Support For 2nd Amendment-Supporting Florida Sheriff Grows As Trial Date Nears

In early June, Liberty County, Fla., Sheriff Nick Finch was arrested for official misconduct and suspended from office by Governor Rick Scott.

The sheriff’s offense? He set free a man who’d been arrested for carrying a firearm without a permit during a routine traffic stop. The motorist, who was charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon, was let go after Finch discussed what had happened with the man and his brother (who’d come to the jail to find out what had happened) and determining the arrested man had a 2nd Amendment right to have the firearm in his car.

Car carry is legal in Florida for those without a conceal-carry permit, but the law stipulates such firearms must be securely encased or not readily accessible for immediate use — two stipulations the suspect allegedly didn’t meet when he was pulled over in Liberty County. Finch, who reportedly  told the arresting deputy he “believed in 2nd Amendment rights,” returned the man’s confiscated weapon and, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), “destroyed or removed official arrest documents from the Liberty County Jail, making it appear as though an arrest never occurred.”

In a recent interview with Michael Lofti from the grass-roots journalism e-zine Ben Swann, Finch said he would “Absolutely not” do things differently if he could go back and relive the incident.

“I wouldn’t have done anything different,” he said. “Once I became aware of the arrest, I immediately called the clerk and told her not to book Parrish. I am a Desert Storm veteran. I took an oath to protect the Constitution in the army and again as a sheriff. The state is charging me with destroying documents, which never existed. They do not have a case.”

Finch said the fact that the State offered to drop the charges against him, if only he’d resign from office, strongly indicates a political, and not a judicial, motive behind his prosecution.

With Finch’s Sept. 30 trial date approaching, the case is being closely watched by local supporters and people nationwide concerned that the State is tightening its grip on citizens’ 2nd Amendment freedoms and the elected officials, like Finch, who would stand alongside the people to defend them.

Tea Party supporters, conservative law enforcement organizations and Constitutionalists from across the country are planning to attend an Aug. 24 fundraiser in Panama City, Fla., for Finch’s legal defense fund, which is also collecting money on a website administered by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association.

Fred Brownbill of the Save America Foundation explained the importance of the Finch case in his call for people to attend the fundraising event.

As you know, the office of the county sheriff is under attack in many places.  The Constitutional sheriff is a threat to tyranny.  The duty of the Constitutional county sheriff is to protect and defend the Constitution and to interpose himself between his people and anyone who would violate their rights.

Federal Reserve Holdings Of U.S. Treasury Securities Quadruples Since 2008, Surpasses $2 Trillion

The Federal Reserve’s monetary policy of quantitative easing, ostensibly intended to steady the U.S. economy, has more than quadrupled the amount of Treasury securities owned by the Fed since Chairman Ben Bernanke hatched the strategy in 2009.

As of last week, the Fed holds $2,001,093,000,000 (that’s $2 trillion) in U.S. Treasury securities. In late 2008, before the Fed began its four-year run, it held $475.9 billion — less than one-quarter the amount of U.S. debt it now holds.

The Fed’s Aug. 14 report represents the first time its holdings of government debt have surpassed the $2 trillion mark.

The Federal Reserve owns more American debt than any other entity. China is a not-too-distant second, holding more than $1.2 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities. Foreign entities, including China, own $5.6 trillion in U.S. debt.

In all, the United States owes a cumulative $16.9 trillion to creditors worldwide, although one economist has estimated the government’s real obligations are closer to $70 trillion if built-in, consequential costs of current debts and anticipated fiscal stresses are factored in.

According to professor James Hamilton of the University of California-San Diego, the Federal government has intentionally been keeping U.S. debt off the balance sheet by omitting unfunded liabilities such as government loan guarantees and deposit insurance, as well as postsecondary education government loans.

“The biggest off-balance-sheet liabilities come from recognition of the fiscal stress that will come in the form of an aging population and rising medical expenditures,” Hamilton told FOX News last week. “It is worth noting that there are many historical episodes in which off-balance sheet liabilities ended up having quite significant on-balance sheet implications.”

Conservative economists continue to warn that forestalling an economic collapse by the endless printing of fiat currency only will exacerbate the scale of an inevitable economic doomsday, when creditors finally lose faith in the government’s abilities to meet its obligations.

Say No More: Henry Kissinger ‘Delighted’ If Chris Christie Takes 2016 GOP Nomination

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told National Review today he’d be delighted to see New Jersey Governor Chris Christie win the Republican nomination for the 2016 Presidential race.

“We’re friendly, and I think extremely highly of him, and he knows I’d be delighted if he became a national candidate,” Kissinger said. “Conservatives should recognize his long-term potential.”

Kissinger’s remarks suggest he, like many in the GOP establishment, views the word “conservative” as a functional description used to identify a political base, rather than as a values-laden term that connotes a principled ideology or world view.

It’s not surprising that Republican leaders have been preoccupied with vetting “electable” candidates with lazy mass appeal, instead of finding future leaders who possess well-defined ideas – even if their conservative values aren’t all things to everyone.

Despite his camera-hostile corpulence, Christie’s giving the GOP the former. His sound bites are filled with all-inclusive, rah-rah ear candy – but they signify nothing.

From National Review:

“I’m in this business to win,” Christie told [Boston RNC members last week], to approving cheers. “For our ideas to matter, we have to win, because if we don’t win, we don’t govern, and if we don’t govern, all we do is shout into the wind.” It wasn’t an ideological overture but a pugnacious and pragmatic message directed to a group that’s tired of losing. And they loved it, and Christie, too, since he increasingly looks like the only center-right governor and national star looking hard at a 2016 campaign. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush is widely believed to be leaning against it, and senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, though popular with tea-party activists, are privately viewed with wariness by the Republican donor class.

If the GOP leadership continues, like Kissinger, to long for a Chris Christie run at the White House in 2016, the Republican Party will be doubling down on a National strategy that’s gotten their insipid high-profile candidates nowhere – even as principled, values-driven Republicans continue to win statement victories as State Legislators and Governors in recent years. As ever, the National GOP is already showing signs its 2016 strategy will consist of Playing Not To Lose.

Half Of Obamacare’s Implementation Deadlines Missed Thanks To Presidential Delays, Waivers

Statistics from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) reveal that the Administration of President Barack Obama has missed half of the deadlines required to legally implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The CRS, an arm of the Library of Congress that functions as a nonpartisan Congressional research and reference center, has tabulated 82 separate deadlines that represent mandatory stepping stones in the rollout of Obamacare. Each one is a part of the ACA, and enforcing each is required if the law (and its enforcers) are to retain their integrity.

But, as Forbes contributor Avik Roy points out, the Obama Administration has already missed 41 of them — and the start date is still six weeks away.

As of May 31, 2013, when the CRS analysis was completed, the White House had yet to meet 9 of 12 deadlines from the first year after the Affordable Care Act was enacted. It failed to meet 22 of 53 deadlines in the second year; another 8 became moot after Congress did not appropriate funds to complete the assigned tasks. In year three, the administration missed 10 out of 17 deadlines. That’s a total of 41 out of 82 deadlines missed.

If you exclude the 9 deadlines that became moot because Congress never appropriated the funds to meet them, the Obama administration missed 41 out of 73 deadlines, or 56 percent.

In analyzing the CRS report, I erred on the side of generosity. If the administration missed a particular statutory deadline by a week or less, I counted it in their favor as a “met” deadline. In any case where there was ambiguity in the CRS report, I assumed that the administration had met the deadline. So these 50-56 percent missed deadline figures should be seen as slightly conservative.

Dated June 5, the CRS research doesn’t even take into account the President’s recent announcements that he’s unilaterally delaying the very pillars of his signature piece of social re-engineering legislation. Large businesses now get a one-year break before they have to offer employees insurance under the new law; insurers now have one more year before they have to cap consumer out-of-pocket costs. And Obama, who’s been the “Decider” throughout it all, can’t blame Congress or Republican opposition. He’s been working within the Administrative and bureaucratic structure to unilaterally (and illegally) pick and choose which pieces of his puzzle he’s ready to put into place.

We’ll get Obamacare when it’s good and ready.

“Obamacare may fail at reducing insurance premiums, or at wisely using taxpayer funds. But the law is scheduled to spend $1.9 trillion over the next ten years,” writes Roy. “Only new laws, not wishful thinking, will change that.”

Illegal Food Stamp Trafficking Up 30 Percent Since 2006

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a study on the illegal resale of food stamps under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The report found a 30 percent increase in the proportion of SNAP recipients who illegally sell their SNAP credits back to stores, which fraudulently redeem the credits by paying the SNAP recipients the credits’ cash value.

The 30 percent jump has been incremental, dating back to 2006 — the earliest period covered in the study. Food stamp trafficking fraud now accounts for an estimated $858 million per year in diverted SNAP funds, compared with $330 million in 2006.

The SNAP program itself has also grown immensely since President Barack Obama’s aggressive expansion of the program’s reach, with last year’s benefits totaling more than $74 billion — compared with $34 billion in 2008.

Predictably, the study links the increase in SNAP fraud with the commensurate increase in the Obama-era expansion.

And even though the dollar value of misappropriated SNAP funds represents a smaller percentage of the entire SNAP budget today than it did during Bill Clinton’s Presidency (3 percent now, compared to 4 percent in the mid-1990s), technology is likely to thank. The program’s full-scale adoption of point-of-sale, declining-balance debit cards, which debuted in limited numbers in the late 1980s, took human “error” out of the old process of exchanging and tracking government-issued paper scraps of fiat food currency.

But personal relationships and the low-budget exigencies of mom-and-pop economics still combine to account for the bulk of transactions in which “customers” swap Food Stamps for cash.

The U.S. Food and Nutrition Service’s press release for the study states: “[T]he report attributes the change in the rate to 1.3 percent primarily to the growth in small- and medium-sized retailers authorized to accept SNAP that may not provide sufficient healthful offerings to recipients. These retailers accounted for 85 percent of all trafficking redemptions. This finding echoes a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that suggested minimal stocking requirements in SNAP may contribute to corrupt retailers entering the program.”

No Prophet Is Welcome In His Own Land: Hometown Paper Torches Chicago Jesus; Obamacare

You know public will to embrace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is in freefall when President Barack Obama’s hometown newspaper pens an editorial calling for the “monstrosity” to be dismantled.

In a Sunday editorial headlined “How President Obama is flouting Obamacare,” The Chicago Tribune took a wrecking ball to the President’s ham-handed finessing of a law his Administration is legally required to carry out in full, opining that Obama is “bending that enforcement in wayas that test, and arguably exceed, the boundaries of lawful conduct.”

Then the editorial board called on lawmakers to take a wrecking ball to the law itself, and to start from scratch to come up with something else. “Democrats strong-armed Obamacare into law three years ago. Now they’re busy flouting it” by delaying employer insurance mandates, documentation requirements, out-of-pocket spending caps and carving out Congressional staff exemptions, thanks to the President’s intervention. Those aren’t administrative refinements; they’re wholesale interpretive revisions:

Obama isn’t making tweaks. He’s trying to circumvent major flaws that began flaring when the law was enacted. Hence the many carve-outs, delays and special deals that have been piling up since he added his signature to Obamacare on March 23, 2010.

The president crusaded for this law and has embraced its nickname. But he did not write the law. Congress did. Major changes are necessary — he has stipulated by his actions that this law as constituted cannot work — and Congress should legislate them for his review.

Bottom line: Let’s delay and rewrite this ill-conceived law. Congress need not start from scratch. Lawmakers can build on what all of us have learned from three years of painful trial and error. Three years of attempting, but failing, to make this clumsy monstrosity work for the American people.

The piece also challenges Obama’s Constitutional standing to pick and choose which parts of the law he can enforce, noting the legal outcry we’d all be hearing if Mitt Romney had won the 2012 election and then attempted to turn his back on Obamacare.

Read the entire piece, and share.

Working-Class America Less Stable As Labor Jobs Market Shrinks

If you’re among the Americans who bypassed college in favor of a traditional manufacturing or other skilled labor job, you’re part of a shrinking post-World War II middle-class workforce that continues to face decimation and destabilization as a once-healthy jobs market gives way to the low-wage service sector.

A joint study conducted by the University of Virginia and Harvard University reveals that the decline of America’s manufacturing workforce has far-reaching societal and cultural ramifications and that the typical American dream — which revolves around nuclear families, lifelong marital relationships and raising children — isn’t a tenable way of living for many who’ve been affected.

In the study, titled “Intimate Inequalities: Love and Work in a Post-Industrial Landscape,” researchers found that marriage, in particular, has become linked with a stable and secure middle-class existence. And if someone is still trying to work his way upward toward the middle class, his economic circumstances typically aren’t amenable with the expense and commitment that stable family life requires.

“Marriage is becoming a distinctive social institution marking middle-class status,” said Sarah Corse, a Virginia associate professor of sociology and the study’s lead author. “Working-class people with insecure work and few resources, little stability and no ability to plan for a foreseeable future become concerned with their own survival and often become unable to imagine being able to provide materially and emotionally for others. Insecure work changes peoples’ non-work lives.”

The study also finds an increasing gap between the material success and stability of today’s non-college-educated workforce and those who seek the kind of full-time, unionized jobs that powered America’s middle-class strength from the 1940s through the 1980s.

Those who hold college degrees tend to find more stable, better-paying jobs. That, in turn, allows for a measure of freedom to marry and raise children.

“Middle- and upper-middle class people, as a result, express high expectations for their marriages, centering on self-fulfillment, deeply engaged parenting by both parents and psycho-emotional awareness. They also ‘insure’ themselves against marital complacency, conflict and dissolution through private material and emotional ‘investments,’” the study states.

The study isn’t an endorsement for finding economic stability only through obtaining a college degree. Rather, it’s an observation of how dramatically the American economic environment has changed, at the expense of millions who, in previous decades, could find and keep good jobs — often in or near their hometowns — all without having to seek a college education in order to advance their vocational opportunities.

But for the would-be investor, the study provides strong evidence that until an individual can secure his own livelihood and at least some modicum of middle-class stability, his opportunities to set aside even a small portion of his disposable income with an eye toward the future are almost nonexistent.

Rand Paul’s ‘No Aid To Egypt’ Stance Vindicated As Congress Galvanizes Against Obama’s Coup Denial

As the growing conflict between Egypt’s army and tenacious supporters of the ousted Muslim Brotherhood continues to plunge Egypt into chaos, the official American response has called international ridicule upon President Barack Obama.

The President’s refusal to acknowledge last month’s military coup has kept open avenues of American arms support to Cairo — even as pundits openly question which side we’re really arming and who will benefit from hand-me-down guns in the region if the present conflict resolves.

But there’s more blame to go around. Congress rejected an amendment two weeks ago that would have suspended aid to Egypt until it can hold free elections.

The Senate vote wasn’t even close: 86-13.

“It would be a terrific mistake for the United States to send a message to Egypt: you’re on your own,” said Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) in opposing the measure — this, after himself calling for the exact same thing in early July. “I urge my colleagues to vote to table the Paul amendment.”

Ah, “The Paul Amendment.” Now it all starts to fall into place.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had attached an amendment to the omnibus transportation bill that, had it been approved, would have suspended the $1.5 billion a year in military aid the United States has been giving Egypt until the country holds free and fair elections. In the meantime, the money would instead go to fund bridge rehabilitation projects here in the U.S.

That was more than two weeks ago. By Friday of last week, violence in Cairo had reached such a level that headline writers were trotting out the Red Nile allusions.

More than 600 deaths (by the time you read this, probably many more) had been documented in Giza and Cairo, with resolute supporters of Mohammed Morsi vowing never to back down in their fight to reinstate the country’s deposed leadership.

The military government had reneged on its original pledge to handle the Brotherhood’s violent protests with kid gloves, announcing last Thursday that resistance would be met with live fire. The new corrupt regime began describing the old corrupt regime’s supporters — whose violent post-coup resistance at least reflects the defensible belief that Morsi was a legitimate leader who was overthrown in a coup d’état — as terrorists and criminals.

Amid all this, it goes without saying that it’s a historically bad time to be a Christian in Egypt.

So, with last week’s mounting chaos as a backdrop, Paul unloaded on Senators for supporting Obama’s duplicitous handling of the Egypt crisis by continuing the already-dubious armament gravy train.

“This is something that those who voted in Congress are going to have to live with,” Paul told Foreign Policy magazine last Thursday. “The question is: How does their conscience feel now as they see photographs of tanks rolling over Egyptian civilians?

“For those who think more weapons is ‘engaging’ us with the Egyptian people, ask an Egyptian,” Paul added. “When you’re protesting in the streets and you’re run over by an American tank, you’re not going to be appreciative of American engagement.”

Whether Senators are struggling with heartfelt guilt trips is anyone’s wild guess; but as the flow of violent imagery coming out of Egypt accelerated last week, their political conscience had begun to sting.

POLITICO reported a significant number of Democratic and RINO Senators had begun to use rhetoric mimicking Paul.

While suspending joint military exercises as the president has done is an important step, our law is clear: aid to the Egyptian military should cease unless they restore democracy,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who is working with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on legislative language that would impose conditions on assistance to Egypt.

…Leahy isn’t alone among Democrats who see the sudden removal of Morsi as a coup — Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) has also called for aid suspension until elections are scheduled.

Paul also dialed up the heat on an increasingly feckless Obama.

“While President Obama ‘condemns the violence in Egypt,’ his administration continues to send billions of taxpayer dollars to help pay for it. The law is very clear when a coup d’état takes place, foreign aid must stop, regardless of the circumstances,” Paul said Thursday in a reiteration of his “no-aid” stance. “Mr. President, stop skirting the issue, follow the law, and cancel all foreign aid to Egypt.”

Obama instead rattled his fake plastic saber by canceling Operation Bright Star, a joint military exercise with Egypt. But he stayed quiet as the money spigot kept flowing.

Judge Overturns Los Angeles Policy On Seizing And Impounding Cars Driven By Illegal Aliens

A Los Angeles judge has ruled that the city’s policy on seizing and impounding vehicles violates California State law, and is too permissive and open to aggrandizement.

Superior Court Judge Terry Green ruled that the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) had essentially invented a method for confiscating cars that was inconsistent with both the spirit and the letter of State law, finding that the department’s policy on seizing vehicles driven by illegal aliens wasn’t reasonable in cases when a legal resident and licensed driver was also present.

From the car-centric policy journal TheNewspaper:

At issue is what to do when police pull over an illegal alien, someone who is by definition an unlicensed driver in the state. Judicial Watch, a conservative group, filed suit to force cops to seize and keep cars belonging to illegals for thirty days.

Los Angeles did a brisk business in car impounding until a 2005 decision of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals changed the legal landscape. The court found that just because a statute allows a car seizure, it does not automatically make confiscation reasonable for the purposes of the Fourth Amendment. The Ninth Circuit held that there was no reason for police to seize a legally parked car from an unlicensed driver when another licensed driver was present.

The department’s rule advised officers to confiscate vehicles that impede traffic flow, present a safety hazard, are located in vandalism-prone areas or “if there is nobody available to lawfully move it out of the way.”

Conservative groups have argued that the LAPD’s confiscation policy represents an “end-run around a law clearly ordering thirty-day impoundment of vehicles from drivers with expired or non-existent licenses.”

Setting aside the immigration politics, the city had a nice little racket going with the impoundments. Retrieving a confiscated vehicle in L.A. can cost more than $1,000 per incident, according to TheNewspaper. Multiply that by the “hundreds of thousands” of cars impounded annually, and the take gets into seven-digit territory.

Congressional Republicans AWOL From August Town Hall Meetings

No wonder the public’s disgust with Congress surpasses even the disdain they hold for President Barack Obama.

As Congress takes off the month of August, back-home constituents expected an opportunity to debrief their Senators and Representatives following a dismal, gridlocked, ineffectual Summer term.

But many Congressional Republicans would rather hunker down in private over the five-week August recess than face constituents on both sides of the political spectrum angry over the Legislative branch’s milquetoast indecision on immigration; the Federal budget and the national debt ceiling; Obamacare, agriculture subsidies; transparency and civil liberties; and — well, just about everything else.

Take the case of Dallas-area Representative Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who has yet to reconnoiter with the same Tea Party base that helped him win his seat in the first place. “He can just give us a date,” Katrina Pierson, one of Sessions’ conservative constituents, told The New York Times. “We’ll set it up.”

So far, so silent. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is playing golf with Donald Trump. So-called conservatives like Texas’ Sessions and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are simply missing in (in)action.

Here’s Breitbart’s rundown of some more GOP legislators known to not be participating in the dirty work of facing their constituents — that is to say, their bosses — so that they can go back to Washington, D.C., and do the job they were hired to do:

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL); Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AK); Rep. John Kline (R-MN); Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX); Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), the chair of the House Rules Committee; Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC); and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), who has “not announced any town halls but did participate in them in 2009.”

As The Times’ piece points out, the GOP’s shunning of town hall feedback is strategic. People like Graham know they’re in trouble with conservatives, and they simply would rather let them eat cake. “Congressional offices have gotten increasingly clever about keeping their schedules under wraps,” waiting until the last minute to announce any public feedback meetings, holding meetings in tiny venues and even front-loading the crowd with ardent supporters, who are asked to show up earlier than the announced start time in order to file in first.

Matt Kibbe, President of conservative activist group FreedomWorks, said in May that Graham in particular exemplifies GOP hypocrisy at its worst. “Lindsey Graham could be replaced with someone worthy of that seat,” he said. “The way he lashed out at Rand Paul [for filibustering on drones], he’s begging for a primary.”

But Kibbe saved an even more apt barb for his comment to The Times this week. Wondering aloud why Graham and other GOP do-nothings won’t come out of their shells for frank town hall meetings during their 35-day vacay, he observed:

“To quote Lindsey Graham, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to be afraid of.”

Follow who’s holding town hall meetings and who’s not this month over at the FreedomWorks “demand a town hall” Web page.

Obama’s Unilateral End Run Around Congress: Hike FCC Cellphone Fees To Pay For High-Speed Internet

President Barack Obama is hoping to add another “signature” accomplishment to mark his second term in office that, if successful, could stand alongside the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a landmark aggrandizement of the reach and power of the executive branch.

The President has wholly embraced a novel idea that, if implemented, would expand high-speed Internet access and elevate the role of technology in student-teacher interaction in public schools nationwide. It would cost billions of dollars, which the President knows Congress won’t appropriate by legislating any sort of new tax or hike in consumer “fees.”

So Obama is turning to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ram through yet another new fee that would be tacked on to the bills of cellphone users everywhere in the United States — well, at least all the cellphone users who aren’t using free Obamaphones — to pay for the program, estimated to cost between $4 billion and $6 billion.

The program itself, first announced in a chirpy White House press release dated June 6,  has been dubbed “ConnectED.” According to the President, the program aims to “connect 99 percent of America’s students to the internet through high-speed broadband and high-speed wireless within 5 years, calling on the FCC to modernize and leverage its existing E-Rate program to meet that goal…This ambitious initiative does not require Congressional action.”

Amazing how sterilizing language can be. “Modernize and leverage its existing E-Rate program” is the President’s disinfected version of “raise fees without Congress passing a law.” The E-Rate program benefits from the FCC’s prerogative to assess universal service fees for government-backed programs that ostensibly support the common good — something the commission already does for things like E-911 and Obamaphones.

So that you see the broad application of powers the FCC wields, think of the inscrutable machinations of the public utility or service commission in your home State — writ large at the Federal level — and you’ll have a pretty good idea of how inviolate and powerful is the FCC’s ability to raise your phone bill with the stroke of a pen. The five-member FCC commissioner panel is currently down to three members (all Obama appointees), and will inevitably hold a three-member Democrat-affiliated majority once Obama finally secures Senate confirmation for the two ongoing vacancies.

Former FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth, a Republican appointee, said the commission has no Constitutional business helping Obama or any other President impose fiat tax hikes in order to realize a grand personal vision:

Using the FCC as a way to get around Congress to spend money that Congress doesn’t have the political will to spend — I think that’s very scary…Constitutionally, it’s Congress that decides how federal funds should be spent.

Jeffrey H. Anderson of The Weekly Standard was more damning of Obama’s naked ambition and disregard for the rule of law:

It is becoming increasingly clear that President Obama does not approve of the American Founders’ notion that Congress’s role is to pass laws, and the president’s role is to execute them. On the heels of his unilateral decision not to start Obamacare’s employer mandate on the date that the legislation prescribes — a decision that begs the question of whether a Republican president, following Obama’s precedent, could unilaterally decide to gut other parts of Obamacare — Obama is now seeking to raise taxes on all cell phone users, reappropriate the billions collected, and spend it on “a whole new educational ecosystem.”  Moreover, he says, “We can do this without Congress.”

Orange County, Florida Sheriff Blithely Proclaims: ‘We Are A Paramilitary Organization’

A Wednesday Orlando Sentinel report on a hiring spree at the burgeoning Orange County, Florida Sheriff’s Office quoted Sheriff Jerry Demings unironically describing his department as a “paramilitary organization.”

From the story:

An improving economy has allowed Demings to open 125 positions that have been frozen since 2009. So far, 60 have been filled as the pool of qualified applicants grows with service members leaving the military and entering civilian life, said the Sheriff’s Recruiting and Background Manager Mary Ann Salazar.

“We are a paramilitary organization, so hiring veterans makes sense, and its important to the sheriff to bring in these highly skilled men and women,” Salazar said.

Demings said more than half of the deputies hired into one of the $38,000-$40,000 per-year positions come from a military background. The sheriff’s comments demonstrate an obvious confidence in the quality of his new hires, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

But it’s incredible how oblivious more and more officers, police chiefs and sheriffs – many of them conscientious and well-intentioned – are becoming to the changing character of law enforcement in America.

The same goes for the general public. The Sentinel report eschews even a passing mention of the trend, and doesn’t make any connections between Orange County’s hiring pattern and the overall movement, Nationwide, toward the militarization of our civilian public servants in the law enforcement field.

More Obama Administration Steamrolling Of Congress: EPA To Act On ‘Climate Change’

Really, who needs Congress anymore?

Certainly not the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government, which is busy game-planning end runs around Congress on education, wireless infrastructure, immigration and now climate change.

Gina McCarthy, whom President Barack Obama nominated to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) back in March, told an audience of academics at the University of Colorado Wednesday that the President’s June 25 climate change speech at Georgetown University represented a watershed moment of Presidential will to do something about global warming – with or without Congress’ help.

“Essentially, he said that it is time to act. And he said he wasn’t going to wait for Congress, but that he had administrative authorities and that it was time to start utilizing those more effectively and in a more concerted way,” said McCarthy.

What does that mean? McCarthy wasn’t specific – no surprise there – but she indicated Obama is likely to use his very pliable EPA to look for ways to implement innovative (and costly) carbon swaps, regulations and energy standards at the Federal level, while borrowing green-initiative ideas from cities – like Boulder – that have adopted them.

“[We will] start paying attention to what’s going on in states and cities like Colorado and Boulder, and to start learning what you have already learned and to start getting the federal government to take the responsibility that it must take to face the challenge of climate change,” she said.

“…We’re going to do this this year, next year, the following year, until people understand these are not scary things to do, these are actions we can all do, they’re actions that benefit everybody, that will grow the economy, and they’re actions that will protect the health and safety of individuals.”

The President’s Climate Action Plan Fact Sheet lists some of the visionary ideas Obama plans to channel through the administrative power of the EPA, without any Congressional oversight – even those “policies” (a.k.a. “laws”) that effectively raise fees and taxes while instituting punitive fines.

Taken straight from the White House Fact Sheet, Obama’s plan:

•Directs EPA to work closely with states, industry and other stakeholder to establish carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants;

•Makes up to $8 billion in loan guarantee authority available for a wide array of advanced fossil energy and efficiency projects to support investments in innovative technologies;

•Directs DOI to permit enough renewables project—like wind and solar – on public lands by 2020 to power more than 6 million homes; designates the first-ever hydropower project for priority permitting; and sets a new goal to install 100 megawatts of renewables on federally assisted housing by 2020; while maintaining the commitment to deploy renewables on military installations;

•Expands the President’s Better Building Challenge, focusing on helping commercial, industrial, and multi-family buildings cut waste and become at least 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020;

•Sets a goal to reduce carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030 – more than half of the annual carbon pollution from the U.S. energy sector – through efficiency standards set over the course of the Administration for appliances and federal buildings;

•Commits to partnering with industry and stakeholders to develop fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles to save families money at the pump and further reduce reliance on foreign oil and fuel consumption post-2018; and

•Leverages new opportunities to reduce pollution of highly-potent greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons; directs agencies to develop a comprehensive methane strategy; and commits to protect our forests and critical landscapes.

In keeping with Obama’s pattern, verbs like “establish,” “expand” and “leverage” have more transparent meanings: “regulate,” “borrow/subsidize” and “tax.” Look for the EPA – not Congress – to expedite Obama’s fallacious, myopic “green” revolution.

Organizing For Action Sponsors Climate Change Rally In Washington, D.C.; No One Shows Up

Organizing For Action, the community organizing nonprofit that morphed from a campaign vehicle for President Barack Obama into a “non-partisan” Obama agenda pusher, scheduled and promoted a rally this week to galvanize support for the President’s ambitious plan to regulate “climate change” out of existence.

The event’s Aug. 13 start time came and went — and not a single living soul showed up at the Georgetown Waterfront to bolster Obama’s climate change agenda.

The embarrassment compelled Organizing For Action to remove the event invitation (note the URL) from its website, but FOX News’ Phil Kerpen tweeted a screen grab:

 

kerpen tweet

 

Political blogger Moe Lane correctly zeroed in on Organizing For Action’s modus operandi, noting that, for Obama, policy itself doesn’t matter — but finding a policy talking point that galvanizes low-information voters does.

[I]t should surprise nobody — including the, ah, enthusiasts over at OfA, bless their hearts — that global warming doesn’t have nearly the same bite to it that the Left desperately wants it to. The polling is consistent: global warming — or climate change, or whatever the latest buzzword is/will be — is at the bottom of any list of things that people worry about, or prioritize. It is thus unsurprising that an admittedly unpleasant sudden rain shower would stop people in Georgetown from attending: after all, OfA doesn’t really want to talk about global warming at all. It’s just that the two things that they should be talking about — the economy, and health care — are also two things that OfA does not dare talk about, largely because President Barack Obama clearly has no idea how to go about repairing the damage that he’s caused to either.

The takeaway? If the Obama Administration and its backers strike out on a community-organizing effort that, like climate change, fails to captivate anybody, the fix is simple: just redact and refocus.

New York Pays Landlords Above Market Rate To Shelter The Homeless – And Paying Tenants Get Forced Out

An investigative piece Monday by Cindy Rodriguez, the Urban Policy reporter for National Public Radio affiliate WNYC, brought the public’s attention to the city’s practice of paying private landlords in low-income areas more money to shelter homeless people in near-derelict apartments than the landlords can get on the free market.

Guess what happens? Without the city having to lift a finger, the landlords follow the artificially-inflated new “market” price the government pays, and – through both attrition and outright eviction – lock out paying renters in order to house the homeless. The new homeless tenants effectively become wards of the State.

For the last year, the number of people in New York City’s shelter system has hovered around a record 50,000 overall. Nearly half are children. The numbers of people in shelters have shot up since 2011, when state- and city-funded programs designed to help people move into permanent housing were eliminated.

So the demand for shelter is high – creating the curious phenomenon of the city paying private landlords such high prices for lousy housing that it’s in the landlords’ interest to push out market-rate tenants like Melvina McMillan. The city rate in its deals with these landlords is typically about $3,000 a month. A portion of that goes to pay for security and caseworkers; at 60 Clarkson Avenue, an organization called CAMBA is providing the latter. McMillan, upset by the arrangement, said it was good for everyone – except the people living at the building.

And these are truly lousy buildings to begin with. McMillan’s building has 215 housing code violations, including roach infestation, leaks and mold. Fights in common areas are frequent.

The city pays an average of $3,000 a month to secure a unit. McMillan pays $700 a month.

Since 2011, there’s been a 66 percent increase in the number of apartments the city leases for the homeless. A court order forces the city to offer shelter to all who seek it, and, because the number of homeless people is highly liquid, it falls back on snapping up apartments instead of spending the money all at once to secure a less temporary method of compliance, such as subsidizing the building or expanding shelters.

The obvious absurdity of local government tinkering with the housing market is manifest when one considers that the paying tenants in these apartments – already at or near the very bottom of the economic ladder in New York City – don’t have a lot of options if they’re tossed out of their homes to make way for a city-subsidized homeless replacement. So where does that leave them?

That’s right: homeless.

“If [McMillan] ends up on the street,” writes Rodriguez, “she’d become part of the city’s homeless population – eligible to be placed in an apartment like the one she lives in now, at a cost to taxpayers of $3,000 a month.”

Watch John McCain Talk Up Immigration Reform And Gun Control At Tucson Q&A

Senator John “Gang of Eight” McCain (R-Ariz.) took questions from Tucson residents Tuesday at a town hall meeting during this month’s Congressional recess.

Talking up immigration reform (we know where he stands on that), McCain also pledged to support “better” gun control and possible bailouts for homeowners with underwater mortgages. Overall, he sounded a lot more like Chris Christie than a conservative war hero.

Here’s a video synopsis from KGUN-9 in Tucson.

 

The Clinton Foundation Seeks Immortality; Rubio Wants To Hit The Switch; Kerry Pestered By Internet; Dead Journalist Was Investigating CIA Leader; Sequestration Fluff – Wednesday Morning News Roundup 8-14-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories making the Internet rounds this morning. Click the links for the full stories.

 

  • Worried that the Clinton Foundation’s operating revenues depend too heavily on the family’s nonstop fund-raising, the three Clintons are embarking on a drive to raise an endowment of as much as $250 million, with events already scheduled in the Hamptons and London. Source: The New York Times…

 

 

  • In an appearance on a Tallahassee morning show, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) explained that President Barack Obama will be tempted to enact his own immigration reform measures by executive order if Congress does not pass an immigration bill. An Obama executive order would legalize 11 million undocumented immigrants, he said. Source: The Daily Caller… 

 

 

  • Speaking to State Department personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil, on Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry said that “this little thing called the Internet … makes it much harder to govern.” He also said that “ever since the end of the Cold War, forces have been unleashed that were tamped down for centuries by dictators.” Source: CNS News… 

 

 

  • This week Elise Jordan, wife of famed journalist Michael Hastings, who recently died under suspicious circumstances, corroborated this reporter’s sources that CIA Director, John Brennan was Hastings next exposé project. Source: San Diego 6…

 

 

  • When sequestration was about to kick in, the Obama administration began a nearly across-the-board campaign to discuss the devastating impact the automatic cuts would have on agency operations. At the center of these warnings stood employee furloughs: mandatory unpaid leave to help each department meet the lower budget caps that took effect March 1. But most major departments have reduced furlough days, or eliminated them altogether. Source: Government Executive…

 

 

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Poll: Almost Nobody Believes Obama’s Promise To Reform NSA; Patriot Act

President Barack Obama unveiled a series of self-policing policies last Friday, in an effort to regain the confidence of Americans shellshocked by ongoing revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) and other Federal agencies are engaged in the secret, warrantless and comprehensive surveillance of nearly every aspect of citizens’ digital lives.

Among the President’s promises was a proposed revision to the now-infamous Patriot Act Section 215, which allows the FBI to secretly monitor the records and activities of U.S. citizens in conjunction with a terror investigation – even if the subject isn’t suspected of criminal activity.

Obama also pledged to appoint a civil liberties monitor who would serve as a legal advocate for “John Doe” citizens whenever Federal law enforcement agencies approach the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to obtain a secret search warrant. To date, law enforcement has breezed through the FISC warrant-obtaining process without facing any opposition from an opposing entity that acts in the interest of the people who are to be spied on.

In addition, the President promised to create an appointed body of independent watchdogs to review intelligence and communications data-gathering policies. The panel would consist of outside tech experts who presumably understand, from a technological feasibility point of view, the potential weak points in assuring citizens’ privacy as the NSA and related agencies go on with their spy business. NSA head James Clapper, the man who lied to Congress about the extent of the agency’s surveillance on ordinary Americans, would head up that panel.

So it comes as no surprise that a Rasmussen poll taken over the weekend reveals that nearly everyone in the U.S.A. thinks it’s a bunch of B.S. Only 11 percent of the 1,000 likely voters surveyed said they believe the President’s ideas will have the positive effect of curbing the scope of the Feds’ secret surveillance practices. Not only that, but 30 percent of those polled said they believe the government will actually ramp up its citizens spying activities, regardless of Obama’s promises. Another 49 percent said the President’s plans won’t change anything.

[M]ost voters still don’t trust the government to protect their constitutional rights,” observed poll analysts. “Very few expect the program to cut back on monitoring the phone calls of innocent Americans.”

Check out the summary of the poll’s results at Rasmussen.

Note from the Editor: Under the Obama Administration, the NSA, the IRS, and the State and Justice departments are blatantly stepping on Americans’ privacy—and these are just the breaches we’re aware of. I’ve arranged for readers to get a free copy of The Ultimate Privacy Guide so you can be protected from any form of surveillance by anyone—government, corporate or criminal. Click here for your free copy.

 

Hillary To The Rescue: Clinton To Kick Off Series Of Speeches To Bolster Trust In Government

Back in June, President Barack Obama made his own bully attempt to shore up Americans’ growing skepticism of the Federal government by telling a San Jose audience “we’re going to have some problems here” if people won’t trust him, Congress and the court system to uphold the Constitution. His heavy-handed wordplay went over like a lead dirigible.

Now Hillary Clinton is preparing to put her own spin on the President’s “trust us” message.

In a move expected to revive her public profile as the 2016 Presidential campaign season gets underway, Clinton will launch a speech blitz over the “next few months,” with the first – an address on the “balance and transparency necessary in our national security policies” – set to take place next month in Philadelphia.

Clinton unveiled her speech tour at a Monday address before the American Bar Association in San Francisco. She used the bulk of her 45 minutes behind the mic to lambast the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down portions of the Voting Rights Act that had unequally leashed some States’ ability to draw their own voting districts without Federal babysitting.

Cribbing a page from President Obama’s playbook of class warfare, Clinton said race-based voter discrimination is very much alive and well in 2013.

“In the weeks since the ruling we have seen an unseemly rush by previously covered jurisdictions that will make it harder for our fellow Americans to vote,” she said. “Unless we act now, citizens will be disenfranchised and victimized by the law instead of served by it….[A]nyone who says that racial discrimination is not a problem in American elections must not be paying attention.”

Breitbart wryly notes that Clinton isn’t exactly a confidence-inspiring torch bearer for Americans demanding their voyeuristic government to put down the binoculars:

According to Philip Rucker, White House correspondent for The Washington Post, Hillary planned to emphasize restoring faith in government – an ironic theme, considering that she was a member of the current administration presiding over the rapid decline in faith in government.

No word on whether this round of addresses will remunerate Hillary at her customary rate of $200,000 a pop.

Who’s Really The Clown? Left Freakout Over Silly Rodeo Stunt Shows Misplaced Priorities

The clown’s been banned from the Missouri State Fair for life. All clowns who succeed him will have to first go through sensitivity training. The President of the Missouri Cowboy Rodeo Association, which sponsors the State Fair rodeo, resigned under pressure (he’s still a school superintendent by day). Democratic State legislators are even urging an investigation to determine whether the State should pull its financial support of the, you know, State Fair.

All because of this? (Watch the video if you want – but honestly, the whole thing is such a non-event that you’re likely to come away even more unimpressed by the hoopla than you already are. At about the 2:20 mark, the announcer obviously pokes a little common, showman-like fun at the President’s likeness, and life goes on.)

 

Of course, liberals cried ‘racism’ and blamed the Tea Party for infiltrating the Nation’s fraternity of rodeo clowns.

Where were sensitive conservatives back in 1994, when this kind of cruelty was being perpetrated against President George H.W. Bush? The Washington Examiner tracked down the account of a reporter who witnessed that grievous event:

The big white gate flew open. The bull came out bucking. The rider flopped from side to side and the bullfighters held back, letting the bull make his moves until the rider dropped off. Licciardello crouched in a heavily padded barrel, a human target should the bull decide to charge. Hawkins waited near the barrel, holding his big inner tube. A dummy with a George Bush mask stood beside the clown, propped up by a broomstick.

T.J. Hawkins rolled out the big inner tube, and the bull lowered his head, shot forward and launched into the tube, sending it bounding down the center of the arena. The crowd cheered. Then the bull saw the George Bush dummy. He tore into it, sending the rubber mask flying halfway across the sand as he turned toward the fence, sending cowboys scrambling up the fence rails, hooking one with his horn and tossing him off the fence.

Lighten up, Left. This Nation is a big and diverse place, and every citizen is covered by the 1st Amendment. No one yelled “fire” in this public place, and no one tested the boundaries of obscenity. The whole absurd reaction to this homespun, innocent little slice of community theater has a stifling, choking quality for those who believe in free speech and free assembly – and that’s the one and only thing that’s remotely ominous about this whole clownish ordeal.

Here’s How Much You’ll Pay Not To Enroll In Obamacare

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released the penalty schedule for people who choose to remain uninsured once Obamacare takes effect, revealing a punitive fee schedule that starts with a relatively low dollar amount in 2014 and increases dramatically by the third full year of implementation.

If you’re a single adult who makes less than $10,000 a year, expect to pay $95 for opting out of health care coverage in 2014. If you make more than that and you’re single, you’ll pay one percent of your annual income above the $10,000 filing threshold (the filing threshold bumps up to $20,000 for families.)

In other words, a single person earning $40,000 a year will have to pay a $300 penalty to opt out of coverage. A family with a household income of $40,000 would be penalized $200 in 2014.

In 2015, the number ramps up to a flat $325 – or 2 percent of annual income (whichever is greater). For 2016 and beyond, the penalty will be the greater of $695 or 2.5 percent of annual income.

Those numbers are for single adults. Uninsured children are penalized at half the adult rate.

The penalties have an annual maximum. They can’t exceed the National average premium that people will be paying to receive the so-called “bronze” (i.e., cheapest) coverage plan offered by State-run insurance exchanges. The catch is that even the bronze level of coverage is expected to grow more expensive, with annual premiums forecast to reach $5,000 for individual plans by 2016.

There are exemptions from the penalties. But unless you’re an illegal alien, an American Indian or earn so little that you don’t have to file a tax return, you’re likely out of luck.

Unless, that is, you live in one of the States with a Republican Governor who’s pledged not to expand the Medicaid program as the Affordable Care Act prescribes. Ironically, poor people in the holdout States will be exempt.

Sebelius Pledges Feds Will Always Be There For The States; The Climate Change Gestapo; Alternative Media Gets Foot In White House Door; Bono Preaches Free Enterprise Over Handouts; Obamacare’s Slow Roll – Tuesday Morning News Roundup 8-13-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories making the Internet rounds this morning. Click the links for the full stories.

 

  • HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius spoke to assembled State legislators in Atlanta Monday, noting fear among states that Congress will not hold to its original promises on Medicaid financing. Obamacare proposes that federal taxpayers will cover expansion costs in fiscal 2014, 2015 and 2016, with the federal share eventually dropping to 90 percent, leaving 10 percent to each participating state. The expansion is intended to supplant existing federal and state payments to hospitals that treat the uninsured. Sebelius assured lawmakers that “this is not a bait-and-switch,” and she noted that several states that plan to accept Medicaid expansion have required in law that they withdraw from the program if a future Congress ever reneges on the 90-10 cost split. Source: CBS Atlanta…

 

  • Buried in a lengthy Washington Post article about President Obama’s environmental policy is an illuminating anecdote about just how debatable the administration views climate change — namely, not at all. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell took the unusual step of suggesting that no one working for her should challenge the idea that human activity is driving recent warming. “I hope there are no climate-change deniers in the Department of Interior,” said Jewel. Source: Washington Examiner… 

 

  • New York Times reporter Peter Baker tweeted some news yesterday that signals the shift in influence from old media organizations to new media entities: “WH briefing room chgs: Real Clear Politics, Yahoo News to get seats. Sharing seats: MediaNews, Daily Beast, SiriusXM, Sky News, FT, Guardian.” The addition of RCP to the White House briefing room is seen by many media observers as a shift in relevance and importance for new media companies. Source: Breitbart… 

 

  • While speaking at Georgetown University’s Global Social Enterprise Event, U2 frontman Bono admitted that capitalism trumps aid in the long run. “Aid is just a stop-gap. Commerce [and] entrepreneurial capitalism takes more people out of poverty than aid. In dealing with poverty here and around the world, welfare and foreign aid are a Band-Aid. Free enterprise is a cure. Entrepreneurship is the most sure way of development. Source: Independent Journal…

 

  • According to the Congressional Research Service, as of November 2011, the Obama administration had missed as many as one-third of the deadlines, specified by law, under the Affordable Care Act. The latest piece of the puzzle to stall out until 2015 is a provision that sets caps on out-of-pocket insurance costs. Source: Forbes…

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California Legislature Moves Forward With UnConstitutional Bills Regulating Guns And Ammo

The California Legislature is pressing forward on a number of bills in both the Senate and the State Assembly that, taken together, would give the State the dubious distinction of having the most unConstitutional gun laws in the U.S.

Described in the San Jose Mercury News as “a fusillade of gun-control bills that could move California far beyond what any other state has enacted,” the laws are designed to restrict citizens’ access to both firearms and ammunition.

A bill before the State Senate Monday aims to establish a Statewide database that tracks all point-of-sale ammunition purchases, as well as make it a crime to have a gun that isn’t “locked up” when it’s not being carried.

The State Assembly is also expected today to take up legislation that, if passed, would ban outright all semiautomatic firearms with detachable magazines and force owners of high-capacity magazines to dispose of them. The Assembly bills also include their own language criminalizing the presence of a firearm in the home that isn’t kept under lock and key when the owners are away.

Larry Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation told the newspaper Saturday that it’s folly for the anti-gun lobby to pin its hopes of shaping National gun control legislation on big Blue States like California.

“While they may try to reignite their lost momentum, I don’t think anything California does is going to affect what Washington does,” said Keane. “We constantly see a barrage of anti-gun, anti-industry legislation being introduced in California, far more than in any other state.”

California Governor Jerry Brown has given no assurances that he would sign any of the legislation into law, if it passes. But Brown does have an oddly mixed record on 2nd Amendment issues. He also signed an open carry ban on both handguns and “long guns” in 2011. But as State Attorney General in 2009, Brown also sided with the National Rifle Association in filing an amicus curiae brief opposing Chicago’s ban on handguns.

Review the bevy of gun control proposals at the San Jose Mercury News website.