A senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Sowell has published more than a dozen books, the latest of which is Dismantling America.In introducing his new book, Sowell asserts that the Obama administration “is the embodiment, the personification, and the culmination of dangerous trends that began decades ago,” trends that are “dismantling America.” Sowell sees this in the dismantling of marriage, of culture, and of self-government.
Adds 6.5 million hours of paperwork needed to comply with federal rules. This is not a bug, it’s a feature.
Elizabeth Harrington reports: The Obama administration’s effort to eliminate red tape added $16 billion in regulatory costs, according to a new report by the American Action Forum obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
“Too often for this administration, regulations are regularly expanded and rarely repealed or modified.”
“President Obama signed executive orders (13,563 and 13,610) as part of an effort to ‘eliminate red tape.’ Federal agencies were told to ‘modify, streamline expand, or repeal’ existing regulations,” according to the report released by AAF, a center-right nonprofit led by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office.
“Once again, HHS is the runaway leader by imposing $16 billion in net costs and more than 25 million paperwork burden hours. The agency is, amazingly, responsible for 101 percent of the net cost increase, due to cost-cutting measures from other agencies.”
The American Action Forum has found the reviews consist mostly of recycled regulations by federal agencies that have actually increased regulatory costs.
“The American Action Forum concluded the retrospective review initiative is ‘little more than an attempt to promote additional regulation under the veil of ‘eliminating red tape.’”
“The recent ‘retrospective reports’ from the administration reveal that executive agencies have added more than $16 billion in regulatory costs, up from $14.7 billion in the previous update, and 6.5 million paperwork hours,” the report said.
The agency reviews are a result of President Barack Obama’s initiative for a “government-wide review of rules on the books,” which the White House claims to have led to $28 billion in net five-year savings since 2011.
However, the American Action Forum has found retrospective reviews often add additional costs to the economy. A review in 2014 added $23 billion in costs and 8.9 million paperwork burden hours.
“Too often for this administration, regulations are regularly expanded and rarely repealed or modified,” the organization said.
The most recent review listed 409 rules, up from last year, with agencies averaging 20 regulations apiece. The rules increased net costs by over $16.4 billion, with only two agencies reducing costs. One silver lining of the report was the Department of Transportation, which eliminated $847 million in costs and more than 21 million hours of paperwork. Read the rest of this entry »
The woman killed herself after shooting with an AK-47-type automatic gun. Another man was killed in the raid, a police official said. Three police officers were injured.
“A woman blew herself up at the start of a dawn raid Wednesday on an apartment in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis targeting suspects linked to Friday’s massacre in Paris,”
As the raid was unfolding, the Paris prosecutor said three men holed up in the apartment were detained, as well as a man and a woman nearby. Investigators didn’t immediately identify the detainees.
French authorities suspect Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian-born Islamic State operative and presumed mastermind of the deadly Paris terror attacks may be in Saint-Denis, where elite police were conducting the raid in the early hours of Wednesday morning, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor said.
If confirmed, Mr. Abaaoud’s presence in Saint-Denis—near the a sports arena where three suicide bombers detonated their explosive vest on Friday—would deepen concerns about Europe’s security. It would raise questions over how an Islamic State operative, who featured prominently on Western military’s target lists, slipped back through borders to sow terror in the heart of the continent.
As liberal adults abdicate, the kids take charge on campus.
By bonfire of the academy we mean a conflict of values about the idea of a university that now threatens to undermine or destroy universities as a place of learning. Exhibit A is the ruin called the University of Missouri.
In the 1960s—at Cornell, Columbia, Berkeley and elsewhere—the self-described Student Left occupied buildings with what they often called “non-negotiable” demands. In the decades since, the academy—its leaders and faculties—by and large has accommodated many of those demands regarding appropriate academic subjects, admissions policies and what has become the aggressive and non-tolerant politics of identity and grievance.
This political trajectory arrived at its logical end this week at Missouri with the abrupt resignation of the school’s president, quickly followed by its number two official. The kids deposed them, as their liberal elders applauded either out of solidarity or cowardice.
The cause of President Tim Wolfe’s resignation is said to be his failure to address several racially charged incidents on campus and the threat by its Division One football team to boycott this weekend’s game unless he stepped down.
The university’s campus, in Columbia, is not far from Ferguson, Mo. Among the charges against President Wolfe was that his response to the shooting of Michael Brown was inadequate, which is to say, he did not sufficiently take the side of the protesters or rioters. Since Ferguson, the left-wing Black Lives Matter group has come to prominence and intimidated even presidential candidates. This has been accompanied by successive claims of racial grievance against public and private institutions.
In the United States, by now the instinct of the overwhelming majority of people is to address such complaints in good faith, investigate them and remediate where necessary. Only the tiniest minority would wish to see racial grievances bleed indefinitely. Yet the kids assert that America is irredeemably racist. Read the rest of this entry »
Chicago to Apply 9% ‘Amusement Tax’ for ‘the Privilege of Witnessing, Viewing or Participating in the Chewing of Gum’Posted: July 12, 2015
[See also – Chicago to Apply 9% ‘Netflix Tax’]
Bills hampered by university leaders’ resistance, even in gun-friendly states
Of the 15 “campus carry” bills introduced earlier this year, none has passed.
“Nathan Scott, a former student at Florida State University who was shot in the leg in the school’s library by a gunman last November, said that having a gun would have helped him defend himself.”
Measures in 11 states have already effectively died, including in Florida, where gun-rights supporters had high hopes before two bills stalled before reaching floor votes.
And on Thursday, the Nevada senate defeated an 11th-hour move to tuck campus carry into a broader firearms measure, likely dooming the effort this year. Bills in at least two other states are expected to fail soon as well.
“If I had been armed, I would have shot the killer before he shot me, absolutely. It’s ridiculous that students aren’t able to carry.”
— Nathan Scott
Attention is now focused on lawmakers in Texas, who could vote to expand campus carry soon, in the waning days of the legislative session. A win in Texas, which could come as early as next week, could help keep the effort alive and provide momentum heading into 2016.
“Permit holders are more law-abiding than the general public, and there’s just no reason their constitutional rights should stop at the borders of a college or university.”
— Jennifer Baker, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association
The push to allow those with concealed-carry permits to carry firearms on campus picked up following the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech University, in which 33 people, including the gunman, were killed.
The National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups say students should have had the ability to defend themselves with firearms.
“Advocates of looser laws concerning guns on college campuses say that students trained with a gun would be better positioned to fend off a host of potential crimes, from sexual assaults to a Virginia Tech-style mass shooting.”
The U.S. Supreme Court, in its seminal 2008 ruling called District of Columbia v. Heller, found that the Second Amendment protects one’s right to possess a gun inside the home for self-defense. But the court didn’t say precisely when that right can be exercised in public. Since then, lower courts have wrestled with how to apply the Heller ruling to gun bans in public places, and legal experts think the Supreme Court will likely take up the question in another case before too long. Read the rest of this entry »
The owners of a pizza shop at the center of the debate over Indiana’s religious freedom law have gone into hiding.
— T Bradley (@TBradleyNC) April 3, 2015
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) April 4, 2015
The law’s latest version now prohibits business discrimination against protected groups like the gay community. It also forbids using the law as a legal defense in situations where such discrimination may have occurred. Read the rest of this entry »
Muslim Facial Hair, Amish Buggies, and Native American Peyote Rituals: This Map Shows Every State With Religious Freedom LawsPosted: April 2, 2015
Dave Johnson and Katy Steinmetz report:The national outcry over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) has turned attention towards the 19 states with their own versions of the law and the others that are considering similar measures. The timeline below shows when each state passed legislation, starting with Connecticut in 1993. Click on a state for links to the laws or pending bills.
The fight over RFRAs dates to 1990, when the Supreme Court ruled against an Oregonian named Al Smith, who was a quarter American Indian. He had argued that his use of peyote in a Native American Church ritual—an act that cost him his job—should be protected by the First Amendment. He lost, and the ruling made it easier for the government to place restrictions on the freedom of religion. Read the rest of this entry »
The debate over religious liberty has brought out some odd readings of American history
Fred Bauer writes: A number of forces are fueling the current debate about religious liberty in the United States: among them, good-faith efforts to promote the continued improvement of the Union, senses of cultural grievance, anti-religion paranoia, ignorance, self-righteousness, opportunism, partisanship, and new-wave authoritarianism. However, it might be helpful to see this debate as taking place against the backdrop of a clash between two different views of the role of religion in public life. On one side stand sectarian secularists, who want to remove religion from public life altogether, and on the other stand pluralists, who support a more open society.
“Leaving aside the religious and political beliefs of Americans before 1776, appeals to the divine suffuse American culture and politics. Many of the Founders — along with Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Martin Luther King Jr., and countless others — would have a bone to pick with those who say that our foundational rights do not come from God.”
Modeled in some respects on the French tradition of laïcité, sectarian secularism holds that appeals to religious ideas have absolutely no place in the public square, and its adherents will ridicule as out of bounds any appeal to the divine. This position goes well beyond a separation of church and state, which is about distinguishing the institutions of religion from those of governance, and instead suggests that the religious and the political should be entirely separate spheres. Unlike a more moderate and open-minded secularism, sectarian secularism seeks to police the bounds of public debate by rendering religious approaches to politics illegitimate.
“This sectarian-secularist approach seems to inform Chris Cuomo’s much-mocked declaration in February on CNN about the source of our rights: ‘Our rights do not come from God. That’s your faith. That’s my faith, but not our country’.”
This sectarian-secularist approach seems to inform Chris Cuomo’s much-mocked declaration in February on CNN about the source of our rights: “Our rights do not come from God. That’s your faith. That’s my faith, but not our country.” Particularly telling, and demonstrative of a sectarian-secularist viewpoint, is Cuomo’s insistence that it is somehow un-American to believe that our rights do come from God — that’s not “our country.” In a later Facebook post, Cuomo continued to insist that the language of the Declaration was not really part of American life: “Because the US does not draw on divine authority for recognition of rights.
“Particularly telling, and demonstrative of a sectarian-secularist viewpoint, is Cuomo’s insistence that it is somehow un-American to believe that our rights do come from God — that’s not ‘our country’.”
Founding documents were the beginning of course but the first amendment in that seminal constitution, which has infinitely more authority than the dec of indep obviously keeps faith out of government.” Cuomo is far from an outlier here. The past few weeks alone have offered numerous examples of attempts to stigmatize religious references in public debates. The sectarian secularists have defined once and for all what the U.S. is: a society where religion should be kept in the closet and not influence politics or policy-making.
“Pluralism offers a radically different account of the Republic. A pluralist welcomes all to the public square: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists alike.”
Pluralism offers a radically different account of the Republic. A pluralist welcomes all to the public square: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists alike. Pluralism does not seek to make the public square a hermetically sealed chamber, nor do pluralists ask believers to take off their faiths the instant they enter it. Indeed, pluralists believe that such a sealing off is practically and philosophically impossible.
“Pluralism does not seek to make the public square a hermetically sealed chamber, nor do pluralists ask believers to take off their faiths the instant they enter it.”
From a pluralist perspective, religion can perhaps never be fully separated from politics. Politics is shaped by broader philosophical principles about the ends of human existence, and one’s religious beliefs will undoubtedly influence one’s understanding of these principles. If one believes that all men and women are made in the image of a divine Creator, that will likely lead to a different set of principles from those that one would espouse if one believes that some people are innately better than others. Read the rest of this entry »
Burn Her! She Would Act Like a Witch in a Situation That Will Never Come Up!
Matt Welch writes: Someone please tell me if my progression here is inaccurate in any way:
1) Family owners of small-town Indiana pizzeria spend zero time or energy commenting on gay issues.
2) TV reporter from South Bend walks inside the pizzeria to ask the owners what they think of the controversial Religious Restoration Freedom Act. Owner Crystal O’Connor responds, “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no….We are a Christian establishment.” O’Connor also says—actually promises is the characterization here—that the establishment will continue to serve any gay or non-Christian person that walks through their door.
3) The Internet explodes with insults directed at the O’Connor family and its business, including a high school girls golf coach in Indiana who tweets “Who’s going to Walkerton, IN to burn down #memoriespizza w me?” Many of the enraged critics assert, inaccurately, that Memories Pizza discriminates against gay customers.
4) In the face of the backlash, the O’Connors close the pizzeria temporarily, and say they may never reopen, and in fact might leave the state. “I don’t know if we will reopen, or if we can, if it’s safe to reopen,” Crystal O’Connor tells The Blaze. “I’m just a little guy who had a little business that I probably don’t have anymore,” Kevin O’Connor tells the L.A. Times.
Rod Dreher titles his useful post on this grotesque affair “Into the Christian Closet,” and it’s apt considering the progression above. If only these non-activist restaurateurs had simply kept their views to themselves when asked by a reporter, April Fool’s would have been like any other day for them.
But as it stands, they’re now being trashed not just by social-justice mobs from afar, but by powerful politicians where they live and work. Democratic State Sen. Jim Arnold represents the O’Connors’s district. This is what he said about his constituents:
“The vast majority of people in this country are not going to stand by and watch that kind of activity unfold,” he said. “If that’s their stand I hope they enjoy eating their pizza because I don’t think anyone else is going to.”
Sen. Arnold says he’s upset by the news because of the negative attention it’s bringing to a town he says is a great community.
He said this kind of thinking has no place in this town. And the Religious Freedom Restoration Law is not an excuse for them to discriminate.
“This is America and if people say they’re not going to serve them and they feel this is some kind of defense, which by the way doesn’t take effect until July 1, but if they feel it’s some kind of defense, I think they’re sadly mistaken[.]“
Almost every word out of Sen. Arnold’s mouth was wrong, horrifying, or both.
1) The O’Connors did not say “they’re not going to serve them,” they in fact stressed the opposite. Read the rest of this entry »
“Apple’s Gay CEO Tim Cook Wants to Boycott Indiana for Its Allegedly Anti-Gay RFRA, But Will Gladly Sell You an iPhone At Its Boutique in Riyadh, Where They’ll Stone You to Death For Being Gay.”
Ramesh Ponnuru writes: Tim Cook, the chief executive officer of Apple, is spreading misinformation about a new religious-freedom law in Indiana. That law and similar ones, he writes in the Washington Post, “say individuals can cite their personal religious beliefs to refuse service to a customer or resist a state nondiscrimination law.” He goes on to claim that they “rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear. They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.”
“What these religious-freedom laws say is that government can require people to violate their religious beliefs only when it is pursuing a compelling interest, and must do so in the least intrusive manner possible. Thus the Supreme Court recently ruled under a federal religious-freedom law that a Muslim prisoner doesn’t have to shave his beard.”
Discrimination against gay customers or employees is what opponents of the law are especially concerned about. But that’s a strange argument to make in the context of Indiana, which lacks any state nondiscrimination law on sexual orientation for people to resist. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is legal almost everywhere in the state, and was before this religious-freedom law passed.
“Cook may not be aware of this point or others that cut against his argument because reporting on this controversy has been abysmal. Cook may also be unaware that the ‘wave of legislation’ that he fears has largely already happened. A very similar religious-freedom law has been on the federal books for 22 years…”
Cook may not be aware of this point or others that cut against his argument because reporting on this controversy has been abysmal. Cook may also be unaware that the “wave of legislation” that he fears has largely already happened. A very similar religious-freedom law has been on the federal books for 22 years, and that law itself codified a Supreme Court doctrine that had been in place for most of the previous few decades. Nineteen states besides Indiana have similar laws. Read the rest of this entry »
Long Lines Outside of California DMV in Exposition Park as Hundreds of Non-Citizens Apply for Driver’s LicensePosted: January 2, 2015
— Robert Holguin (@ABC7Robert) January 2, 2015
David Harsanyi writes: After news of the baffling decision by the New York grand jury not to indict a police officer in the killing of Eric Garner, I sent out a (slightly) hyperbolic tweet that wondered why Americans would want to entrust their free speech and health care to an institution that will kill you over failure to pay a cigarette tax.
If they can kill you over a cigarette tax, why would you trust them to run the internet, regulate your speech and choose your health care?
— David Harsanyi (@davidharsanyi) December 4, 2014
Since then, I’ve seen numerous tweets discounting this argument as preposterous. It’s something akin to blaming jaywalking for the death of Michael Brown, we’re told. Rand Paul touched on the issue in an interview on msnbc yesterday and was, predictably, ridiculed for it by liberals – because mentioning the circumstances of a violent act is preposterous, apparently.
Though it certainly isn’t close to being the most important lesson of this inexplicable case, it’s not something that should be dismissed so flippantly.
Garner wasn’t targeted for death because he was avoiding taxes, but nonetheless, prohibitive cigarette taxes unnecessarily create situations that make events like this possible.
We frame violent acts and unintended consequences in this way all the time. When we discuss how illegal immigrant women can be the helpless victims of domestic violence, we also blame unreasonable laws for creating the situation. Read the rest of this entry »
Gun Range Poison Scare Story Conveniently Appears 2 Weeks Before Election Featuring Billionaire-Funded Gun Control Initiative I-594Posted: October 20, 2014
“Drafted under the guise of preventing crime and funded almost solely by elitist billionaires with a proud background of stifling the Second Amendment, I-594 is an 18-page document that does nothing but impose heavy legal burdens on law-abiding gun owners and serious penalties for violations. These anti-gun billionaires believe that they can buy your rights out from under you, and I-594 is their attempt at doing so. I-594 will do nothing to make the people of Washington any safer, but will instead create bureaucratic hurdles that could turn law-abiding gun owners into criminals simply for exercising their constitutional rights….” (read more)
THE WASHINGTON COUNCIL OF POLICE & SHERIFFS OPPOSES INITIATIVE 594
The Washington Council of Police & Sheriffs, the state’s oldest and largest law enforcement organization opposes Initiative 594. WACOPS represents more than 4500 active duty police and sheriffs deputies. Click here to read WACOPS position paper on Initiative 594 (read more)
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has released a one-minute digital video as part of it’s online campaign to defeat Washington State Ballot Initiative 594. The video, titled I-594 Will Not Make Washington Safer, features Seattle resident Anette Wachter, “The 30 Cal Gal” blogger and U.S. Long Range Rifle Team member.
In the video, Wachter explains, “I-594 wastes scarce law enforcement resources on something that will not make Washington safer. And it will turn many law-abiding citizens into criminals for simply exercising their constitutional rights.”
HOW MICHAEL BLOOMBERG IS TWISTING THE GUN CONTROL DEBATE IN THE EVERGREEN STATE WASHING-CON
BY DAVE KOPEL
One way scam artists make money is by peddling mislabeled goods. The label on the can says “Wild Alaskan Salmon,” but what’s really inside is codfish from a filthy breeding pen in China, plus some food coloring.
Selling mislabeled goods is illegal, but there’s nothing illegal about mislabeled laws. Michael Bloomberg knows that difference, and he is exploiting it.
[Also see I-594 UNENFORCEABLE by Scott Brennan]
Right now in the state of Washington, Bloomberg is pushing a November ballot measure that is promoted as being about background checks for private sales. But it is really a law to criminalize most gun owners, including those who never sell guns. If passed, the deceptive Bloomberg ban for Washington state is then going to become the national model, to gradually be imposed on gun owners nationwide.
Bloomberg plans to run a similar ballot measure in Oregon in 2015 and in a dozen or more states in 2016. One of them is Nevada, where the 2016 campaign is already in progress. Bloomberg’s Nevada operation calls itself “Nevadans for Background Checks” and is operated by Melissa Warren, the managing partner at the Faiss Foley Warren Public Relations & Government Affairs lobbying firm.
Bloomberg and his minions claim they are just promoting background checks on private sales. But as usual, they are lying.
One way to tell that Bloomberg is selling a mislabeled law is to read the actual proposal. In this case, it is 18 pages long. It would only take a couple of pages to require background checks on private sales of firearms, if that were all the law did.
Instead, the law is a comprehensive scheme to criminalize the normal use of firearms, thus turning most gun owners into criminals, from whom firearms can be confiscated. Read the rest of this entry »