Jake Tapper forces Obama press secretary Jay Carney to go through illogic of Obama claims

Carney doesn't answer Jake Tapper's question about whether a default is worse than having to vote again on the debt ceiling next year. I wish that someone would similarly question Carney about whether there is any real risk of default, though Tapper was right for his question to just assume that Obama was right here and push through the lack of logical consistency. Given how many times that debt ceiling increases have been voted on in the past, it is just absurd to think that a default is comparably bad to having a temporary extension in the debt ceiling.


European Countries Debt as a percentage of GDP

While Greece and Italy are in trouble with debt to GDP ratios over one, Spain is roughly similar to the US. In just a few years on its current path, the US will end up being similar to Greece.

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In debt ceiling talks, Obama offers to cut $2 billion from next year's spending?

One almost has to read this Reuter's news article a few times to make sure that you read it correctly. In a budget of some $3.73 trillion (see Table S-1), Obama is willing to cut $2 billion in spending. That is 5 hundredths of one percent! How can anyone cut so little? Obviously, the Democrats want to push of any cuts, even small ones well off into the future, so they can be undone at a future date. Taxes though are to start right now. My previous post showed how Obama wasn't willing to name any cuts in his press conference yesterday.

President Barack Obama has offered a spending cut of $2 billion for the coming fiscal year in White House budget talks, far below the level sought by Republicans, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday.

"We have not been able to get them to a place that we're comfortable makes a serious difference and getting our spending trajectory headed downward," McConnell said on the Hugh Hewitt radio show.

Republicans are already moving spending bills through the House of Representatives that would cut $30 billion from the current fiscal year's funding levels. Because the Pentagon would get a spending increase, cuts would be even steeper for the domestic programs beloved by Democrats.

The two sides are working on a budget deal that would cut roughly $1 trillion over 10 years from the annual discretionary spending that funds everything from space exploration to law enforcement.

Republicans want as big a cut as possible for the coming fiscal year, which starts October 1, to set a lower baseline for the coming years.

"So far it's been pretty puny," McConnell said of the Democrats' $2 billion offer. "Our response to that is the government borrowed $4 billion today." . . .

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Canada to the rescue in the UN Arms talks?

This should be the role of the US to say that there are legitimate civilian uses of guns, but not this time. From the Vancouver Sun:

Canada has thrown a wrench into negotiations toward a United Nations arms trade treaty by proposing hunting rifles be exempted from the draft accord, gun control groups say.

But firearms advocates are praising the move, calling it evidence that the Harper government is on their side when it comes to gun control.

Preliminary talks on a future Arms Trade Treaty are being held this week at the United Nations in New York. The treaty would establish common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms, and likely establish a reporting framework as well.

Thursday Canadian diplomats proposed that hunting rifles and other sporting arms be omitted from the draft accord.

"Canada would like to see language in the 'Principles' section that explicitly recognizes that there is a legal trade in small arms for legitimate civilian uses, including for sporting, hunting and collecting purposes," read the speech.

Canada proposed the following clause be added into the draft accord: "Reaffirming that small arms have certain legitimate civilian uses, including sporting, hunting and collecting purposes."

Canada also proposed that ammunition and other "high volume items" be exempted from reporting requirements. . . .

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Ann Althouse: "Obama lied about a central fact about his own life which he used — powerfully — to push health care reform"

This is part of a long discussion that Ms. Althouse has on a New York Times article and the Obama's administration's defense of Obama's past statements regarding his mother's last year of life.

"Book Challenges Obama on Mother’s Deathbed Fight," says the NYT, which, of course, isn't generally inclined to cast unnecessary aspersions on this President. "Lied" is my paraphrasing. The NYT wrote "mischaracterized."
During his presidential campaign and subsequent battle over a health care law, Mr. Obama quieted crowds with the story of his mother’s fight with her insurer over whether her cancer was a pre-existing condition that disqualified her from coverage.

In offering the story as an argument for ending pre-existing condition exclusions by health insurers, the president left the clear impression that his mother’s fight was over health benefits for medical expenses.

But in “A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother,” author Janny Scott quotes from correspondence from the president’s mother to assert that the 1995 dispute concerned a Cigna disability insurance policy and that her actual health insurer had apparently reimbursed most of her medical expenses without argument....

The book came out in early May. The reason this article is hitting the front page today is that the NYT has been trying to extract a response from Obama.
On Wednesday, in response to repeated requests for comment that The Times first made in mid-June, shortly after the book’s release....

It took repeated requests for the NYT to get an answer to such an important question?!
... a White House spokesman chose not to dispute either Ms. Scott’s account or Mr. Obama’s memory, while arguing that Mr. Obama’s broader point remained salient.

Fake false but accurate?!
“We have not reviewed the letters or other material on which the author bases her account,” said Nicholas Papas, the spokesman. “The president has told this story based on his recollection of events that took place more than 15 years ago.”


Newest Fox News piece: Seven Myths About the Looming Debt-Ceiling 'Disaster'

My newest piece starts this way:

If Congress and the president don't raise the debt ceiling, the consequences will be disastrous, politicians and pundits tell us, -- the equivalent of an economic Armageddon. And President Obama warns that the consequences are so dire that he cannot possibly tolerate any delay in making an agreement. He announced yesterday that any debt deal must be completed by today, July 15th.

According to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, failure to raise the debt ceiling limit will cause the United States to default and "cause a financial crisis potentially more severe than the crisis from which we are only now starting to recover.”
On Thursday, he renewed these warnings. And President Obama alarmed retired Americans this week: "I cannot guarantee that those [Social Security] checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it."

But the list of terrible things to come, if the government is stopped from continued deficit spending, goes on. Failure to raise the ceiling, it is warned, will dramatically raise mortgage interest rates, cause housing sales to plunge, create panic on world financial markets, and destroy the value of the dollar.

Austan Goolsbee, Obama's head of his Counsel of Economic Advisers, went so far this week as to blame the continued slow economic recovery on those few politicians who are against raising the debt ceiling. "[I]t's important we remove this wet blanket of uncertainty that is permeating the private sector where they don't know that the government -- there are people actively advocating that the government declare it's not going to pay its bills," he told MSNBC. Yet, the slow recovery has been going on for over two years, well before Republicans obtained control of the House of Representatives.

A new CBS News/New York Times poll finds that Americans oppose increasing the debt ceiling, by a 69 to 24 percent margin.
Mr. Obama dismissed this finding recently and, as usual, he believes he knows better. According to him, Americans just don't understand the complexities of the arguments: "Let me distinguish between professional politicians and the public at large. The public is not paying close attention to the ins and outs of how a Treasury (bond) auction goes. They shouldn't. . . . They've got a lot of other things on their plate. We're paid to worry about it. . . . Now, I will say that some of the professional politicians know better. And for them to say that we shouldn't be raising the debt ceiling is irresponsible. They know better."

But the general public is right. There is an overload from all the doomsday predictions. Earlier this year, before the debt limit was hit on May 21, the Obama administration already used the same scare tactics.

Here's a look at seven myths that the Obama administration is pushing on the American people: . . .

Obama at his press conference today was asked what he was willing to cut in spending (at 11:27 into the video): "You know, I am not going to get into specifics." At 13:20, "But if you are trying to get to 2.4 trillion without any revenue then you are effectively gutting a whole bunch of discretion domestic spending that is going to be too burdensome, that is not something that I am going to support." Note that this is $2.4 trillion out of $46 trillion.

Fox News has an online poll asking people whether the threat of default is a "Scare Tactic." The poll is available here. This discussion by Rove is interesting:

Note: I have been asked about the 14th Amendment claim. For those who need more than the link in the piece, the Supreme Court decision in Perry v. United States (1935) ruled that any legally incurred debt must be paid.

The Fourteenth Amendment, in its fourth section, explicitly declares: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, . . . shall not be questioned." While this provision was undoubtedly inspired by the desire to put beyond question the obligations of the government issued during the Civil War, its language indicates a broader connotation. We regard it as confirmatory of a fundamental principle which applies as well to the government bonds in question, and to others duly authorized by the Congress, as to those issued before the Amendment was adopted. Nor can we perceive any reason for not considering the expression "the validity of the public debt" as embracing whatever concerns the integrity of the public obligations. . . .

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Postal Workers' Union Inaccurately Claims that the Post Office doesn't get Government Subsidies

Given all the regulations imposed on all sorts of companies, I am sure that a lot of them would appreciate the tax and other benefits given to the USPS. One thing apparently not included as a government subsidy is the monopoly that the government gives the USPS for first class mail delivery. The Union though wants to convince people that the USPS wants to "dispel the persistent myth that our work is funded by taxpayers." If Obama wants to get rid of tax subsidies, this might really be one place to start. From Fox News:

The postal workers union is refusing to take down a new ad after Republican Rep. Darrell Issa accused its members of "misleading" viewers by claiming tax dollars do not support the Postal Service.
"The ad is accurate," Sally Davidow, spokeswoman for the American Postal Workers Union, told FoxNews.com.
The TV ad, which started running this week, has a voiceover claiming U.S. mail delivery doesn't cost taxpayers a "single cent" and is "funded solely by stamps and postage."
The problem with that statement, according to Issa, is that the Postal Service enjoys other "implicit subsidies" -- a 2007 Federal Trade Commission report noted that the service does not have to pay taxes, including property tax; does not have to pay vehicle registration fees, and can borrow at low-interest rates through the U.S. Treasury. . . .
Indeed, the FTC report estimated that federally imposed restraints on the Postal Service -- as of fiscal 2006 -- cost between $330 million and $782 million annually, while the special benefits were worth between $39 million and $117 million.
Davidow suggested the benefits were justified and didn't undermine the union's claim about being unsupported by tax dollars. . . .

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Did Obama officials coach ATF agents to say things that support Obama's new gun regulations?

Fox News reports (see at the 2:01 mark into the news segment):

"Through Senator Grassley's office Fox has obtained a number of internal ATF emails that seem to suggest that ATF agents were counseled to highlight a link between criminals and certain semi-automatic weapons in order to bolster a case for a rule like the one the DOJ announced yesterday [Monday]."

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Obama's "bargaining style"

These quotes raise the question of whether Obama doesn't want an agreement or whether he doesn't know how to negotiate one. Boehner apparently felt that he couldn't depend on what Obama was telling him. Except on taxes, nothing that Obama said seemed to last more than a day. The fact that Obama and the Democrats have been unwilling to make their own proposals public (see here and here) and have leaked Republican offers to press as well as attacked Republican budget proposals makes one think that they have wanted the talks to fail. From ABC News:

In a meeting with a small group of reporters in his Capitol Hill office this morning, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, criticized President Obama and White House officials for their lack of resolve in negotiations.

“Dealing with them the last couple months has been like dealing with Jell-o,” Boehner said. “Some days it’s firmer than others. Sometimes it’s like they’ve left it out over night.”

Boehner explained that talks broke down over the weekend because, he said, the president backed off entitlement reforms so much from Friday to Saturday, “It was Jell-o; it was damn near liquid.”

“By Saturday, they’d spent the previous day and a half just going backwards” on reforming entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

“The only thing they’ve been firm on is these damn tax increases,” the Speaker said. . . .

Meanwhile, Obama just rudely walked out of a meeting today.

President Barack Obama abruptly walked out of a debt-limit meeting with congressional leaders Wednesday, throwing into serious doubt the already shaky debt limit negotiations, according to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and a second GOP source.

Cantor said the president became “agitated” and warned the Virginia Republican not to “call my bluff” when Cantor said he would consider a short-term debt-limit hike. The meeting “ended with the president abruptly walking out of the meeting,” Cantor told reporters in the Capitol. “I know why he lost his temper. He’s frustrated. We’re all frustrated.” . . .

All this raises the question about why Moody's has placed the US on "review for downgrade." Is it because there has to be a risk or because the Obama administration keeps threatening to default and not pay the interest on the debt?

Moody’s Investors Service put the U.S. under review for a credit rating downgrade as talks to raise the government’s $14.3 trillion debt limit stall, adding to concern that political gridlock will lead to a default.
The Aaa ratings of financial institutions directly linked to the U.S. government, including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Banks, and the Federal Farm Credit Banks, were also put on review for cuts, Moody’s said in a statement today. . . .

There is a lot of concern over "uncertainty" (see comments by Obama's head of the CEA, Austan Goolsbee), but Obama could reduce this considerably by simply saying that he will make sure that the interest is paid off. Obama says that he cannot guarantee Social Security Checks that will go out on August 3. Obama knows how much money will be available in a few weeks. Will the media say that he is irresponsible for saying: "I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it."

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Paul Krugman changes his story on what makes a good stimulus

It used to be that Krugman thought money to state and local governments was the best stimulus.

Now the centrists have shaved off $86 billion in spending — much of it among the most effective and most needed parts of the plan. In particular, aid to state governments, which are in desperate straits, is both fast — because it prevents spending cuts rather than having to start up new projects — and effective, because it would in fact be spent; plus state and local governments are cutting back on essentials, so the social value of this spending would be high. . . .

Without admitting any change in his views, now this week he claims: "This aid may have mitigated the slump, but it wasn’t the kind of job-creation program we could and should have had."

There is no explanation for or even acknowledgement of this change.

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Michele Bachmann gets it right on the Debt ceiling scare tactics

For related points that I have made see these pieces.

Team Obama's Debt Limit Scare Tactics Are Getting Old -- Fast

Obama Officials Play Chicken Little With the Debt Ceiling

My first piece above goes through the spending numbers and it is just outrageous that Obama is now talking about not sending off Social Security checks. Interest, Social Security, and many other programs can still get covered.


Corporate PACs give heavily to Democrats

So with Obama imposing massive regulations on businesses, why are businesses giving so heavily to Democrats? Is it because companies are afraid or retaliation from Democrats? Some firms obviously benefit from government regulation, but on net more are harmed then helped. From the Washington Examiner:

Federal law limits how much corporate political action committees (PACs) can give to members of Congress, but high-powered K Street lobbysts have found a loophole that enables them to give an estimated $50 million to senators and representatives. . . .

The biggest spenders were Chevron and Wal-Mart, which donated $2.9 million and $2.2 million respectively. And the biggest recipients were the Congressional Black Caucus with over $6 million, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus with over $4 million and President Barack Obama with over $1 million.

Nine of the top 10 recipients were Democrats, or in the case of the two ethnic caucus groups, heavily oriented to the Democratic Party. The lone top 10 recipient not associated with Democrats is Gen. David Petraus, recently appointed by President Obama as director of the CIA. . . . .

The report is available here.


Price of Kindle version of More Guns, Less Crime (3rd edition) reduced to just $7.96

You can get a copy for just $7.96 by clicking here. It is now the 2nd best selling Kindel criminology book and the best selling one on Civil Rights and Liberties at Amazon.com.


Obama administration is concerned about uncertainty, but only one type of uncertainty

What about all the regulatory uncertainty? Doesn't that count? The administration is so selective in its arguments. Austan Goolsbee doesn't seem to have a problem with these types of arguments.

"I do think it's important we remove this wet blanket of uncertainty that is permeating the private sector where they don't know that the government -- there are people actively advocating that the government declare it's not going to pay its bills," White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee, on MSNBC. . . .

Apparently, the "web blanket" statement is becoming quite the catch phrase with the administration.

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"Government-Sponsored Meltdown"

From the WSJ:

Fannie Mae did not contribute 'marginally' to the financial crisis. It was the source of the declining mortgage underwriting standards that brought down the system. . . .


Students for Concealed Carry National Convention

On Monday, August 8th in Washington, DC, Students for Concealed Carry will hold a national convention. The event will go from noon to 5 PM. Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli will give the keynote address. Details about the event can be found here. It should be an informative event. Alan Gura, Bob Cottrol, Nelson Lund, Amanda Collins, Nikki Goeser, and others will speaking.

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Debating Dennis Hennigan on Southern California's Public Radio KPCC

I will be debating the Brady Campaign's Hennigan at 1 PM EDT on KPCC on the new Obama gun control regulations. The archive and discussion of the show is available here.

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Obama on how professional politicians, not voters, better understand importance of raising debt ceiling

A transcript of the press conference is available here.

Meanwhile Geithner continues to predict disaster if debt limit not raised well in advance of August 2nd.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Tuesday said that time is running out for a deal to raise the debt limit, and wants a broad agreement with Congress in place by the end of next week at the latest.
Speaking at a finance symposium at the Treasury Department, Geithner vowed that Congress would raise the debt limit ahead of an August 2 deadline when the government will risk default, adding, "Failure is not an option."
He said President Barack Obama will keep meeting with congressional leaders until a deal to raise the debt limit and slash future deficits is reached.
"We know we don't have a lot of time," Geithner said. "I think the leaders understand we don't have a lot of time, and we want to wrap up the broad outlines of an agreement by the end of this week -- certainly by the end of next week -- so that we have time to legislate it and put it in place." . . .



Can taxing "Millionaires and Billionaires" solve the deficit?

We know that the eliminating the so-called tax break on jets might raise an entire billion dollars or so over the next ten years, and that it really isn't a tax break as the president claims because different assets do really depreciate at different rates. But what about if we took all the money earned by those evil "Millionaires and Billionaires," wouldn't that solve our problems? Our deficit is so large that the above diagram from Stossel's show says the answer is "no." If you watch the youtube version of the show, my son Maxim's segment starts at about 11 minutes into the video.


New technology helps police catch wanted criminals

While this technology's ability to be abused is concerning, it does make it easier to catch criminals who are on the run.

Fueled by federal grants, high-speed cameras that can automatically read up to 30 license plates a second and check them for violations or law enforcement alerts are scanning more streets and highways across Massachusetts this year.
The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security doled out $500,000 in federal highway grants earlier this year to 26 police departments for automatic plate readers, which can be stationary or mounted on a cruiser on patrol.
Some MetroWest and Milford-area cities and towns already had the high-tech scanners. Those that won grants are now using plate readers or will be soon.
"In real time, it's just a great opportunity," said Ashland Police Chief Scott Rohmer, whose department bought a plate reader last year. "With the technology, it's just another tool to allow the officer to be better at their job and process information faster."
Framingham and Franklin are among area departments now using the cameras, which are clearly in demand. Ninety-eight police departments applied to the state's public safety office for a grant to buy one this year.
Milford and Marlborough recently got the scanners in the second round.
"It searches for people who are wanted, it searches for vehicles that aren't registered or insured, so in the long run, it protects the public," Milford Chief Tom O'Loughlin said. "For me, it's like other equipment - radios and radar. We have the LoJack trackers. We just a week or so ago tracked a stolen car from Bellingham. It's another tool that can be used by patrol officers." . . .
Automatic plate readers also record information on the dates, times and locations of the plates they scan, according to an IACP report.
This information could help with criminal investigations, such as placing the same car at multiple bank robberies or break-ins, authorities say. But collecting the information on all citizens - even law-abiding ones - is what worries privacy advocates. . . .
"We would prefer that they not keep it at all unless it pertains to an ongoing criminal investigation," Crockford said, adding that the ACLU hopes to work with the state to draft a data policy that protects people's privacy. . . .

Thanks to Jeff Yager for the heads up on this story.


Senator Schumer tells pundit to say things that the pundit knows are not true

Douglas Schoen calls this exchange he had with Schumer "bone chilling." Is it surprising that Schumer would demand that Schoen say things that he knows are not true when he appears on national television? Will the rest of the media discuss this story? If a pundit says false claims that viewers know are not true, they have much less credibility when they then say things that they believe are true.

Specifically, Senator Schumer said that since Fox News, in his opinion, has as one of its principle objectives, building support for the Republican Party, anyone who appears on the air as a Democrat, particularly in the political debates Fox News organizes, has an obligation (in his mind) to articulate Democratic talking points. It was his considered opinion that Democrats who do not do this, who speak their minds, as I try to do, were not only not "Democrats" anymore, per se but should also not be identified as such by Fox News Channel.
When I personally suggested to Senator Schumer that I had an affirmative obligation to offer my own personal view point, whether it be consistent with or not consistent with Democratic orthodoxy, the senator said given what Fox News does and given what their mission is, it is absolutely essential that any so called "Democratic" contributor take the party line as articulated by himself and leading Democrats.
And his point, personally, was that myself and my colleague and friend [Democratic strategist and former Jimmy Carter pollster] Pat Caddell, who have criticized the Democrats where we felt it reasonable and necessary, and criticized the Republicans where we felt it was reasonable and appropriate, were no longer "Democrats" because we did not repeat Democratic talking points.
I also made the point to Mr. Schumer that I felt that saying things you did not believe was not appropriate and not right.
He said that under the circumstances, (ie: appearing as a Democrat on Fox News) there was no choice if one wanted to be a Democrat--either mouth the party line or cease and desist from identifying yourself as a Democrat. -- And at the very least, make sure that Fox News does not characterize you as a Democrat. . . .
I found his argument at the very least, disturbing, and as I thought it through, ultimately bone chilling, both for me and for the Democratic party. . . .

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Obama views any gun over a .22 caliber as "high powered"

More gun regulations from the Obama administration. Just an attempt to use regulations to make so-called assault weapons costly to sell.

In an effort to stem the illicit flow of weapons into Mexico, the Justice Department announced Monday that all gun shops in four Southwest border states will be required to alert the federal government to frequent buyers of high-powered rifles.
The new policy comes amid criticism of a failed federal probe aimed at dismantling large-scale arms trafficking networks along the Arizona border with Mexico.
In the probe, called Operation Fast and Furious, several agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives say they were inexplicably ordered by superiors to stop tracking some small-time "straw" buyers who purchased large numbers of weapons apparently destined for drug cartels.
Under the new policy, federal firearms licensees in Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico must report purchases of two or more of some types of rifles by the same person in a five-day span. The requirement applies to purchases of semi-automatic rifles that have detachable magazines and a caliber of greater than .22.
ATF estimates it will generate 18,000 reports a year.
Deputy Attorney General James Cole said the new reporting measure will improve the ATF's ability to disrupt illegal weapons trafficking networks that funnel firearms to criminal organizations. . . . .

How exactly will this improve the government's ability to disrupt illegal weapons? Few of the guns in Mexico come from the US and there are lots of other sources. The NRA has said that it will sue to stop the new rule.

The National Rifle Association is vowing to sue the Obama administration after it announced Monday that it will begin to require gun dealers in four border states to send reports to the government following multiple sales of some semi-automatic longarms.

"They don’t have the statutory authority to do it and we’ll file a lawsuit as soon as the first letters are sent" demanding the sales information from dealers, the NRA's legislative director Chris Cox told POLITICO Monday afternoon.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms announced in December that it planned to implement the rule on an emergency basis beginning in January in order to reduce the flow of assault weapons across the border into Mexico. However, the Office of Management and Budget rejected the emergency "information collection" and told ATF to proceed with a full, formal process and public comment period. The final proposed rule was made public on April 29.

Obama administration officials denied that the decision to proceed with the new reporting requirement or the timing of its implementation had anything to do with the controversy over and Congressional investigation into an ATF's "Operation Fast & Furious," which allegedly lost track of more than 100 weapons suspected of being headed for Mexican drug cartels. Two of those weapons showed up at the scene of the killing of a Border Patrol agent in December.

"The White House did not delay its consideration of ATF’s request," OMB spokeswoman Meg Reilly said. She said "OMB determined after careful review that ATF’s request did not satisfy" the standards for an emergency data collection and was required to go through the full notice and comment process before implementation.

Cox accused the Obama administration of making an end-run around Congress, which has approved mandatory reporting of multiple handgun purchases, but did not include long-arms or so-called assault weapons in that requirement. . . .

"Reporting multiple long gun sales would do nothing to stop the flow of firearms to known straw purchasers because many Federal Firearms Dealers are already voluntarily reporting suspicious transactions," Grassley said in a statement. He said Congressional investigators are aware of at least150 long gun sales that ATF knew about but didn't prevent from reaching Mexico.

"This makes it pretty clear that the problem isn’t lack of burdensome reporting requirements. The administration’s continued overreach with regulations continues, and is a distraction from its reckless policy to allow guns to walk into Mexico," Grassley said. . . .

Meanwhile the family of murdered border patrol agent is considering suing feds over "Fast and Furious" program.

The family of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry wants justice, and that may include suing the federal government.
"If the evidence shows Brian's death was proximately caused by the negligence of the federal government, there may be a cause of action," said Terry family attorney Paul Charlton.
Terry was killed in December 2010 at the hands of an illegal immigrant working for the Sinaloa Cartel while patrolling an area near Tucson known as Rio Rico.
Officials traced the gun found at the scene to Operation Fast and Furious, a weapons trafficking program run by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that let guns travel south of the border.
Generally speaking, government officials can't be sued for damages, however misguided or incompetent. Yet, there are exceptions when agencies can reasonably foresee their actions will do harm.
While it's too premature to know who likely would be fingered in a suit, it is possible that top ATF and Department of Justice officials could be the targets. . . .

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Appearance on Fox News Live to discuss Operation Fast and Furious

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Peter Ferrara's new book: America's Ticking Bankruptcy Bomb: How the Looming Debt Crisis Threatens the American Dream-and How We Can Turn the Tide Before It's Too Late

The debt problems facing the US are staggering, and in Peter Ferrara's new book he does an excellent job describing those problems. $14.3 trillion comes to $190,000 for the average family of four in the US. Obama's February budget proposed adding another $130,000 for that family (over $10 trillion). Americans see the riots in Greece and the unwillingness for the government to do anything to solve the problem, and even the official debt count shows us on a path that will shortly get us to Greece's debt as a share of GDP. While the EU and the US are coming to the aid of Greece and other countries, you can see the problems created when larger countries such as Spain or Italy start to have problems. Who will be able to come to our aid?

Ferrara doesn't just stop there though. Peter Ferrara is an original thinker and he offers some insightful and thoughtful solutions to the problems. One might not agree with his solutions, but they will get you to think and make your own arguments much better. Unlike many books out there, this book does treat its readers like idiots. Peter makes difficult points understandable, but he doesn't avoid the tough issues.



Appearance on Canada's Sun TV "The Source with Ezra Levant"

You watch the interview here.

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"500,000 Texans now have [Concealed Handgun] licenses"

Just between three states (Pennsylvania, Florida, and Texas) there are over 2.1 million permit holders. KHOU asks if Texas is safer with more people licensed to carry. This article is by Dave Fehling at KHOU Channel 11 News.

The Texas legislature has passed a bill allowing employees to keep guns locked in their cars while at work. Lawmakers also had considered allowing concealed handguns to be carried onto college campuses.
The legislation begs a question: does it do good or harm to have thousands of Texans legally carrying concealed handguns?
KHOU 11 News took aim at finding some answers.
There are now over 20,000 citizens in Harris County alone licensed to carry concealed handguns.
"Sometimes I have it with me," said Jason Goedert, a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holder who was recently at the shooting range in George Bush Park in west Harris County.
Goedert and other gun owners said they believe having more citizens carrying concealed guns will deter a criminal who may otherwise try to assault someone. . . .

There is one mistake in the piece where he writes: "the state data shows that of the 65,561 people convicted in Texas in 2009 of felonies of all kinds, 101 were also holders of concealed handgun licenses." What he meant to say was "felonies or misdemeanors of all kinds," with the large majority of these crimes being misdemeanors.

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Wisconsin becomes 49th state to allow concealed carry

The signing took place on Friday.


Where is the ACLU in Chicago and DC gun fee cases?

The ACLU in Missouri is suing to stop a proposal that would require voter IDs. One of their arguments is that even though the IDs are given out for free initially, eventually people will be required to buy one. The ACLU states that this requirement for the law would "disenfranchise impoverished voters." Yet, the fee for these IDs that they eventually will have to get is small compared to the fees required to register handguns in Chicago or DC. So if the ACLU believes their claim about the voter IDs, why isn't the ACLU trying to protect "impoverished" citizens who are being denied their ability to defend themselves and their families in those cities?

By the way, since the voter IDs are initially given out for free, it seems like it will be years before there will be standing to bring this part of the ACLU case.

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Obama's anti-business rhetoric

Andrew Hill has some useful quotes by Obama to remember.

Fast-forward to January 29th of 2009. Despite the economic decline, some of the nation’s largest financial and lending institutions had actually just posted some hefty profits, and had paid their executives bonuses. And once again President Obama chastised the achievement, stating “there will be time for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses…now’s not that time, and that’s a message I intend to send directly to them..” Apparently, in Mr. Obama’s view, it is sometimes preferable for companies to be unprofitable – yet unprofitable companies don’t “create jobs.”

And here’s one of my favorites, from May of 2009. Speaking at the commencement exercises at Arizona State University, President Obama advised the new college graduates against private-sector success: “…You’re taught to chase after all the usual brass rings,” the President lamented. “Yah try to be on this ‘who’s who’ list or that ‘top 100 list’…ya chase after the big money, ya figure out how big your corner office is…ya worry about whether or not ya have a fancy enough title, or a fancy enough car…Now you can take that road, and it may work, for some. But at this critical juncture in our nation’s history, at this difficult time, let me suggest that such an approach won’t get you where you want to go. Did you study business? You can go start a company…or, why not go help a struggling not-for-profit find better and more effective ways to help folks in need?” . . .


Small restaurants in Newark, NJ are being required to have armed guards in them

Having a uniformed armed guard in these restaurants makes no sense. If an attack were still to occur in these restaurants, the single uniformed arm guard would be the first person killed in the attack. The benefit of citizens carrying concealed is that the attackers don't know who is armed before they attack. From Reuters. The cost of Newark's program is also dramatically higher than a right-to-carry law.

Small restaurants in the city of Newark, New Jersey will be required to have an armed security guard at night under a new law approved by the city council.
The rule comes in the wake of a drive-by shooting in May at the Texas Fried Chicken and Pizza restaurant, where an off-duty Newark police officer was killed.
Under the ordinance, approved by the council unanimously on Thursday, restaurants that serve 15 or fewer people must hire an armed guard to stand watch after 9 p.m. Those unwilling to pay for a security guard must close by 10 p.m.
"If they want to stay open that late, they should provide security. If not, they should close," said Councilman Ras Baraka, who wrote the bill, in a telephone interview.
"These restaurants who serve 15 or less people, walk-in eateries where you get your food and you leave, they are havens for criminal activity," said Keith Hamilton, an aide to Baraka.
Jamil Nahiam, owner of the restaurant where the shooting occurred, said he opposes the ordinance, saying it places an expensive and unfair burden on small business owners to do something that should be the responsibility of the police.
"The ordinance is going to put us out of business. If that's what his intention was, I think he's going to succeed," Nahiam said in a telephone interview. . . .

Thanks to Chris Borneman for pointing out this link.