AreYouLiberal.Com
27Jan/15Off

Brickbat: House Calls

Dr. Carroll
Landrum says the people of poverty-stricken Edwards, Mississippi,
need him. But the state medical licensing board is trying to revoke
his license. They say he's incompetent. However, Landrum notes they
have provided no examples of his incompetence. He says they are
trying to take his license away just because he has no office and

practices out of his car
, going to meet patients at their homes
or other places convenient for them.

27Jan/15Off

Rare Identical Triplets Overcome the Odds for Healthy Birth

Liz Wells and Chris Jarobe recently became the proud parents of triplets. But they weren’t your average triplets. The three babies are identical.

Dr. Rob Hopkin, a geneticist from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, told WXIX that identical triplets are “very rare,” and are at an increased risk for birth defects or even death.

“There’s a very high risk with triplets, in particular identical triplets where one or more of them will have some birth defects,” Hopkin said. “More than half of the cases they lost one of the triplets.”

The three baby boys—Carson, Ayden and Liam—have already made their first TV appearance to celebrate the clean bill of health.

The post Rare Identical Triplets Overcome the Odds for Healthy Birth appeared first on Daily Signal.

27Jan/15Off

In Index of Economic Freedom, U.S. Is 12th Freest Economy

There is no single formula for overcoming challenges to economic development and maintaining economic dynamism, but one thing is clear: Around the globe, governments that respect and promote economic freedom provide greater opportunities for innovation, progress and human empowerment. The 2015 Index of Economic Freedom, released today, tracks policy developments affecting economic freedom across the world by looking at four primary areas: rule of law (property rights, freedom from corruption), government size (fiscal freedom, government spending), regulatory efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, and monetary freedom), and market openness (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom).

Here are five key points you should take away from this year’s Index:

  • The United States continues to be only the 12th-freest economy, seemingly stuck in the ranks of the “mostly free,” trailing such comparable economies as Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland. Although the downward spiral in U.S. economic freedom since 2008 has come to a halt with modest gains in six of the 10 economic freedoms, the 1.6-point decline in overall economic freedom over the past five years reflects broad-based deteriorations in key policy areas. Increased tax and regulatory burdens, aggravated by favoritism toward entrenched interests, have undercut America’s historically dynamic entrepreneurial growth. As Americans more than ever look to their future with growing frustration, 2015 should be the year of action to put America back on the path to freedom and revitalize its entrepreneurial pulse.
  • The global average economic freedom score has advanced to its highest level ever. Despite the continuing challenges that confront the world economy, the global average economic freedom score has improved over the past year by one-tenth of a point, reaching a record 60.4 (on a 0-to-100 scale) in the 2015 Index. Although the rate of advancement has slowed in comparison to last year’s near record 0.7-point increase, the world average has now reached a level a full point higher than that recorded in the aftermath of the financial crisis and recession.
  • 101 countries, the majority of which are less developed or emerging economies, showed advances in economic freedom over the past year. 37 countries, including Taiwan, Lithuania, Georgia, Colombia, Israel, Cabo Verde, Montenegro and Côte d’Ivoire, achieved their highest economic freedom scores ever in the 2015 Index.
  • Competition for the top spot in the Index rankings has intensified more than ever. The 2015 Index has recorded a number of noticeable realignments and achievements within the top 20 global economic freedom rankings. For example, although Hong Kong has maintained its status as the world’s freest economy, a distinction that it has achieved for 21 consecutive years, the gap between that territory and Singapore, the second-freest economy, has further vanished.
  • Countries with higher levels of economic freedom continue to outperform others in reducing poverty, achieving greater prosperity, and ensuring broader progress in many dimensions of social and human development. As the Index has catalogued, nations with higher degrees of economic freedom prosper because they capitalize more fully on the ability of the free-market system not only to generate, but also to reinforce dynamic growth through efficient resource allocation, value creation and innovation. Policies that promote freedom, whether through improvements in the rule of law, the promotion of competition and openness, or suitable restraints on the size and economic reach of government, turn out in practice to advance practical solutions to a wide range of economic and social challenges.

A recurring theme of human history has been resilience and revival. The country profiles in the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom include many examples of countries that have accelerated their economic and social progress in the face of difficult challenges and a sometimes harsh international environment. Their successes can be emulated by others. The Index charts not just one path to development, but as many as the ingenuity of humans can produce when they are free to experiment and innovate.

The 21st edition of the Index of Economic Freedom assesses economic policy developments in 186 economies in six regions around the world. Since its inception in 1995, the Index, an annual cross-country analysis by The Heritage Foundation, in collaboration with The Wall Street Journal, has tracked the progress of economic freedom and measured the impact of advancing economic liberty around the globe.

Find and learn more about the critical interplay between economic freedom, opportunity, and empowerment at www.heritage.org/Index.

The post In Index of Economic Freedom, U.S. Is 12th Freest Economy appeared first on Daily Signal.

27Jan/15Off

Star Parker’s Personal Confession on Why She Is ‘Adamant’ About Ending Abortion

While speaking at ProLifeCon at the Family Research Council last week, nationally syndicated columnist Star Parker called abortion a “crime against humanity,” and lamented the four children she aborted before her conversion to Christianity. “I got caught up in the lies of the left,” she said, “including their lies about abortion.” Watch the video for the whole story.

The post Star Parker’s Personal Confession on Why She Is ‘Adamant’ About Ending Abortion appeared first on Daily Signal.

27Jan/15Off

Tech at Night: Leftists selectively feign outrage over ghost writing

Socialists desperate to vilify private business in favor of a totalitarian nanny state are now asking us to get outraged over Comcast’s campaign to fight back.

Tell you what, guys. If ghostwriting is now disallowed, why don’t they go and look up how many industry letters, legislation, and books that Democrats have had ghost written for them? No? Oh, that’s what I thought.


Tell me, just try to tell me, that it’s not coincidence that this hit on Comcast is coming out just as FCC is talking about doing another deem-and-pass maneuver. You see, competition and innovation keep raising Internet speeds, so to keep their pretext that Americans face little competition, they have to keep raising the definition of high-speed Internet in order to save face.

It’s sort of like how they claim that a growing economy never helps the poor, when the definition of the poverty line merely shifts upward as Americans do grow better off.

I mean seriously even Netflix says you only need 3MBit down to use their service. The current standard is 4MBit, which is insane, and now the socialists want to up it to 25, a speed needed for “Ultra HD,” something most people may not even have televisions for! Never waste a crisis, the Democrats say, but sometimes you have to manufacture one out of whole cloth.

The post Tech at Night: Leftists selectively feign outrage over ghost writing appeared first on RedState.

26Jan/15Off

The 2016 Republican Presidential Candidates Disagree With House Republicans

RedState was pleased to help sponsor this past weekend’s Freedom Summit in Iowa. We asked the candidates runnig for President and others who were speaking five questions.

One of those questions was what they think about the House Republican Leaders pulling the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. They, and the members of Congress present, dissent.

The post The 2016 Republican Presidential Candidates Disagree With House Republicans appeared first on RedState.

26Jan/15Off

Gov. John Hickenlooper (D, Colorado) goes after the horrible scourge of… UNSANCTIONED YOGA INSTRUCTORS

Hey, John Hickenlooper is the governor and it’s his state agency that’s doing the crackdown on yoga certification*. Or should it be shakedown? – Because there’s apparently money in regulating this.

Teacher-training programs that are required to be certified must pay fees to the state. The state charges $1,750 for an initial provisional certificate that is good for up to two years, then $1,500 for a renewable certificate good for three years. It also charges $175 for every “agent” authorized to enter into a contract with a student, plus $3.75 per student per quarter. In addition, schools that have been certified must secure a minimum bond of $5,000, which is based on the amount of tuition collected.

You gotta wonder what the victory condition for Colorado is for this one. I mean, liberals like yoga, right? And Hickenlooper’s a liberal. You’d think that he’d do the smart thing and take this as an opportunity to get rid of a stupid set of regulations… and, yes, this is stupid. A remarkable amount of our licensing regime is based on the twin engines of stupidity and laziness: people write a quick regulation instead of making a specific, circumstances-based decision; and then other people expand that regulation to cover something that it had no business covering.  Happens. All the. Time.

So good job, Gov. Hickenlooper. You keep finding those enemies of the State! …As I said: he’s the governor.  Fish rots from the head down, and all that.

Via @Aaron_RS. Image via Shutterstock.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*To be fair, this program started up in 2002, under a Republican governor. To be equally fair, nobody enforced the dumb thing for a decade because it’s yoga.

The post Gov. John Hickenlooper (D, Colorado) goes after the horrible scourge of… UNSANCTIONED YOGA INSTRUCTORS appeared first on RedState.

26Jan/15Off

GOHMERT! God Will Punish America for Obama Dissing Netanyahu

SoundCloud

According to GOP Texas Rep. Louie "Terror Babies" Gohmert, the Christian God is going to punish America because Obama isn't sucking up to Benjamin Netanyahu.

This is your right wing, America.

26Jan/15Off

Witness the awesome power of the Blue State model in Democratic-controlled California!

To wit: they’re creating actual nomad clans over there.

Over the last two years, street encampments have jumped their historic boundaries in downtown Los Angeles, lining freeways and filling underpasses from Echo Park to South Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, a city-county agency, received 767 calls about street encampments in 2014, up 60% from the 479 in 2013.

Some residents believe the city is exporting its downtown homeless problem to their neighborhoods. But social service agencies and volunteers say it isn’t that simple. They say that although downtown development and skid row cleanups are squeezing out some homeless people, many camps are filled with locals.

…And those locals are clumping together (the article notes – idly! – that they’re already starting to self-select). The next step will be for the nascent clans to realize that they could probably do better for themselves if they group up formally and start a regular migratory pattern using known available resources.  The bit where they end up roaming the Californian landscape, estroying the Dirt People’s greedy, water-sucking cities in the process, will probably not be for a couple more generations. Even the Mongols needed some time to work things out.

…Yes, I am being facetious. Mildly, at least. But if that article didn’t fill you with a baffled and bemused dread of the idiocies that come out of California’s Democratic party-dominated state government, I don’t know whether to be appalled of, or impressed by, you. I mean, it seems blatantly obvious that the problem here is that the current system in California is nigh-designed to force people out of their houses and live in the streets; and if one wishes to fight that, one should start by figuring out why they’re making it harder for people to keep their houses, and stop doing those things.  But apparently jobs and homes are taken away from malignant evil Poverty Sprites… which would actually be accurate enough, as long as one concedes that they mostly work for the city, county, and state bureaucracies.

Telling you.  Nomad clans. You laugh now, but wait until the first news reports come in of a horde sacking Mendocino…

Via Instapundit.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

The post Witness the awesome power of the Blue State model in Democratic-controlled California! appeared first on RedState.

26Jan/15Off

Clearly What Indianans Need Is a Taxpayer-Funded State News Outlet

Pretty much every single
government agency or municipality in the United States—unless
they're really, really small—puts out its own press releases. They
are either ignored by the public or sometimes turned into a news
brief by a reporter (sometimes with very little actual reporting)
for a media outlet. Even then, if it's not about a crime, fire, or
other disaster it tends to be mostly ignored.

So the idea that Gov. Mike Pence (R) wants to start a state-run
media outlet may inspire all sorts of outrage about government
propaganda, but really the concern should be about pointless
government waste and the creation of unnecessary taxpayer-funded
jobs. From
The Indianapolis Star
:

Pence is planning to launch "Just IN" in late February, a
website and news service that will feature stories written by state
press secretaries and is being overseen by a former Indianapolis
Star reporter, Bill McCleery.

"At times, Just IN will break news — publishing information
ahead of any other news outlet. Strategies for determining how and
when to give priority to such 'exclusive' coverage remain under
discussion," according to a question-and-answer sheet distributed
last week to communications directors for state agencies.

The Pence news service will take stories written by state
communications directors and publish them on its website. Stories
will "range from straightforward news to lighter features,
including personality profiles."

The endeavor will come at some taxpayer cost, but how much is
unclear. A Pence spokeswoman declined comment Monday, saying the
administration would release more details soon. The news service
has two dedicated employees, whose combined salary is nearly
$100,000, according to a search of state employee salary data.

Who doesn't want to read "personality profiles" written by a
state communications director? No doubt Indiana citizens are
chomping at the bit to hear all about the hobbies of the new file
clerk that processes fishing licenses at the state's Department of
Natural Resources. Because make no mistake, that's exactly the kind
of crap that's going to come out of this endeavor.

In my experience as an editor, whenever a government agency gets
upset that the media isn't reporting what it wants to report, yes,
sometimes it's because they aren't getting favorable coverage on
controversial or complex matters. But in addition, government
functionaries often really, really think that whatever they do is
so very, very important and cannot fathom the idea that the public
doesn't want to hear all about it. Declining to cover a road crew
worker getting a county award for safety or a $10,000 federal grant
to facilitate pet adoptions confuses and even offends them
sometimes. Leslie Knope is much less funny in real life,
particularly to editors who are occasionally compared to Ron
Swanson.

Related: In 2013, Pence apologized for his office
deleting hundreds of comments
on the governor's official
Facebook page for disagreeing with his stance in opposition of
same-sex marriage recognition.

26Jan/15Off

This Federal Government Land Grab Would Permanently Lock Up Millions of Alaska Acres With Energy Potential

What do Yosemite and Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge have in common? Not a whole lot, but that isn’t stopping the Obama Administration from linking the two in a massive land grab attempt to prohibit American energy development.

The Obama administration is calling on Congress to designate more than 12 million acres in Alaska as wilderness, including the coastal plain, barring economic activity and energy development.

If Congress chose to act, it would be the largest wilderness designation since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Wilderness Act into law more than a half century ago. In making the announcement Interior Secretary Sally Jewel remarked, “Just like Yosemite or the Grand Canyon, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of our nation’s crown jewels and we have an obligation to preserve this spectacular place for generations to come.”

Huh?

Yosemite is a national landmark that attracts around 4 million visitors annually. Even if Yosemite were abundant in natural resources, its importance as a federal landmark trumps energy development.

The Arctic National Wildlife Reuge is a much different story. Slightly more than one thousand people visit the 19.6 million acres refuge each year.

And ANWR boasts massive energy potential. According to the U.S. Geologic Survey, an estimated 15-42 billion barrels of oil lie in ANWR’s 1002 Area, the Coastal Plain. The entire 1002 area represents 1.5 million acres out of more than 19.6 million. The Survey produced these estimations in 1998, where they said producers could extract 10.4 billion barrels–using 1990s drilling technologies–that lie beneath a few thousand acres with minimal environmental impact.

Seventeen years later, the technologies have vastly improved. By opening ANWR we could truly find out Alaska’s energy potential. Importantly, the U.S. Geologic Survey also notes that “nearly 80 percent of the oil is thought to occur in the western part of the ANWR 1002 area, which is closest to existing infrastructure.”   Oil produced in ANWR could relieve potential technological challenges Trans Alaska Pipeline System faces if the supply becomes too low.

While Alaska is home to many pristine areas, the 1002 Area is not one of them. The Department of Interior highlights that ANWR’s 1002 Area contains has no trees, deep water lakes or mountain peaks. Winters can get down to negative 30 degrees Fahrenheit and the area experiences 56 days without sunlight.   That doesn’t quite sound like the place you had in mind when you want to pack up the family for an RV trip.

At the heart of the issue is control over land management. The sheer size and diversity of the federal estate and the resources both above and below ground are too much for distant federal bureaucracies and an overextended federal budget to manage effectively. On the other hand, state governments and budgets can be more accountable to the people who will directly benefit from wise management decisions or marginalized by poor ones, making it more likely that resources will be both developed and developed safely in a way that protects the environment.

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee summed it up best: “What’s coming is a stunning attack on our sovereignty and our ability to develop a strong economy that allows us, our children and our grandchildren to thrive,” she said.

Instead of designating ANWR as wilderness, Congress should move America’s federal lands policy in the opposite direction. Instead of placing more control in Washington, Congress should allow states to manage the economic activities on federal lands within their states.

The post This Federal Government Land Grab Would Permanently Lock Up Millions of Alaska Acres With Energy Potential appeared first on Daily Signal.

26Jan/15Off

What’s Wrong With Obama’s Rush to Change Doctors’ Medicare Payments

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell has unveiled a major initiative to push Medicare physicians and other medical professionals out of fee for service (FFS), which pays based on specific services rendered, and into alternative payment models (APMs),

Before deciding that all Medicare providers must abandon Medicare fee-for-service, the Obama administration should make sure they have somewhere else to go.

APMs generally include models such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs), Bundled Payments (BP) and various Pay for Performance (P4P) programs that emphasize aggregating payments and making doctors and other medical professionals accountable for the quality as well as the cost of patient care. The goal is better quality, more efficient health care.

But make no mistake: the results to date on the performance of APMs do not support the administration’s enthusiasm. For example, a 2014 RAND study that extensively reviewed the performance of APMs found little, if any, effect in terms of quality improvement or cost reduction. In a separate report, “Modern Healthcare noted that, “The launch and operation of Medicare ACOs has been somewhat rocky, exposing flaws that some experts and providers worry will undermine participants’ ability to succeed.

According to early Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services results, less than half (54) of the initial 114 organizations that participated in ACOs achieved savings and of those, just 29 saved enough money to receive “shared savings” bonuses. In addition, for the 29 participating pioneer ACOs (more experienced organizations), the results showed that only nine achieved significant savings.

In addition to results in terms of quality and costs–results that are mixed at best–medical professionals have found that ACOs are exceedingly difficult to implement. Research by the Medical Group Management Association found implementing and/or optimizing an accountable care organization was one of the top five challenges for members, with 60.2 percent of respondents to one survey saying implementing ACOs was one of the biggest challenges, making it the fifth most challenging issue overall. In fact, of 44 issues facing medical practices, the top challenge for Medical Group Management Association members was preparing for new reimbursement models that include greater financial risk for practices.

There is another reason for caution. The reality is this: APMs as they currently exist are not available to all medical professionals. ACOs and PCMHs, two of the most common APMs are primary care-based models that have yet to encompass specialty care. Given the complex compliance requirements, physicians in smaller practices and rural settings will find it financially and administratively difficult, if not impossible to participate, leading more doctors to forgo private practice, exacerbating the trend toward market consolidation.

Granted, fee for service may have its flaws, but before blindly pushing Medicare doctors and other medical professionals out of fee for service and over the cliff, the Obama administration should be sure they have a safe place to land. The Brave New World of APMs may not be the panacea that Team Obama seems to think it is.

The post What’s Wrong With Obama’s Rush to Change Doctors’ Medicare Payments appeared first on Daily Signal.

26Jan/15Off

U.S. Military Honors Saudi King with Essay Contest (Seriously)

King AbdullahThe chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff want to make sure everybody knows just how dearly
the U.S. military treasured its friend, the recently departed king
of Saudi Arabia. To that end, the Department of Defense
has commissioned an essay contest
to honor the late monarch,
whose friendship with the U.S. was exceeded only by his sponsorship
of terrorism, butchery, and oppression.

King Abdullah "moderate
beheadings
" Bin Abdul-Aziz passed away last week at age 90.
Here is how the U.S. government glowingly describes his reign:

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said the essay competition is a
fitting tribute to the life and leadership of the Saudi Arabian
monarch.

Lifetime Supporter of U.S.-Saudi Alliance

The king was a lifetime supporter of his country’s alliance with
the United States. Abdullah ruled Saudi Arabia from 2005 to his
death, and served as regent of the country from 1995. He is
succeeded by King Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz.

“This is an important opportunity to honor the memory of the
king, while also fostering scholarly research on the Arab-Muslim
world, and I can think of no better home for such an initiative
than NDU,” Dempsey said in a statement announcing the
competition.

The competition will focus on issues related to the Arab-Muslim
world and is designed to encourage strategic thinking and
meaningful research on a crucial part of the world. The program
will be in place at NDU for the next academic year, officials
said.

‘A Man of Remarkable Character and Courage’

Dempsey first met Abdullah in 2001, when he was a brigadier
general serving as the U.S. advisor to the Saudi Arabian National
Guard. “In my job to train and advise his military forces, and in
our relationship since, I found the king to be a man of remarkable
character and courage,” Dempsey said.

Because it takes remarkable character and courage to preside
over a country that routinely beheads enemies, tortures political
dissidents, and jails religious dissenters.

Credit where credit is due, however: An essay contest
commemorating a Middle Eastern tyrant has to be one of the more
creative ways for the federal government to waste our money I've
seen lately.

For more on the Saudi situation, read J.D. Tuccille on
"The U.S. Government's Embarrassing Friend."

26Jan/15Off

Bobby Jindal’s Prayer Rally Explicitly Advocated a Christian Theocracy in America

YouTube

Media reports on Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's "prayer rally" made it seem completely unremarkable. Just some religious folks praying, that's all. Good clean fun for the whole Christian family!

But Right Wing Watch supplies us with a video clip that shows the true intention of this religious right crowd -- they ...

26Jan/15Off

Obama tweaks Murkowski with proposed drilling ban

anwr

While the new GOP majority in Congress seems afraid to attempt anything they promised in order to get elected, Obama seems to have a rather definite strategy in mind for keeping Congress from focusing on real issues. He’s going to barrage them with meaningless distractions. For instance:

The Obama administration will propose setting aside more than 12 million acres in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness, the White House announced Sunday, halting any chance of oil exploration for now in the refuge’s much-fought-over coastal plain and sparking a fierce battle with Republicans, including the new chair of the Senate Energy Committee.

“Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge is an incredible place — pristine, undisturbed. It supports caribou and polar bears, all manner of marine life, countless species of birds and fish, and for centuries it supported many Alaska Native communities. But it’s very fragile,” President Obama said in a White House video on the move.

The announcement, according to individuals briefed on the plan, is just the first in a series of decisions the Interior Department will make in the coming week that will affect the state’s oil and gas production. The department will also put part of the Arctic Ocean off limits to drilling as part of a five-year leasing plan it will issue this week and is considering whether to impose additional limits on oil and gas production in parts of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

As has been established in every round of fighting over drilling in ANWR, modern drilling has a very small footprint and wildlife has been shown to benefit from the human intrusion. This seems to be based less on any concern for the land than a way of drawing a response from nominal Republicans, like Lisa Murkowski:

“What’s coming is a stunning attack on our sovereignty and our ability to develop a strong economy that allows us, our children and our grandchildren to thrive,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the new chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement. “It’s clear this administration does not care about us, and sees us as nothing but a territory. . . . I cannot understand why this administration is willing to negotiate with Iran, but not Alaska. But we will not be run over like this. We will fight back with every resource at our disposal.”.

who after a little bit of needling by Obama cronies:

Speaking to reporters in India Monday, Podesta said that while GOP lawmakers had opposed several of Obama’s previous executive actions, “I was hoping that a more balanced reaction would be forthcoming from some of the people who have commented on this.”

“So we hope that we can find cooperation so that that wilderness designation ultimately can go through in the Congress,” Podesta added. “But we don’t think that the reaction that particularly Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Lisa Murkowski23%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard23% had to this announcement was warranted.”

can be expected to devote time and energy to fighting a “proposal” that may very well never materialize and may never have been serious in the first place. We can expect to see this played out again and again in the next Congress as Obama takes actions, real or proposed, that are calculated to tweak individual members of the GOP or sections of the GOP base.  Juvenile, to be sure, but hardly the most dangerous thing he’s done in office.

 

 

 

The post Obama tweaks Murkowski with proposed drilling ban appeared first on RedState.

26Jan/15Off

Ready, Aim, Fire: Choke Point Draws Heat From Gun Industry

LAS VEGAS—Banned from financial services that are essential to running a business, firearms sellers attending the world’s largest gun show last week in Las Vegas spoke out against the government’s controversial program known as Operation Choke Point.

“We continue to hear from dealers and others in our industry that suddenly, out of the blue, they have been cut off by financial services or credit card processors or banks,” said Larry Keane, Senior Vice President of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

We continue to hear from dealers and others in our industry that suddenly, out of the blue, they have been cut off by financial services. @lkeane

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which exists to protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports industry, is conducting a phone survey of over 7,000 of its members to determine the extent to which Operation Choke Point is affecting their industry. He said:

This is a direct result of the Department of Justice initiative, though the [Federal Depositors Insurance Corporation], to pressure financial institutions to stop doing business with legitimate law-abiding federally-licensed firearms dealers.

As The Daily Signal previously reported, gun sellers allege that they are being explicitly prohibited from using payment systems such as PayPal and Square to process credit card transactions.

>>> Firearms Sellers Say They’re Being ‘Choked Out’ From Payment Processors

The Justice Department, which spearheads this operation, maintains that Choke Point does not target businesses operating within the bounds of the law—only cases of fraud.

But accounts shared with The Daily Signal at the 2015 Shot Show, which boasted nearly 64,000 attendees, suggest the collateral damage caused by Operation Choke Point is a cause for concern.

Photo: Courtesy Michael Bazinet/SHOT Show

Photo: Courtesy Michael Bazinet/SHOT Show

The Last Lifeline

Patrick McWilliams, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and owner of SBR Tactical in Corpus Christi, Texas, told The Daily Signal that within one year, he was booted from Square, PayPal, and Intuit.

“I’m just that lucky I guess,” he joked.

McWilliams then came across Payment Alliance, one of the few gun-friendly payment processors that exists.

Since companies like Square and PayPal added firearms sellers to their “prohibited industry” list, Payment Alliance, which has been in business for nearly a decade, has experienced record growth.

“I hate it for the gun industry, but it’s our best source of business,” said Krista Lowery, a vice president at Payment Alliance.

I hate it for the gun industry, but it’s our best source of business. @PaymentAlliance

Lowery told The Daily Signal that she receives three to four new customers every week due to anti-gun payment processors dropping or freezing her customer’s accounts.

Photo: Courtesy Michael Bazinet/SHOT Show

Photo: Courtesy Michael Bazinet/SHOT Show

The Chilling Effect

People in the firearms industry are now proactively seeking out gun-friendly payment processors such as Payment Alliance.

“I watched what happened to other people in the industry—whether they were gun sellers or other trainers who started to have difficulty with those services—and as a result, I knew that I had to be particularly cautious,” said Paul Carlson, a firearms safety instructor from Chargrin Falls, Ohio.

Instead of going to Square or PayPal—as he might have pre-Operation Choke Point—Carlson went to Payment Alliance. He said:

I’m still indirectly affected by it…It’s one of those things that impacts my business and I have to keep it in mind when I make business decisions…that I could face potential hardships in the future if I make a poor choice.

Photo: Courtesy Michael Bazinet/SHOT Show

Photo: Courtesy Michael Bazinet/SHOT Show

Playing Defense

In order to operate, gun-friendly payment processors take extra precautions to partner with banks that don’t discriminate against firearms merchants.

“It’s 100 percent of our business to make sure Payment Alliance is firearms friendly,” Lowery said.

Ira Goodstadt, a former firefighter in both Long Island and south Florida, also created an online payment platform “designed by gun sellers, for gun sellers.”

The company, PistolPay.com, offers a phone app called Revolvr, which is a mobile firearm accessory marketplace.

In order to provide services for an industry deemed “high risk” by federal regulators, Goodstadt told The Daily Signal that he is also required to charge his customers higher fees.

He said:

The banks that we use to provide as a source for firearms industry processing classify firearms and firearms accessories as ‘high risk,’ which they then use to justify charging a higher percentage rage than a non-firearms business.

Goodstadt said the difference in charges can range from a whole 1.75 percent for a non-firearms seller to 2.75 percent for online firearms dealers, and sometimes higher depending on the business history of the customer.

Photo: Courtesy Michael Bazinet/SHOT Show

Photo: Courtesy Michael Bazinet/SHOT Show

What Makes a Business “High-Risk”

In 2011, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) classified gun selling as a “high risk activity,” along with 30 other industries.

In 2012, the Justice Department adopted the FDIC’s “high risk” list into official guidance it provides to banks under Operation Choke Point.

FDIC Choke Point List

Both the Justice Department and the FDIC have failed to explain why firearms and ammunition sellers were included on a list of “high risk” activities.

Neither agency responded to The Daily Signal’s request for comment regarding the inclusion of these industries.

>>> These 7 Emails Show Federal Officials Scheming to Target Legal Businesses

Last year after coming under scrutiny by Republicans in Congress, the FDIC told banks that it had removed the list of “high risk” activities from the agency’s website, stating it had “led to misunderstandings.”

Two House Oversight Committee reports led by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Cali, found that FDIC’s “high risk” list influenced banks to deny service to entire categories of legal businesses, like firearms sellers and payday lenders.

>>> FDIC Blames ‘Confusion’ For Choking Legal Businesses Owners’ Access to Banks

By removing the list, government officials intended to satisfy critics of the program.

But after speaking with firearms sellers and industry insiders at the nation’s largest gun show in Las Vegas, it appears that little—if anything—has changed.

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