but it’s not.”

“Malloy’s absurd response to the Indiana law is, no doubt, an effort to distract his liberal constituents from the fact that Connecticut’s RFRA law – yes, they have one, too – goes farther than the act signed last week by Governor Mike Pence.”

“This law, like other RFRAs, merely requires that state laws meet a demanding, but hardly insurmountable, test before infringing upon the religious practice or conscience of religious believers,” observed The Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy blogger Jonathan Adler. “If the law imposes a substantial burden on religious belief, the law must yield unless the law serves a compelling state interest and is the least burdensome way to advance that interest.”

Malloy’s absurd response to the Indiana law is, no doubt, an effort to distract his liberal constituents from the fact that Connecticut’s RFRA law – yes, they have one, too – goes farther than the act signed last week by Gov. Mike Pence.

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The Federalist’s Sean Davis makes the case:

Connecticut’s law, however, is far more restrictive of government action and far more protective of religious freedoms. How? Because the Connecticut RFRA law states that government shall not “burden a person’s exercise of religion[.]” Note that the word “substantially” is not included in Connecticut’s law.

The effect of the absence of that single word is enormous…(read more)

That seems straightforward enough. Still have questions? Over at The Federalist, attorney Gabriel Malor answers all of your pressing inquiries. The most substantive assertion that he makes, however, is that all RFRA’s do not and cannot license discrimination. Read the rest of this entry »


Washington D.C.’s December 2014 Seinfeld Moment: ‘A Show About Nothing’

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The Washington Post


How Democrats May Help the GOP Avert a Shutdown

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TIME

Democrats may come to the rescue of House Speaker John Boehner in order to avert a government shutdown next week.

Conservatives are clamoring for the House Republican leadership to use the power of the purse to protest President Barack Obama’s executive order, which could delay deportations for up to five million immigrants who came to the country illegally. Several prominent conservatives, including Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, have rebuked the House Republican leadership’s government funding proposal, but leadership believes enough Democrats will join to pass it, according to a congressional aide.

“I’m waiting to be convinced that it’s a bad idea because on the face of it I think it’s probably the best that we can do right now,” says Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois.

“I think everyone is reluctantly looking at this as probably the most practical solution,” concurs Democratic Rep. John Delaney…

View original post 402 more words


Mural: The Least-Popular Guys in America

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“Quickly becoming DC’s most wince-inducing mural”

— daveweigel


[VIDEO] SNL Cold Open: Obama Shoves The Schoolhouse Rock Bill Down The Capitol Steps

November 22, 2014 – Finally, the first biting political spoof from Saturday Night Live in a while: the Bill from Schoolhouse Rock explains to a student how he becomes a law, only to be violently beat up by Barack Obama and his new best friend, “Executive Order.” Even then, the poor Executive Order still thinks he’s used for simple things, like declaring holidays and creating national parks, until Obama informs him that he’s going to be used to grant amnesty to 5 million undocumented immigrants. His only reaction: “Whoa.”


Let Me Fix That

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REWIND: Obama Says Illegal Immigration Hurts ‘Blue-Collar Americans,’ Strains Welfare

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For The Daily Caller, White House Correspondent Neil Munro writes: President Obama once declared that an influx of illegal immigrants will harm “the wages of blue-collar
Americans” and “put strains on an already overburdened safety net.”

“Obama now presides over a very porous southern border, and he’s allowed 130,000 Central American migrants across since October 2013.”

“[T]here’s no denying that many blacks share the same anxieties as many whites about the wave of illegal immigration flooding our Southern border—a sense that what’s happening now is fundamentally different from what has gone on before,” then-Senator Obama wrote in his 2006 autobiography, “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.”

”Not all these fears are irrational,” he wrote.

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“Via executive order, he is also about to provide work permits to at least 3 million illegal immigrants, allowing them to compete against the very Americans — black, white, Latino and Asian — who he once said would be harmed by such a move.”

“The number of immigrants added to the labor force every year DC-Audio-Linkis of a magnitude not seen in this country for over a century,” Obama noted.

[Read the rest at The Daily Caller]

[Obama on Immigration in his own words: Click here for the AUDIO]

“If this huge influx of mostly low-skill workers provides some benefits to the economy as a whole—especially by keeping our workforce young, in contrast to an increasingly geriatric Europe and Japan—it also threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already Obama-2008overburdened safety net.”

“The guest worker provision of the bill troubled me. it was essentially a sop to big business, a means for them to employ immigrants without granting them citizenship rights—indeed, a means for business to gain the benefits of outsourcing without having to locate their operations overseas.”

Senator Barack Obama, 2006

If these feel like the words of one of Obama’s opponents, it’s because they’re the exact argument that the president’s critics have been making as he now rushes to announce a sweeping executive order that would give work permits to millions of illegal immigrants in the country. Read the rest of this entry »


Misdirection: ‘Executive Orders’ Shell Game

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One of the many things Obama campaigned on was a promise to restore confidence in the federal government’s competence after the failures of the Bush years. Building a case for expanding, not reducing, the role of big government in American life, while curbing overuse of executiveshellgame power, scaling back military obligations, and ending intelligence agency abuses, the effort succeeded, and Democrats took power. Five years later, Obama’s campaign to make government better, more responsive, and more accountable is widely recognized for what it was–empty campaign rhetoric. Once in the White House, his administration became more secretive, more adventurous, and more abusive than any in the post-war era.

And the campaign never ended. Employing a variety of tactical maneuvers and rhetorical sleight-of-hand, this administration seeks to provide cover for one power grab after another. Defending Obama’s use of executive orders, his team–with help from the media–are waging a cynical campaign to mislead the American public.

This point can’t be made enough–quantity isn’t the issue, quality is–but that won’t put a dent in the rhetorical armor shielding the White House from charges of overreach. The predictable boasts by Administration officials and talking heads about Obama’s record of issuing fewer executive orders, or less than his predecessors, is meant to fortify effort. Why so cynical?  One answer–though this deserves further exploration in a future post–is that it banks on the public’s escapist tendencies, it urges them to tune out.

Obama-zzz

At The CornerJonah Goldberg writes:

Barack Obama is constantly mocking the House lawsuit by referencing the fact he’s issued the fewest executive orders of any president over the last century. His spin-squad, paid and unpaid, parrots the argument at every turn. My yell-at-the-TV gripe about this has mostly revolved around the fact that the number of executive orders has nothing to do with anything. The president could issue a hundred executive orders a day — about casual Friday dress codes, the need to label food in the West Wing fridge, about how August 15 will hence forth be known as “Wacky Sock Day” — and no one would care. Or he could issue one executive order during his entire presidency. If that one order was about “Wacky Sock Day,” again no one would care. Read the rest of this entry »


Paved With Good Intentions

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Build it Already

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Bobby Jindal writes exclusively for National Review Online about Obama’s failure to develop strong energy policy. http://natl.re/1qo2mo0

NATIONAL REVIEW on tumblr.


White House Announces Contest: Memorize all 11,588,500 Pages of Obamacare’s Rules and Regulations and Win Your Freedom

Democrats are trying to distance themselves from the health care law's problems. | AP Photo

Democrats are trying to distance themselves from the health care law’s problems. | AP Photo

Democrats know their biggest problem in this year’s midterm election is Obamacare. So top party operatives have settled on a strategy to try blunting the GOP’s advantage:  A contest.

At a press conference scheduled for next week, President Obama will announce that the White House is offering a prize to any American who can memorize all of the Affordable Care Act’s rules and regulations. The final rounds will be judged, the top 50 contestants selected, one from each state. Those contestants will be brought to Washington D.C. to compete in a televised game show.

“The best way to push back on the attacks we know Republicans will launch over health care is to develop a contest, generate excitement, offer prizes, and announce winners.”

Any contestant who can successfully recite all 11,588,500 pages without making any mistakes will awarded an official White House waiver. The winners will be announced in April, in a ceremony in the Rose Garden. President Obama will personally sign an Executive Order, freeing the winning contestants from compliance with Obamacare.

The contest, details of which were in a memo obtained by punditfromanotherplanet, recognizes the unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act. But it also banks on the popularity of game shows, contests, and prizes.

“…If Americans can see regular folks winning special exclusions–not just corporations, insurance companies, campaign donors, and labor unions, but regular, everyday people–we feel confident that this will restore faith in the promise of affordable health care, by making it extra-affordable for a special group of chosen people…”

Benjamin MacGuffin, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s deputy executive games division special director, wrote in the memo…

Developing…

Related: Democrats’ new 2014 plan: Neutralize Obamacare


Executive Order 13603

UPDATED Oct. 5 2012 — Note: Does White House Executive 13603 order contain a secret plot to take over the U.S.? Well… Snopes.com scores this claim FALSE.  If you read this page, then consider reading this link, too, to get a more balanced picture.

Forbes Magazine published the following item with breathless importance. The claims made might be misleading, questionable, bordering on running-down-the-street-on-fire paranoia. I leave it for the reader to decide.

This has been getting a lot of hits, from search engines. I suggest that more sources should be considered when searching the web for details re: Executive Order 13603

–The Butcher

——-

(original item)

…The most ominous sign of possible things to come appeared on March 16, 2012, when President Obama signed executive order 13603 about “National Defense Resources Preparedness.”

This 10-page document is a blueprint for a federal takeover of the economy that would dwarf the looming Obamacare takeover of the health insurance business.  Specifically, Obama’s plan involves seizing control of:

*  “All commodities and products that are capable of being ingested by either human beings or animals”

*  “All forms of energy”

*  “All forms of civil transportation”

*  “All usable water from all sources”

*  “Health resources –  drugs, biological products, medical devices, materials, facilities, health supplies, services and equipment”

*  Forced labor ( or “induction” as the executive order delicately refers to military conscription)

Moreover, federal officials would “issue regulations to prioritize and allocate resources.”

Each government bureaucracy “shall act as necessary and appropriate.”

To be sure, much of this language has appeared in national security executive orders that previous presidents have issued periodically since the beginning of the Cold War.

But more than previous national security executive orders, Obama’s 13603 seems to describe a potentially totalitarian regime obsessed with control over everything.  Obama’s executive order makes no effort to justify the destruction of liberty, no effort to

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection an...

explain how amassing totalitarian control would enable government to deal effectively with cyber sabotage, suicide bombings, chemical warfare, nuclear missiles or other possible threats.  It’s quite likely there would be greater difficulty responding to threats, since totalitarian regimes suffer from economic chaos, colossal waste, massive corruption and bureaucratic infighting that are inevitable consequences of extreme centralization. Such problems plagued fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, communist China and other regimes.  Totalitarian control would probably trigger resistance movements and underground networks like those that developed in Western Europe during the Nazi occupation.  Totalitarian control could provoke more political turmoil than there was in the Vietnam War era of the 1960s.  There would probably be a serious brain drain as talented people with critical skills escaped to freedom wherever that might be….

More >> via Forbes