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1Oct/14Off

Senate Breakers Report and Governors Breakers Report: Oct 1

Senate RCP 10 1 14
When we last left the Senate races on Friday, the state of the polling was consistent with the theory that undecided voters would break for the GOP due to President Obama’s low approval ratings and the consequent surge for the GOP in the generic ballot, but we had not yet seen enough movement to conclude that this was actually going to happen. We have new polling since then in eight of the 20 “battleground” Senate races, and the story remains similar, but slightly more optimistic for Republicans in a few of the key races, notably Iowa. But we still lack good polling in Kansas, and the New Hampshire Senate races continues to look like the toughest nut to crack. I’ll also discuss the governors races below.

The Senate

Senate Breakers 10 1 14

This is a slightly different format for the chart, which once again is drawn from the RealClearPolitics polling averages. As before, the R2% column shows the Republican’s current percentage of the two-party vote (the only metric that matters); U% is the percentage of the polled electorate that is either undecided or currently backing a minor third party candidate, but in one race, South Dakota, former Republican Senator Larry Pressler gets enough support to be included in the RCP average, so I list his support separately. “R to 50″ shows what percent of the undecided/independent vote the Republican needs to get to 50.01% of the vote and win; in South Dakota, I used 50.01% of the non-Pressler vote. The races shown in bold have new polling since September 26; in this and the governors’ races chart, I put an asterisk next to races where there’s not enough polling for RCP to compute an average. I also added an extra row at the bottom that shows that the two GOP contenders in Louisiana, Bill Cassidy and Rob Maness, need between them to capture less than a quarter of the remaining undecideds to force Mary Landrieu into a December runoff (which if the polls hold up would be against Cassidy). As you can see, if we take the polls at face value, Iowa has now slid into the column of races in which the GOP candidate, Joni Ernst, no longer needs to win even 40% of the remaining undecided voters, while Scott Brown in New Hampshire has to either shake loose some of Jeanne Shaheen’s support or win just about every undecided voter left. And of the true battleground races, outside of Kansas, only Shaheen and Al Franken in Minnesota are polling above 44.2% – figures consistent with Sean Trende’s thesis that the Democrats will end up struggling to run much ahead of Obama’s approval rating (even in the races they’re winning – Rasmussen’s latest Illinois poll had Dick Durbin at 51%, Obama’s approval rating in Illinois at 53%). As before, I caution that polling is an inexact science; these are not in any sense precise projections of these races, so much as a quick snapshot of how to read the polling data we have at present.

That’s the state of the race – now for the trends. Here’s how the races have moved since I did my initial Senate poll roundup on June 26:

Senate Trendline 626 to 101

I left Kansas off this and the next chart, since the 17-point swing from Chad Taylor’s poll position in June to Greg Orman’s apparent poll position today would swamp the entire rest of the national trend. As you can see, measured by the change in the leader’s margin in the race, the Republican position improved by at least 1 point in 14 out of 20 races, by at least 2 in 12 out of 20, and by at least 4 in 6 out of 20; the GOP’s position has deteriorated by at least a point in just 3 out of 20 races (including Kansas), and in the one really competitive race that has seen a slight falloff (North Carolina), the Democrat’s position in the polls has gone down, just a little less than the Republican’s (a sign of what a fundamentally weak candidate Thom Tillis is, due mainly to the unpopularity of the GOP state legislature). The overall trendline over these 19 races shows a 1-point drop in the Democrats’ polls and a 1.5 point improvement in the Republicans’.

Now let’s look at the trend just since September 15:

Senate Trendline 915 to 101

A positive movement of at least 1 point in the net position of the GOP in 8 out of 19 races, and a falloff in just 2, is a pretty good showing for a two-week period, and some of the biggest moves have come in the tightest races – Colorado, Iowa, Alaska, Louisiana – although we’ve also seen an unsurprising tightening in the Virginia Senate race, which remains only nominally competitive but which was always likely to be closer than the early polls indicated.

Kansas and North Carolina are still looking stubbornly disappointing for the GOP, in good part due to hostile state political environments counterbalancing a positive national environment, and races like New Hampshire and Michigan remain uphill battles. But the polls, the trends and the national fundamentals still favor a significant gain of seats for Republicans in the Senate. What the Democrats are countering with is the advantage of incumbency: a big edge in fundraising and a massive operational push to get out the vote, especially early. That push should be viewed with some skepticism: Republicans in 2006 made all the same noises about Karl Rove (then still viewed with a sort of superstitious awe by a lot of people on both sides) bringing in the GOP’s vaunted ground game. That said, after 2012, many of us are loath to entirely dismiss the Democrats’ edge in money and organization. Time will tell.

The Governors

As a bonus, let’s use the same methodology to examine the governors’ races, all 36 of them:

Gov Breakers 10 1 14

Again, there are two races here, Hawaii and Maine, with significant third-party candidacies (in both cases, probably helpful to the Republicans) and three without enough polls for RCP to conduct an average (we have only one post-primary poll in Rhode Island, for example). Broadly speaking, the governors’ races are a lot less regularly polled by national pollsters, so there could be more late surprises here. But the current polling shows a lot of tight races. And look closer at this chart, which ranks the 15 closest races by the Democrat’s share of the vote:

Gov Breakers D 10 1 14

Notice that – with the exception of Alaska, where the polling on “independent” candidate Bill Walker’s challenge to Sean Parnell is particularly terrible – there are only two Democrats on this list polling at 44% or better, and only one above 45%, Mary Burke in Wisconsin. And Burke is losing – the Wisconsin governor’s race is tied with the New Hampshire Senate race for the fewest undecided voters in the country (unsurprisingly – Scott Walker is running for the same job for the third time in five years, so the voters have fairly fixed opinions of him). Late-deciding voters, representing 12-21% of the electorate in 13 of the 15 races, will be decisive in all of these races. It’s questionable whether the GOP is likely to enjoy the same advantages among late-deciding voters that history suggests it should have in the Senate races, since these races may be more focused on state issues and give Democrats more cover to avoid association with President Obama, but certainly the national environment should be more help than hurt to Republicans in most of these races (that said, there are hot races in places like Illinois, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Maine where Obama remains reasonably popular).

The last 34 days of this campaign season (less, in states that begin early voting soon or already have) will force those voters to make up their minds, and that will put to the test the theory that they will break for the GOP in line with the national political environment and recent history.

The post Senate Breakers Report and Governors Breakers Report: Oct 1 appeared first on RedState.

1Oct/14Off

In an “Open Carry” State Like Ohio, Why Was John Crawford Shot by Police in Wal-Mart?

Image via Shutterstock

Here's a great article at Salon by Heather Digby Parton on America's messed up and often racist gun culture, and why "Open Carry" groups don't understand the factors that create police brutality like the shooting of John Crawford in an Ohio Wal-Mart.

After finally being allowed to view ...

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Lunatic Policy Prevents Targeting Muslims in Defense Against Ongoing Islamic Terror War

Due to the power vacuum Obama created by prematurely withdrawing our troops from Iraq, the Islamic State is expanding at explosive speed. Not only has it been beheading Americans in

1Oct/14Off

Don’t Panic About Ebola—And Don’t Panic About People Panicking Either

Galactic advice.When the
news broke yesterday that a man in Dallas had been diagnosed with
Ebola, my colleague Ron Bailey delivered the news with some
sensible advice: "Don't
Panic!
" He had plenty of company. Politico published a

story
headlined "Ebola's here: Don't panic." The Los
Angeles Times
explained
"why you don't need to panic," and Business Insider

told us
"Why You Shouldn't Panic." Salon,
uncharacteristically cautious,
said
"there's (probably) no reason to panic." And in Ebola's
new home, The Dallas Morning News ran an
item
headlined "Why a positive Ebola test in Dallas is no cause
for panic." I
could go on
, but you get the picture: The press is filled with
people who don't want you to panic.

For the record, I don't want you to panic either. Even if I
thought Ebola was going to spark a public health crisis in America,
I wouldn't tell you to panic. Panic is always a bad idea, pretty
much by definition. You shouldn't do it.

The most patronizing logo on television.

But while it's fine for the media to tell us not to panic about
Ebola, let's bear in mind that the people most likely to panic
about Ebola are the media. Everyday citizens tend to keep their
heads in situations like this. As I
wrote
half a decade ago, when the purported panic on the
horizon involved swine flu, "It's easy to find examples of public
anxiety, with every hypochondriac in the country fretting
that the cold his kid always catches this time of year was actually
the killer flu. But panic? Where's the evidence of that?" Going
through a series of stories that were supposed to show flu
hysteria, I was underwhelmed. A Time
feature
, for example, had a headline that said a "swine flu
panic" had hit Mexico, but the actual article didn't demonstrate
that:

It tells us that many Mexicans donned facemasks, as
recommended by their government; that stores quickly sold out of
masks and vitamin supplements; that schools in Mexico City shut
down; that some people left the city and others stayed put. In
other words, it tells us that ordinary Mexicans were taking
ordinary precautions. The Bild report merely informs us
that a few schools in New York had closed and that many children
displaying flu-like symptoms were sent home. The Guardian
timeline includes a series of links to Mexican photographs that
allegedly "capture the sense of panic everywhere." Click through,
and you'll see pictures of people calmly going about their business
while wearing masks. My favorite photo features a woman on a subway
reading a newspaper, a vaguely bored look in her eyes. If this is
panic, we need a new word for chaotic stampedes.

Still the go-to photo for anything involving the swine flu outbreak of '09.Even the CNN story, which at
least involves exaggerated worries and a potentially destructive
diversion of resources, stops well short of describing a public
panic. We learn that the number of patients at the emergency
department at Chicago Children's Memorial Hospital more than
doubled after the flu hit the news; we learn that some hospitals in
California set up triage tents to separate the sick from the merely
anxious. We learn nothing about people storming ERs, fighting each
other for dwindling medical supplies, or acting in anything other
than an orderly way.

"People are sharing information, they're seeking out information,
they're asking questions about whether or not they have the
symptoms," says Jeannette Sutton, a researcher at the Natural
Hazards Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder. "Those are
not incidents of panic or hysteria. That's rational thinking, where
people are asking questions and trying to make decisions based on
the information they have available to them."

When I distinguish anxiety from panic, I'm not
just splitting hairs. The fear of panic—actual panic—has shaped
public policy in unfortunate ways. During a disaster, it's not
uncommon for officials to hold useful information close to their
vests because they don't want to "spread panic," even though nine
decades of research have established that the public almost always
remains calm in such a crisis....Now imagine if those officials
instead argued that they should hold back important information
because they don't want to "spread anxiety." Their position would
sound absurd. Nothing fans anxieties like a dearth of solid
information, and nothing resolves anxiety like concrete
data.

Yes, "panic" is a flexible word. I myself use
it
rather
broadly
 when the subject
is a so-called moral
panic
, trusting readers to understand that the phrase is a
metaphor. But let's be clear about what social threats (as
opposed to medical threats) should worry us. In Dallas right now,
the chances that people will start stampeding in the streets is
far, far smaller than the chances that scare-mongering coverage
will make it harder to get good information.

In that spirit, I appreciate all those don't-panic pieces. I
just hope they're being read in the rest of the newsroom.

1Oct/14Off

Convicted Cop-Killer Beloved by Liberals to Give Yet Another College Commencement Address

No serious person has ever doubted that Mumia Abu-Jamal, as Wesley Cook chooses to call himself, is guilty of murdering Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. He didn’t try to hide

1Oct/14Off

New California Law Takes Away Second Amendment Rights Based on Flimsy Standards

Yesterday California Gov. Jerry Brown
signed a bill
 that strips people of their Second Amendment
rights based on claims that they pose a danger to themselves or
others.
AB 1014
allows a cop or "an immediate family member"—which

includes
not just spouses, children, siblings, and parents but
also in-laws and roommates, both current and former—can seek a "gun
violence restraining order" that prohibits an individual from
possessing firearms and authorizes police to seize any he currently
owns. Such an order can initially be obtained without any notice or
adversarial process.

If the applicant is a cop, he must have "reasonable cause" to
believe "the subject of the petition poses an immediate and present
danger of causing personal injury" to himself or someone else. If
the applicant is a relative or roommate, he must show there is a
"substantial likelihood" that "the subject of the petition poses a
significant danger, in the near future, of personal injury" to
himself or someone else. Either standard suffices to take away
someone's right to arms for three weeks, after which he has an
opportunity for a hearing where the petitioner has to show by
"clear and convincing evidence" that he "poses a significant danger
of personal injury" to himself or others. If the judge decides that
test has been met, he issues a one-year restraining order than can
be renewed annually.

"Clear and convincing evidence" is a fairly demanding standard,
weaker than "beyond a reasonable doubt" but stronger than a mere
"preponderance of the evidence," which may amount to a probability
just a hair above 50 percent. Clear and convincing evidence, by
contrast, is supposed to mean a claim is "highly and substantially"
more probable than not to be true. Still, one can imagine
circumstances in which innocent people who pose no threat to others
lose their Second Amendment rights for a year or longer, especially
since preventing self-harm is considered a valid reason for
granting a petition.

The standards for 21-day orders are even more troubling. The
"reasonable cause" that police officers have to show is barely more
than a hunch. It is even weaker than the "probable cause" standard
for a search warrant, which has no precise definition but is pretty
easy to meet. (For example, the Supreme Court has said a police
dog's purported "alert," which may
correspond
to a probability of around 16 percent even when the
alert is genuine and the dog is properly trained, is
enough
 for probable cause.) The flimsy standard for taking
someone's firearms is especially striking because a gun violence
restraining order based on reasonable cause automatically justifies
a search warrant, which ordinarily requires probable cause. If the
subject of an order fails to surrender his guns, police can get a
warrant to seize them. The "substantial likelihood" that "an
immediate family member" has to demonstrate may in practice be
equivalent to probable cause, but it seems like taking away
someone's constitutional rights for three weeks should require
evidence stronger than you need to search his apartment for an
hour.

These standards leave lots of room for mistakes and mischief.
Now that the option is available, police, relatives, and judges may
be inclined to err on the side of what they take to be caution,
giving little weight to the loss of liberty these orders entail.
The orders may also be an appealing method of revenge or punishment
for angry ex-lovers, disgruntled former roommates, and hateful
brothers-in-law. It is a misdemeanor to make false claims in a
petition or to file one "with the intent to harass," but that
offense generally will be hard to prove, especially since the
evidence cited by petititioners may amount to unverifiable reports
of what the subject said or did.

This law is ostensibly a response to Elliot Rodger's murders in Isla
Vista last May, which is puzzling. Although Rodger's mother was at
one point concerned that he might harm himself (based on a YouTube
video she had seen), as far as I know no one in his family was
aware that he owned guns. In a case with different facts, of
course, it is conceivable that one of these new restraining orders
might stop a would-be mass murderer. But it's more likely this law
will become a tool of meddling and harassment that mostly affects
people with no homicidal intent.

1Oct/14Off

Webcam Girl Sasha Pain Selling Sexy Clips to Support Ferguson Protesters

Webcam performer Sasha Pain is putting her sexual
prowess and social-media popularity to use in support of Ferguson,
Missouri, protesters. Pain, her boyfriend, and video-journalist
Jessica Hollie traveled from San Francisco to Ferguson last weekend
with the goal of filming what's happening there and sharing it with
her significant fan
base
 and friends back home whom she says haven't paid
attention to Michael Brown's
shooting
 and its aftermath.

"I want people who follow me to have to see it," Pain
told St. Louis alt-weekly Riverfront Times
.

"This isn't something that happened to me or in my town, but
it's something that happened to a citizen of my country and a son
to somebody. That's enough for me to be here. This is what people
need to focus on."

Pain and crew arrived in Ferguson Saturday night, where they
found fellow protesters welcoming and local police officers acting
as we've come to expect from them:

"The cops keep fucking pulling up bullshit laws and telling
people they can't do things that they should legally be able to do.
(The protesters are) not letting it get them down. They're working
around it, and they're becoming more creative and resilient. It's
amazing."

While in Missouri, Pain said she plans to continue making webcam
sex videos, with all proceeds beyond her and her friends' basic
living expenses going to help supply protesters with things like
food, first-aid supplies and gas masks. The trio doesn't plan to
partake in protests because "that's not my place," Pain told the
Times.  

"But I will do what I can to make it less painful, more safe and
easier on them because that's what I'm here for."

See Jessica Hollie's Ferguson videos
here
Pain's Ferguson
videos
here, and support a good cause here
(NSFW).  

1Oct/14Off

Throw Away a Banana Peel, Pay a Fine in Seattle

Composting is great, but should
it be mandatory? The Seattle City Council thinks so. Last week all
nine councilmembers decided that those who fail to put their banana
peels in the right bin will pay a fine.  

The penalty is $1 for individual households, whereas apartments
and commercial buildings will receive two warnings and then a $50
fine.

The Seattle Times
explains
how dissident trashers will be caught:

Under the new rules, collectors can take a cursory look each
time they dump trash into a garbage truck.

If they see compostable items make up 10 percent or more of the
trash, they'll enter the violation into a computer system their
trucks already carry, and will leave a ticket on the garbage bin
that says to expect a $1 fine on the next garbage bill.

Apartment buildings and businesses will be subject to the same
10 percent threshold. … Dumpsters there will be checked by
inspectors on a random basis.

Collectors will begin tagging garbage bins and Dumpsters with
educational tickets starting Jan. 1 when they find violations. But
fines won't start until July 1.

Seattle Public Utility (SPU Director Tim Croll
tells
the Times:

SPU hasn't decided whether it's going to have an appeals
process. The new law doesn't set out any such process. SPU wants to
see how people behave before it decides.

SPU will spend about $400,000 on education, outreach and
marketing for the law. But the agency doesn't expect any additional
enforcement costs.

"So, why is Seattle making residents compost?" asks
CNN. "The city was not going to meet its self-imposed goal of
recycling 60 percent of all waste."

Although the city requires residents to compost, it
does not
foot the bill for the approved composting equipment,
which can range in price from
$80 to $238

1Oct/14Off

Activist Robert Kennedy Jr. Denies He Wants to “Jail Climate Change Deniers” – Actually Wants to “Execute” Climate Villain Corporations and Think Tanks

Robert Kennedy Jr.In his article, "Jailing
Climate Deniers
" over at EcoWatch, prominent
environmental activist Robert Kennedy Jr. magnanimously allows that
individual Americans - even misguided souls who question the
scientific consensus on man-made global warming - have a First
Amendment right to speak their piece. Corporations and think tanks,
however, are another matter. Kennedy argues that such organizations
do not enjoy free speech protections and therefore can and should
be targeted for death by activist state attorneys-general. As
Kennedy explains: 

Laws in every state maintain that companies that fail to comply
with prescribed standards of corporate behavior may be either
dissolved or, in the case of foreign corporations, lose their
rights to operate within that state’s borders. These rules can be
quite expansive and, in contrast to the U.S. Supreme Court’s
­­­­recent rulings on campaign finance law, companies, under state
laws, enjoy far less protection than human beings. New York, for
example, prescribes corporate death whenever a company fails to
“serve the common good” and “to cause no harm.”...

Any state attorney general with the will, resolve and viscera to
stand to up to the dangerous and duplicitous corporate
propagandists, has authority to annul the charters of each of these
mercenary merchants of deceit. An attorney general with
particularly potent glands could revoke the charters not just oil
industry surrogates like AEI and CEI, he or she could also withdraw
state operating authority from the soulless, nationless oil
companies that have sponsored “Big Lie” campaigns and force them to
sell their in-state assets to more responsible competitors.

Koch Industries and ExxonMobil have particularly
distinguished themselves as candidates for corporate death. No
other companies have worked harder or spent more money to impede
the government from taking action on global warming to safeguard
public welfare. Both companies have employed artifice on a massive
scale and spent tens of millions of dollars to purchase fraudulent
junk science. The greedy, immoral, anti-social pathology behind
ExxonMobil and Koch’s mendacious crusade is even starker given the
open acknowledgment since 2007 by the other major oil companies
including Shell, Chevron and BP, that burning oil is causing
climate change.

Besides the usual suspects of ExxonMobil and Koch Industries,
Kennedy offers a preliminary list of groups that he thinks deserve
execution: 

Among the groups that have received millions from Exxon and Koch
Industries are the Cato Institute, The Heritage Foundation, Cooler
Heads Coalition, Global Climate Coalition, American Legislative
Exchange Council (ALEC), Americans for Prosperity, Heartland
Institute, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), George C.
Marshall Institute, State Policy Network, Competitive Enterprise
Institute (CEI) and American Enterprise
Institute (AEI).

Of course, this kind of thing could get out of hand. Who knows
but that some brave state attorneys-general might decide to
"execute" prominent organizations that misrepresent the science on
the safety of, say, biotech
crops
, or
vaccines
?

For more background, see my article, "Confessions
of an Alleged ExxonMobil Whore
." 

1Oct/14Off

Dropping the TSA: 19th Airport Joins More Efficient Private Screening Program

Tired of long lines at TSA airport checkpoints? Today, the Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) began a transition to private security screeners rather than Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners in a change that promises more efficient security measures.

SFB just joined the TSA’s Screening Partnership Program (SPP) that allows airports to replace TSA screeners with more flexible and cost-effective screening services provided by private companies and overseen by the TSA. While this may seem strange to many Americans who have grown accustomed to TSA-manned checkpoints, it really isn’t abnormal for airports to manage their own security with government regulation and oversight. After all, most European airports are run this way, and now 19 airports in the U.S. are as well.

The main benefits of the SPP are enhanced productivity and lower costs, while maintaining equal or greater levels of security. How can this be? One major reason is that the private sector can be far more efficient and flexible in hiring and training employees than the government, reducing employee turnover, increasing productivity, and lowering personnel costs even though salaries and benefits are identical to TSA agents. A study by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure found that taxpayers could save “$1 billion over five years if the Nation’s top 35 airports operated as efficiently as [San Francisco International Airport] does under the SPP model.”

With TSA managers still overseeing screening operations at SPP airports, security is not endangered. In fact, when the workforce is better managed under the SPP, other benefits including better security and better customer service, naturally follow.

The TSA, however, has been loath to get out of frontline screening. The TSA started rejecting all requests for SPP expansion in 2011 until Congress acted in 2012 to reverse the TSA. The TSA has been slow to approve SPP requests as it has held that the SPP is actually more expensive, even though various government and nongovernment studies have criticized its findings.

As SFB joins the list of SPP-administered airports, the TSA should do more to get out of the personnel management game and return its focus to overseeing security at U.S. airports. The existing SPP framework should be reformed to allow more airports to easily join SPP and to choose their own contractors from a list of TSA-approved screeners.

The SPP offers better, more efficient, and friendlier screening for less money. SFB and 18 other airports are reaping these benefits—isn’t it about time the SPP came to the airport nearest you?

The post Dropping the TSA: 19th Airport Joins More Efficient Private Screening Program appeared first on Daily Signal.

1Oct/14Off

New York Times Surprised That Republicans Don’t Want to See Obama Murdered

Peter Baker. |||Swear to God, this is the lead
paragraph of a New York Times
article
by Peter Baker:

President Obama must be touched by all the concern
Republicans are showing him these days. As Congress examines
security breaches at the White House, even opposition lawmakers who
have spent the last six years fighting his every initiative have
expressed deep worry for his security.

If the sarcasm of "touched" and the jaw-dropping deployment of
the word "even" don't make it clear enough, Baker later writes,
"Yet it would not be all that surprising if Mr. Obama were a little
wary of all the professed sympathy." And he finishes the article
with the sardonic phrase, "all with Mr. Obama's interests at
heart." What a rancid view of the world.

In unrelated news, The New York Times today
announced it is
eliminating 100 newsroom jobs
, due to poorer-than-expected
financial results.

Link via the Twitter feed of
National Review writer Charles C.W. Cooke.

1Oct/14Off

Elizabeth Warren: Money talks and populist bullcrap walks

elizabeth warren2If politicians “grow” in office, then Elizabeth Warren can now play center for the San Antonio Spurs and claim Japan’s Sumo championship title.

Warren’s only compelling attribute, other than the high cheekbones that are a hallmark of Cherokee ancestry, is her reputation as an “economic populist,” someone who, like most rich liberals, spends every waking hour nannying you to make sure you are making the right choices.

In Democratic circles, disappointment in the promise of the Obama presidency and unease over a possible restoration of the Clintons have made the senator, who was sworn in just 10 months ago, the object of huge interest and the avatar of a newly assertive, fervently populist left eager for a more confrontational approach to politics.

But in seizing on issues animating her party’s base — the influence of big banks, soaring student loan debt and the widening gulf between the wealthy and the working class — Ms. Warren is challenging the centrist economic approach that has been the de facto Democratic policy since President Bill Clinton and his fellow moderates took control of the party two decades ago.

So why is Elizabeth Warren championing the extension of the charter of the Export Import Bank? An organization that epitomizes crony capitalism? (RedState coverage of the Export Import Bank) In July, Heritage Action reached out to Warren to cooperate on killing the Export Import Bank. This is not a stretch. There have been numerous cases where conservative and liberal groups have made common cause and this seem logical based on Warren’s reputation:

Could the dynamic repeat itself on the question of whether to renew the U.S. Export-Import Bank? Heritage Action of America thinks so.

The Tea Party-aligned group sent a letter today to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat known for taking populist stands against corporate America, inviting her to speak about  ending the lender “and the political favoritism it engenders.”

“We, like you, are frustrated with a political economy that benefits well-connected elites at the expense of all Americans,” Heritage Action Chief Executive Officer Michael Needham wrote. “Your presence will send a clear signal that you are going to fight the most pressing example of corporate welfare and cronyism pending before Congress right now.”

Alas, it doesn’t sound like the former Harvard law professor will be lecturing to Heritage audiences any time soon.

“Senator Warren believes that the Export-Import Bank helps create American jobs and spur economic growth, but recognizes that there is room for improvement in the bank’s operations,” Warren spokesman Lacey Rose tells us in an e-mail. “She looks forward to reviewing re-authorization legislation if and when it is introduced.”

While she did vote against the bill extending the charter her objection, according to Reason’s Shikha Dalmia, was to the aid to Syrian rebels included in the package.

What then has motivated this particular leopard to change her spots? Cash. And a perceived chance to take control of Congress.

Congressional battles over the Export-Import Bank and terrorism insurance are an opportunity for Democrats to win back corporate elites who abandoned the party after the passage of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reforms, according to one of that law’s primary architects, former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.).

Business leaders, Frank said, have begun to focus on the “increasing domination by the Republican Party now by the people who don’t believe in reasonable governance of the sort that the business community needs.”

“I think this is finally starting to get to the business community now,” he told HuffPost during a July interview. “Part of this was the real significance of the defeat of [then-House Majority Leader] Eric Cantor. Eric Cantor was one of [Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd] Blankfein’s best friends in government. His wife used to work [at Goldman] and they were personally friendly — of course, a great recipient of money. And then Cantor loses and now Kevin McCarthy shifts his position on the Export-Import Bank.”

Warren is the embodiment of the axiom that money talks and bull**** walks. She talks populism and looking after the “little guy” but when push comes to shove she is as much a tool of corporate interests as any plutocrat in politics.

 

The post Elizabeth Warren: Money talks and populist bullcrap walks appeared first on RedState.

1Oct/14Off

John Stossel: The World Is Safer Now Than Ever Before

Americans now face beheadings, gang warfare, Ebola, ISIS, and a
new war in Syria. People assume that the world has gotten more
dangerous and crime has gotten worse. But the opposite is true,
notes John Stossel.

Over the past two decades, murder and robbery in the U.S. are
down by more than half, and rape by a third. Terrorism is a threat,
but deaths from war are a fraction of what they were half a century
ago. We wax nostalgic about the past, but the past was much nastier
than today. 

View this article.

1Oct/14Off

Saying ‘No’ to Undocumented Minors Lands Town in Hot Water

One small Virginia town is the target of a racial discrimination complaint from a fair housing group and a shuttered college that would have benefited from a plan to house undocumented minors.

When word broke this summer the federal government—at the original suggestion of Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel and Secretary of Education Anne Holton—was pursuing a contract with the closed St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville to house what could be hundreds of immigrants, locals made it clear they had serious concerns.

About 1,000 people showed up at a June 19 town hall meeting in the Southern Virginia town of 1,300 to protest.

The federal government consequently backed down and looked elsewhere to house the teens and younger children.

Now, the private St. Paul’s College—which would have received $160,000-per-month to house the youth—and the fair-housing group Home Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia, have filed a housing discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development against the town of Lawrenceville, surrounding Brunswick County and Brunswick County’s elected sheriff, Brian Roberts.

HOME and St. Paul’s College allege the county, town and sheriff “orchestrated and implemented a plan to block the deal,” the complaint reads. “Purported concerns by these individuals are grounded in false stereotypes about Latinos and reflect discrimination based on race, color, and/or national origin.”

The complaint argues that anyone in the country—not just legal residents—is protected by law.

Read more at Watchdog.org.

The post Saying ‘No’ to Undocumented Minors Lands Town in Hot Water appeared first on Daily Signal.

1Oct/14Off

Job Losses Adding Up in America’s Most Liberal State

Jeb Spaulding’s unexpected departure as secretary of the Vermont Agency of Administration spells the loss of one of Gov. Peter Shumlin’s trusted advisers at a time when bad news mounts in a state Gallup ranks as the most liberal in America.

The administration depicted Spaulding’s move to become chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges as an opportunity for career advancement.

But the announcement of Spaulding’s departure came after five straight months of tax revenue misses, a subsequent $31 million revenue forecast downgrade by state economists and months of rosy talk of economic recovery and low unemployment, after which businesses appear to be fleeing.

The departure of IBM looks to be slated for October, which could bring new job losses for Vermonters.

When Benways Taxi went out of business in July, the owner of Burlington’s largest taxi provider blamed high costs related to Vermont’s health care system.

The state’s unemployment rate has increased from 3.3 percent in April to 4.1 percent in August at a time when the national rate has dropped.

On top of all that, this past week brought renewed talk of a 12.5 percent payroll tax to fund Shumlin’s single-payer health care system, collapsing support for Shumlin among Second Amendment groups, and evidence Vermont’s population has flatlined as more people are moving out of the state than moving in.

When income tax revenues fell 14.8 in the first quarter, former Deputy Secretary of Administration Tom Pelham called the numbers “a big miss,” but Spaulding said, “We do not believe April’s income tax results indicate a change in our steady positive economic trajectory.”

When the state fell 10.8 percent short of May’s targets, Spaulding found a silver lining, saying, “We are essentially on budgetary target for the year.” He said it was “encouraging” that the personal income tax category was marginally up year-over-year.

In June, when personal income tax revenue missed the target by 7.7 percent, Spaulding grew exuberant, saying, “Revenue forecasters practically hit the nail on the head in terms of projections for the fiscal year. That’s pretty amazing.”

He wasn’t alarmed about the 4.8 shortfall in July, but in August, when income taxes missed by 9.8 percent, he finally sounded a warning. Now, he’s leaving the Shumlin administration entirely.

Read more on Watchdog.com.

The post Job Losses Adding Up in America’s Most Liberal State appeared first on Daily Signal.

1Oct/14Off

“Ghost Gunner” from Cody Wilson Allows Home Milling Lower Receivers for Rifles for Just Over a Thousand Bucks

Cody Wilson, famous for making and popularizing the first
3D-printed plastic handgun (I
profiled him at length i
n Reason's December 2013
issue), and his group Defense Distributed today debuted their
latest provocation aimed at making gun possession easier, cheaper,
and most importantly more outside the totalizing view of the
state.

Wilson and his team were inspired by
a proposed law
that passed the California House and Senate but
which Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed yesterday. The law, known as the
"ghost gun" bill, would have banned guns without serial numbers
filed with the government of any sort, as well as forcing those who
do make homemade weapons to go through new procedures and
background checks and getting federal Department of Justice
approval before doing so.

Essentially, the bill would ban making a gun that the state
didn't know about and mark. (Nick Gillespie
blogged about the ghost gun bill
here last
month.)

The LA Times
reported Brown's surprisingly sensible statement
on vetoing the
bill, pushed forward by Democratic state Rep. Kevin de
Leon: 
“I appreciate the author’s concerns about
gun violence, but I can’t see how adding a serial number to a
homemade gun would significantly advance public safety." Exactly
right, Gov. Brown.

To show exactly how right Brown was, and to educate any other
state legislature that might contemplate following in de Leon's
footsteps, Wilson and his Defense Distributed team launched a
website today called GhostGunner.net.

Through it they are selling a tabletop milling machine which
can, quoting from their
FAQ
, "manufacture any mil-spec 80% AR-15 lower receiver that
already has the rear take down well milled out. ....Lowers with
non-mil-spec trigger guards that are otherwise mil-spec are also
compatible. Defense Distributed recommends using the 7075 Ares
Armor Raw 80% Lower AR-15 Billet."

Wilson launched the project in response to de Leon's bill, to
"the rhetoric developed out of California of
detectability as the norm, of the observability of everything to
the modern state. This guy de Leon defined as a 'ghost' something
not intelligible to the state and that's a perfect way of talking
about it. So this device will cut aluminum and it's good at
finishing an 80 percent lower receiver for an AR-15 in under an
hour." (Roughly, the ATF declares any lower receiver that is
more than 80 percent complete as an actual gun subject to
all regulations on actual guns.)

Wilson waited to see what Brown would do with the bill
before publicly launching; he's convinced that had they gone live
this time yesterday that Brown's office might have been scared into
signing the ghost gun bill that Brown instead vetoed.

Wilson has always, as detailed in my 2013 profile, seen
his actions as a complicated dance of reactions to what his
controlling opponents do, and he generally understands what they
will then do in reaction to him. "We decided
we 
have to give them that world they are about
with [de Leon's ghost gun bill], to create the problem they are
talking about, to give that problem to them," Wilson
says.

Laws like de Leon's, Wilson thinks, offer a "preferred
regulatory landscape that's predicated on all the things that the
digital manufacturing revolution" has made easier by an order of
magnitude, not being as easy to get around as they
actually are. Wilson just wants to remind controllers they don't
live in the world they think they live in, a world where a mere law
will actually stop something they perceive as a problem: someone
possessing a tool of self-defense that is not visible and
regulatable by the state.

The Ghost Gunner website FAQ has further technical details on
how the tabletop device works, and this comment on the current
legality of using it:

Semi-automatic firearms, including the AR-15 lower receivers,
are generally legal to manufacture for private individuals per US
federal law Title 18 do not require serialization or other maker's
marks. However, some states/municipalities restrict either the
manufacture of certain firearms, or, more recently, the personal
manufacture of a firearm with a 3D printer and/or CNC machine. DD
makes no claim regarding local manufacturing legality; lower
receiver files provided by Defense Distributed might require
special licensing to manufacture and/or possess. 

Under federal law, manufacturing a firearm for contemplation of
future sale without an FFL is prohibited. Without a manufacturing
FFL, you should manufacture firearms for personal use only. There
are methods to legally transfer ownership of personally
manufactured firearms, but they do not apply when the original
manufacturing intent is to build a firearm for commercial or
non-personal use. Recent ATF determinations have signaled that
allowing others use of your CNC equipment may itself constitute
manufacturing, therefore Defense Distributed advises GhostGunner
owners to neither print firearms for other individuals, nor allow
other individuals to use their GhostGunner to manufacture
firearms.

You can pre-order the device for
$1199 now
(the earlier $999 price already sold out), and they
promise holiday delivery.

Andy Greenberg at
Wired wrote
about it this morning.
 Excerpt that nicely sums up
why making a homemade "lower receiver" for a rifle is such a big
deal:

A lower receiver is the body of the gun that connects its stock,
barrel, magazine and other parts. As such, it’s also the
rifle’s most regulated element. Mill your own lower receiver
at home, however, and you can order the rest of the parts from
online gun shops, creating a semi-automatic weapon with no serial
number, obtained with no background check, no waiting period or
other regulatory hurdles.  

Greenberg also quotes Wilson explaining why he's moved from
plastic 3D weapons to metal milled ones in his latest project:

[Wilson's] switch from 3-D printing to CNC milling metal
makes the ubiquitous creation of usable, lethal weapons one
step more practical . “3-D printing [guns] was about signaling
the future. This is about the present,” he says. “You can use this
machine today to create something to the standards you’re used
to…The gold standard of the gun community is metal.”

The promotional video for the project, in classic Wilson style,
uses only the words of Rep. de Leon and an ATF agent and the music
of Satie, and features the look of an arty horror flick to both
scare the squares and hep the aware to the fact that no matter what
the state thinks it can do to stop you from owning guns, ingenuity
and technology and indomitable will can get around their efforts.
(Favorite touches: the glowing pig mask over a light fixture, and
the mixture of a shadowy figure reading in a dark room with the
Ghost Gunner and a gun on a table):