Category: Regulation


How Much Is Your State Paying For A Gallon Of Gas? This Cool Map Will Show You

 

Debt.com Gas Prices Over Time

 

 

 

” What is the average price of gas in your state? Researchers at Debt.com have put together a map to show you.

  Debt.com’s interactive map allows users to see their state’s average gas price-simply by hovering their cursor over the state. Clicking a state will show you its average price for the last 10 years:

  While the national average for a gallon of gas is about $2.18, some states fare better or worse than others.

  For example, drivers in Hawaii “consistently pay the most for gas.” They are currently paying an average of $3.31.

  In addition to Hawaii, drivers in Alaska, California and the New England region pay among the highest average gas prices in the nation.”

 

More at The Daily Signal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silver’s Law Firm Rakes In Millions From Judges He Controls

 

 

 

 

His law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, gets its asbestos cases — and paydays — moved more quickly than those of other attorneys, and reaps a fortune from favorable rulings by friendly judges, charge lawyers and tort-reform advocates.

  Silver’s East Village firm handles more than half the cases in a special section of Manhattan Supreme Court called NYCAL (New York City Asbestos Litigation). So dominant is the firm, the court’s Web site refers to cases as “Weitz” or “non-Weitz.

  The chief asbestos judge, Sherry Klein Heitler — also Manhattan’s chief civil judge — has handled dozens of Weitz & Luxenberg cases.

They’ve taken over a section of the courthouse, and the people in charge of the courthouse run it for them,” said a disgusted lawyer who files personal-injury cases in Manhattan. “It pours money into the firm.”

The firm told investigators it hired Silver, who has no experience in asbestos cases, in 2002, because it hoped to “increase the firm’s prestige and perceived power,” according to last week’s federal indictment charging Silver raked in about $4 million in bribes and kickbacks.

  That perceived power has paid off, critics say.

  Last year, at Weitz & Luxenberg’s request, Heitler reversed a 20-year rule barring punitive damages in asbestos cases, paving the way for much bigger jury awards and putting pressure on defendants to settle.

  Another judge, Joan Madden, consolidated unrelated asbestos cases. Joining up to seven plaintiffs has resulted in huge increases in NYCAL jury verdicts — from an average of $7 million to $24 million per plaintiff between 2010 and 2014, data collected by Bates White Economic Consulting show.

  Last year, Weitz & Luxenberg won a record $190 million in a consolidated trial for five mesothelioma victims who worked in different jobs for different employers.

  Of 15 mesothelioma verdicts in the last four years, Silver’s firm won $273.5 million of $313.5 million awarded by NYCAL juries. Law firms usually take a third.

  The average award for a NYCAL asbestos case — nearly $16 million per plaintiff between 2010 and 2014 — is two to three times larger than those in other courts nationwide, Bates White reported last month at an asbestos law conference in New York.”

 

NY Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ted Cruz Wins SOTU Postgame With ‘More Cowbell! More Cowbell!’

 

 

 

 

” Megyn Kelly asked Sen. Ted Cruz if he thinks President Obama was setting the stage for the next presidential candidate.

“ Oh, I think he was trying to and he hopes that the next candidate engages in the same far-left policies. This is a man of the left,” Cruz said.

“ You know, it reminds me of the classic Saturday Night Live skit with Christopher Walken, where there’s a band playing and his solution to every problem is ‘More cowbell! More cowbell!’” Cruz said. “For President Obama ‘More cowbell’ is ‘More taxes! More government!More taxes! More government!’” “

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Kelly laughed and said, “The audience knows!” She said the focus group in the studio “is familiar with the skit.” The camera cut to the laughing audience.

“ It’s the same failed policies that don’t work and we ought to come together. Economic growth is a bipartisan objective and I think Congress needs to lead,” Cruz continued.”

 

PJ Tatler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newtown School Panel To Include Proposed Gun Ban In Report

 

 

 

” An advisory panel charged with looking at public safety in the wake of the deadly Newtown school shooting agreed Friday to include in its final report a recommendation to ban the sale and possession of any gun that can fire more than 10 rounds without reloading.

  The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, created by Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in the wake of the 2012 school shooting, plans to complete its work next month. The report will include dozens of recommendations in three categories: law enforcement and emergency response; safe school design and operation; and mental health and wellness.

  In its interim report last March, the commission included the proposed gun ban, which is opposed by the gun lobby and manufacturers. It would go much further than a 2013 Connecticut law which, among other things, expanded the state’s assault weapons ban and barred the possession and sale of large-capacity ammunition magazines.

” Whether or not this law would stand the test of constitutionality is not for this commission to decide,” said former Hartford Police Chief Bernard Sullivan, a member of the panel. “The commission has expressed very strongly that this is a statement that is needed regarding the lethality of weapons.” “

 

Morning Journal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Firearms Sellers Say They’re Being Choked Off From Payment Processors

 

 

TransNational Bank

 

 

” Go to a gun show, and you won’t find many merchants using PayPal.

  You’ll also find few vendors using popular payment processors such as Square, Stripe and Spark Pay.

  That’s because some payment processors explicitly prohibit the use of their systems for online — and some in-store — sales of firearms, ammunition and certain accessories.

  Retailers in the gun industry say they’re being discriminated against.

“ Being shut out from mainstream payment processors makes us feel like we are part of some type of shady business when, in fact, there is more regulation and documentation required for federally licensed firearms dealers than most businesses,” said Trevor Blandford of Terminal Performance Associates in Caroline, Va.

  Blandford, 21, has been working gun shows for his family’s business since he was 14 years old. Recently, his parents named him general manager of Terminal Performance, which is known for its custom-built pistols and rifles and originally finished wraps. He and his family sell their merchandise online and at local trade shows.”

 

     As the State continues to pursue it’s gun control agenda in the most deceitful and underhanded ways , it is refreshing to know that at least one financial institution is not allowing this blatantly unconstitutional move by our “employees” in the Federal government to shut down legal businesses …

 

” With few options, Terminal Performance then turned to Transnational, a payment processor located in Rosemont, Ill., that is not shy in boasting its support for the Second Amendment.

  Although it processes payments for a range of industries, Transnational has capitalized on the trend of payment processors choking firearms merchants from their customer lists.

“ Our decision to provide services within the firearms industry mostly is predicated by the fact that we believe through the obtaining of an [federal firearms license] it’s one of the more heavily regulated processes that has good governance and good oversight,” Jae Haas, President of Transnational told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

  Having been in the payment processing business for 16 years, Haas said he’s observed a growing trend of banks and payment processors adding firearms dealers to their “prohibited” or “high-risk” lists.”

 

 

Lovers of liberty would do well to try and give Transnational as much of their business as possible .

 

 

Read more at The Daily Signal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liability Concerns Prompt Some Cities To Limit Sledding

 

 

 

 

 

” As anyone who has grown up around snow knows, part of the fun of sledding is the risk of soaring off a jump or careening around a tree.

  But faced with the potential bill from sledding injuries, some cities have opted to close hills rather than risk large liability claims.

  No one tracks how many cities have banned or limited sledding, but the list grows every year. One of the latest is in Dubuque, Iowa, where the City Council is moving ahead with a plan to ban sledding in all but two of its 50 parks.

” We have all kinds of parks that have hills on them,” said Marie Ware, Dubuque’s leisure services manager. “We can’t manage the risk at all of those places.”

  A study by Columbus, Ohio-based Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that between 1997 and 2007, more than 20,000 children each year were treated at emergency rooms for sledding-related injuries.”

 

ABC News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FCC Chair Has All But Confirmed He’ll Side With Obama On Net Neutrality

 

 

 

 

 

 

” President Obama’s top telecom regulator just issued his strongest hints yet about a pending plan to regulate Internet providers, and judging by reports from the room, he’s leaning hard toward the most aggressive proposal on the table.

  Speaking Wednesday at CES, the world’s largest consumer electronics show, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler took aim at several industry arguments against the use of Title II of the Communications Act to regulate broadband providers. That’s the legal tool that President Obama and many consumer groups say would prevent broadband providers from unfairly discriminating against some Web sites.

  Wheeler also appeared to backtrack on one of his previous net neutrality proposals, saying it didn’t go far enough in protecting consumers, according to tweets from the audience.

  Now, analysts and policy experts from both sides of the net neutrality debate largely agree that Wheeler will seek to apply Title II to Internet providers after all, more than a year after a federal court tossed out the FCC’s previous net neutrality rules.”

 

Washington Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

” On Tuesday night, PBS aired its latest Frontline documentary aimed at attacking the NRA entitled “Gunned Down: The Power of the NRA.” On multiple occasions, the program did its best to promote the activities of anti-gun activists while discrediting the efforts of the NRA to protect the Second Amendment. 

  Throughout the hour long special, Frontline reporter Jim Gilmore highlighted several mass shootings over the past three decades, and the program expressed dismay at how the NRA could continue to successfully promote its agenda despite several high-profile shootings in America.

  Gilmore introduced the NRA special by discussing the shooting of Gabby Giffords and President Obama’s subsequent reaction to the attempted assassination of a member of Congress. The documentary highlighted numerous individuals including Dennis Henigan, former Vice President of the Brady Campaign to prevent Gun Violence, to sympathize with President Obama’s response in the wake of the shooting.: 

  The President was extremely compassionate. He was enormously eloquent. But he did everything in his power to avoid using the word “gun” in the wake of that shooting.”

 

Read it all and wonder why your tax dollars continue to fund anti-gun propaganda such as this .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Generating New Revenue Streams

 

 

 

” The common reaction to a budget crisis is reducing personnel and cutting services. The focus of this article is to provide police agencies with an alternative to personnel and service reductions. This alternative could help the survival of a city and maintain or expand police service through generating new revenue streams as a proactive approach to meet the fiscal crisis of today and the uncertain future of tomorrow.

  While generating revenue streams is not new to most agencies, the focus and resources necessary to meet current and emerging public safety needs are unprecedented in law enforcement’s history. Law enforcement executives are accustomed to the ebb and flow of fiscal budgets. The current trend, however, is much more far reaching and will impact almost all cities in California and most likely all communities in the United States.

  Five years ago, the current state of the economy facing cities and counties was not even a concern. Now, however, many law enforcement agencies are facing the reality of severe budget cuts, reduced workforce, and the elimination or reduction of many law enforcement programs. Today, police chiefs are being asked to look for ways of economizing, increasing efficiency, eliminating redundancies, and finding revenue sources.

  This trend will be prompted in two possible ways. First, increasing financial pressure will require more severe budget cuts to the point that many agencies will be able to provide only basic services. Second, cities will begin to see successes at nearby agencies and look to new revenue streams as a panacea to forestall reduced services or even bankruptcy. Based on the research for this article, there is a clear presumption of need for law enforcement to generate new income streams. A first necessary step in that process is to examine possible revenue-generating ideas.
Possible New Revenue Streams

  A group of experts in the fields of city government, business, real estate, and entrepreneurship assembled in April 2008 to identify possible new income streams that could be initiated by law enforcement.2 Their suggested new revenue streams serve as an example of ideas that can be generated in a short period of time. Each idea must be weighed against the feasibility of implementation, profit potential, and appropriateness for law enforcement involvement. Their most prominent recommendations were

    • fees for sex offenders registering in a given jurisdiction,
    • city tow companies,
    • fine increases by 50 percent,
    • pay-per-call policing,
    • vacation house check fees,
    • public hours at police firing range for a fee,
    • police department-run online traffic school for minor traffic infractions,
    • department-based security service including home checks and monitoring of security cameras by police department,
    • a designated business to clean biological crime scenes,
    • state and court fees for all convicted felons returning to the community,
    • allowing agency name to be used for advertisement and branding,
    • triple driving-under-the-influence fines by the court,
    • resident fee similar to a utility tax,
    • tax or fee on all alcohol sold in the city,
    • tax or fee on all ammunition sold in, the city,
    • public safety fees on all new development in the city,
    • 9-1-1 fee per use,
    • police department website with business advertisement for support,
    • selling ride-a-longs to the public, and
  • police department–run firearm safety classes.

  In addition to concepts that may lie ahead, there are also many examples of revenue-generating ideas that have been tried and proven in actual use. “

 

 

    Yes , as this police chief acknowledges however inadvertently , it’s all about the revenue generation and less about public safety …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Constitution’s Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year

 

Art by Jon McNaughton

 

 

” As 2014 comes to a close, it’s worth considering the Obama administration legacy as we head into 2015.

  Certainly, there were scandals. The IRS played hide and seek with documents regarding improper targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups.

  The response to the Ebola outbreak was clumsy, and helped induce panic. Our foreign policy is in tatters.

  Yet the most long-lasting damage may be the Obama administration’s cavalier attitude towards constitutional separation of powers.

  Three areas of the Obama administration going it alone stand out: Immigration, Obamacare and the environment. Immigration is perhaps the most dramatic example.

  Legalizing and eventually providing a path to citizenship for the estimated 10-12 million illegal immigrants is a top administration priority. But that priority hit a roadblock in the form of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and soon, Senate. Out of frustration, Obama has taken unilateral action to evade the immigration laws.

This immigration end-run creates a class of people who effectively are exempt from the immigration laws, without Congress ever having recognized such an exemption. It is not prosecutorial discretion but a usurpation of legislative power.

  There also have been dozens of unilateral actions as to Obamacare legislative requirements, including individual and employer mandate delays, and waivers of certain fees for unions. Of particular note, the IRS passed rules allowing purchasers on the federal exchanges to obtain subsidies the legislation reserves for state exchanges.”

 

 

Read the entire piece from Professor Jacobson at USA Today

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cop’s Obama Rant Embarrasses Officials, Spurs 2014 Nanny of the Year Win

 

 

 

” Our nation’s control freaks got even freakier in 2014–from jetpacks to parking apps, eco-ATMs and powdered alcohol, they were determined to kill anything cutting edge.

  They targeted everything from dogs in parks to births at home, and they’ll sic cops on you for hoarding or smelling bad. You might even get busted for doing things that are legal–like vaping while driving, warning motorists about speed traps, or putting up Christmas lights.

  And whether it’s yanking chocolate milk, boogie boards, homemade libraries or sunscreen(?!), the control freaks are (all together now!): Doing it for the children.

  It’s fitting, then, that 2014’s Nanny of the Year recipients justified their power grab on the same grounds (although the real reason may have more to do with protecting city officials from future caught-on-tape embarrassments). “

 

Reason.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wealthy Donors Sided With Democrats In Midterms

 

 

 

 

” For as often as Democrats attack the conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch for their heavy spending on politics, it’s actually the liberal-minded who shelled out the most cash in the just completed midterm elections.

  At least, that is, among those groups that must disclose what they raise and spend.

  Among the top 100 individual donors to political groups, more than half gave primarily to Democrats or their allies. Among groups that funneled more than $100,000 to allies, the top of the list tilted overwhelmingly toward Democrats — a group favoring the GOP doesn’t appear on the list until No. 14.

  The two biggest super PACs of 2014? Senate Majority PAC and House Majority PAC — both backing Democrats.

  In all, the top 10 individual donors to outside groups injected almost $128 million into this year’s elections. Democratic-leaning groups collected $91 million of it.

  Among the 183 groups that wrote checks of $100,000 or more to another group, Democrats had a 3-to-1 cash advantage. The biggest player was the National Education Association, at $22 million. Not a single Republican-leaning group cracked the top 10 list of those transferring money to others.”

 

Yahoo News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florida Leaves New York Behind In Its Rear-View Mirror

 

 

 

 

 

” It’s official. Florida is the nation’s third-largest state with 19.7 million people. It surpassed New York this month by adding an average of 803 new residents every day as opposed to New York’s 140.

  Contrary to the stereotype, sun-seeking seniors aren’t the main drivers of Florida’s population growth. James Johnson, a business professor at the University of North Carolina, told the AP that Florida’s powerful economic engine is driving its growth: “I think it’s going to be for the 21st century what California or New York was for the 20th century.”

  As the James Madison Institute reports, Florida’s growth is built on a consensus that taxes, spending, and regulation should be restrained. Its budget is half the size of New York State’s, it lacks a state income tax, and it is much easier to start and run a business there than in many northeastern states.”

 

National Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obama Admin. Crams Over 1,200 New Regulations Just Before The New Year

 

1200 New Regulations

 

 

” The Obama administration is cramming like a college student trying to study for a final exam, publishing more than 1,200 new regulations in the last 15 days alone, according to data from Regulations.gov.

  Energy and environment rules are the biggest category, with 139 published by the federal government in the last 15 days, according to Regulations.gov.

  One of the most contentious new regulations is the EPA’s coal ash rule. The rule has been criticized by the coal industry and environmental groups — though for entirely different reasons — and has a price tag of up to $20.3 billion. The rule was finalized last Friday.”

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Texas Job Growth Outpaces Rest Of U.S. Combined

 

 

 

 

” Since the recession began in December 2007, 1.2 million net jobs have been created in Texas. Only 700,000 net jobs have been created in the other 49 states combined.

  The remarkable employment growth in Texas looks even bigger considering its size relative to the rest of the U.S. Total non-farm employment has grown by 11.5 percent in Texas since December 2007. Employment in the rest of the United States has grown only 0.6 percent. Until September 2014, total employment growth in the rest of the United States since December 2007 was still negative.”

 

Washington Examiner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UC Study: Minimum Wage Hike Of 2007-09 Cost 1.4M Jobs

 

 

 

 

” Raising the minimum wage, a stated goal of the Obama administration, likely would cost jobs and hurt low-income workers.

  University of California San Diego economic researchers discovered that the federal minimum wage increase from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour between 2007 and 2009 actually cost the economy 1.4 million jobs, Breitbart News reports. “

 

 

” Even worse, the increase’s negative effect landed squarely on the people it was designed to help — low-paid, unskilled workers, who found themselves blocked out of low-paid or internship positions that would give them a shot at gaining experience and achieving higher-paid jobs, the study notes.

” We find that binding minimum wage increases significantly reduced the likelihood that low-skilled workers rose to what we characterize as lower middle class earnings. This curtailment of transitions into lower middle class earnings began to emerge roughly one year following initial declines in low wage employment. Reductions in upward mobility thus appear to follow reductions in access to opportunities for accumulating work experience,” the report states. “

 

 

 

” While the wage distribution of low-skilled workers shifts as intended, the estimated effects on employment, income, and income growth are negative. “

 

 

   For every government mandate on businesses , industry and technology will create a way to avoid them . If increasing the mandatory minimum wage by two dollars cost a million and a half jobs just imagine the losses from a doubling of the present state-mandated wage for unskilled workers , and machines don’t need healthcare .

   Read more at NewsMax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Report From Lima Climate Conference: Al Gore Preaches Hellfire And Redemption

 

 

 

 

 

” Former star of stage and screen Al Gore arrived at COP-20 early Wednesday morning to give one of the opening speeches at an all-day conference put on by the Chinese delegation on Making the Future of Cities Green. I got there a few minutes too late hear him, so made sure I was early to hear his big talk at 1:15.

  It was scheduled for one of the COP’s two big plenary meeting rooms. I arrived at 12:50. The UN security officer guarding the door told me that the official session was over and the Cusco Room was now closed. I said, What about Al Gore’s speech at 1:15? He said that there was nothing until 3 PM, but when I pressed him, he went and got his list of the day’s events in the Cusco and Lima Rooms (which are actually very large tents–the whole COP is being held in very nice temporary structures erected on the grounds of Peru’s Pentagonito). Sure enough, there were the Climate Reality Project and Al Gore listed at 1:15.

  The former U. S. Vice President arrived early, but did not start speaking until 1:30. That may be because there weren’t many people in the very large room.  By the time he began to speak, perhaps half the seats were occupied. More people came as he continued talking. At the end, he got a polite round of applause. Such are the indignities of being a former movie star.

  Gore’s talk was an update of the slide-show immortalized in the sci-fi classic, “An Inconvenient Truth.” But not an update that replaces its numerous false and misleading claims. For instance, Gore’s show still contains a slide of the discredited hockey stick.”

 

 

    Search as we did , we couldn’t find any video of Al Gore’s poorly attended speech . There is even a Youtube channel devoted to COP-20 Lima that is bursting with videos from the conference , but no AlGore … curious . 

 We tried Daily Motion , Vimeo , Youtube and LiveLeak with various search terms and all we got were years-old videos from past conferences . Even COP-20 Lima’s own website is devoid of Mr Climate Change’s Speech . See for yourself here .

   Although he is described as “the most important guest of COP20” in the official announcement that he would be attending the conference on the COP20 website , those in charge have not seen fit to publish his speech .

   It would appear that the former vice-president , energy consumption hypocrite and major carbon credits profiteer has jumped the shark . Since we couldn’t find any video record of his current speech , and by all counts he parroted the usual line straight from his “documentary” we have included a complete version of “An Inconvenient Truth” as a companion piece .

 

 

Read more about Mr “Inconvenient Truth’s ” speech here .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beware Of Rosy Job Numbers

 

 

” Don’t be fooled by the everything’s-coming-up-roses coverage that the national news media gave the Obama administration’s job numbers last week.

  The news headlines said the Obama economy created 321,000 jobs last month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But a little closer examination of the other numbers, buried in the bureau’s report, tells a far sadder story.

  A large share of the nonfarm employment figures were low-paying, part-time jobs among Americans who the bureau refers to as “involuntary part-time workers.” They’re people “who would have preferred full-time employment” but were “working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a good full-time job,” the government said.

  There were seven million of these people for whom life in the dreary Obama economy has changed very little, and their numbers “changed little in November,” the bureau said deep into its report.

  If the number of jobs rose by 321,000, shouldn’t the unemployment percentage have fallen in November? No, the number of jobless Americans “was little changed at 9.1 million” and the 5.8 percent rate didn’t budge.

  Did you hear it put just that way on the nightly network news shows last week? No? I didn’t think so. But it gets worse.

The unemployment rate for adult men actually “rose to 5.4 percent in November,” BLS said. And the jobless rates for adult women (5.3 percent), working age teenagers (17.7 percent), blacks (11.1 percent), and Hispanics (6.6 percent) showed “little change over the month.” “

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Law Puts Us All In Same Danger As Eric Garner

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Senator Rand Paul should be commended for sparking the conversation that has erupted over his statement , famously ridiculed by Jon Stewart , that cigarette taxes bear some responsibility for the NYPD killing of Eric Garner over a “crime” so trivial as selling loosies . That the discussion has quickly morphed from a concern about one revenue generating “law” that provided the impetus for Mr Garner’s death to the 300,000 some odd laws and regulations that have resulted in the “overcriminalization” of 70% of the populace .

This is a discussion that , while occupying billions of pixels in the libertarian world , has until now been one that has been arrogantly swept under the rug by the Statist supporters in the main stream media . This debate is long overdue and as the following articles make plain , offer much common ground between the Left and the Right and that common ground leads one inevitably to the libertarian view .

   Thank you Senator Paul and also to you Mr Stewart , however unintentional your help may have been .  

 

 

 

” On the opening day of law school, I always counsel my first-year students never to support a law they are not willing to kill to enforce. Usually they greet this advice with something between skepticism and puzzlement, until I remind them that the police go armed to enforce the will of the state, and if you resist, they might kill you.

  I wish this caution were only theoretical. It isn’t. Whatever your view on the refusal of a New York City grand jury to indict the police officer whose chokehold apparently led to the death of Eric Garner, it’s useful to remember the crime that Garner is alleged to have committed: He was selling individual cigarettes, or loosies, in violation of New York law.

  The obvious racial dynamics of the case — the police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, is white; Garner was black — have sparked understandable outrage. But, at least among libertarians, so has the law that was being enforced. Wrote Nick Gillespie in the Daily Beast, “Clearly something has gone horribly wrong when a man lies dead after being confronted for selling cigarettes to willing buyers.” Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, appearing on MSNBC, also blamed the statute: “Some politician put a tax of $5.85 on a pack of cigarettes, so they’ve driven cigarettes underground by making them so expensive.”

  The problem is actually broader. It’s not just cigarette tax laws that can lead to the death of those the police seek to arrest. It’s every law. Libertarians argue that we have far too many laws, and the Garner case offers evidence that they’re right. I often tell my students that there will never be a perfect technology of law enforcement, and therefore it is unavoidable that there will be situations where police err on the side of too much violence rather than too little. Better training won’t lead to perfection. But fewer laws would mean fewer opportunities for official violence to get out of hand.

  The legal scholar Douglas Husak, in his excellent 2009 book “ Overcriminalization: The Limits of the Criminal Law,” points out that federal law alone includes more than 3,000 crimes, fewer than half of which found in the Federal Criminal Code. The rest are scattered through other statutes. A citizen who wants to abide by the law has no quick and easy way to find out what the law actually is — a violation of the traditional principle that the state cannot punish without fair notice.

  In addition to these statutes, he writes, an astonishing 300,000 or more federal regulations may be enforceable through criminal punishment in the discretion of an administrative agency. Nobody knows the number for sure.

  Husak cites estimates that more than 70 percent of American adults have committed a crime that could lead to imprisonment. He quotes the legal scholar William Stuntz to the effect that we are moving toward “a world in which the law on the books makes everyone a felon.” Does this seem too dramatic? Husak points to studies suggesting that more than half of young people download music illegally from the Internet. That’s been a federal crime for almost 20 years. These kids, in theory, could all go to prison.”

 

 

 

    This Bloomberg View article by professor Stephen Carter of Yale must be read by all who have come to rue the evolution of the most liberty-minded system of government ever devised by the minds of man into the overwhelming Leviathan State that we , as Americans , face today .

   This piece is notable not only for the wisdom imparted by it’s own content , but for the discussion it has sparked in the likes of the Washington Post , Reason , EconomicLiberty and The Daily Beast , all three of which should also be read in their entirety .

As the illustrious Ilya Somin of the Volokh Conspiracy writes in the Post:

 

 

 

” Carter correctly points out that the massive growth of criminal and regulatory law means that almost anyone can potentially end up in the same situation as Eric Garner.”

 

 

 

    Professor Somin is joined in his agreement with professor Carter regarding the corrosive affect of “overcriminalization” and the danger that it imposes on the citizenry as a whole at Reason , where Robby Soave writes:

 

 

 

” You know what’s also a cause? Overcriminalization. And that one is on you, supporters of the regulatory super state. When a million things are highly regulated or outright illegal—from cigarettes to sodas of a certain size, unlicensed lemonade stands, raw milk, alcohol (for teens), marijuana, food trucks, taxicab alternatives, and even fishing supplies (in schools)—the unrestrained, often racist police force has a million reasons to pick on people. Punitive cigarette taxes, which disproportionately fall on the backs of the poorest of the poor, contribute to police brutality in the exact same way that the war on drugs does. Liberals readily admit the latter; why is the former any different? “

 

 

 

   And finally we come to the piece written by David Henderson of The Library Of Economics & Liberty who rightfully takes issue with Jon Stewart’s ridicule (see above video) of Rand Paul’s assertion that the cigarette tax played a role in Mr Garner’s death:

 

 

 

” In an otherwise excellent segment on the tragic Eric Garner case, in which some New York cops choked to death a man selling loose cigarettes, Jon Stewart, generally a smart man, either misunderstands or plays to his audience’s ignorance. Either way, it’s worthwhile correcting him because there is a very large point to be made about this case, a point beyond the already large point about police gone wild.

  The specific issue is a claim made by Senator Rand Paul. Here’s what the clip has Senator Paul saying:

  I think there’s something bigger than just the individual circumstances. . . . Some politicians put a tax of $5.85 on a pack of cigarettes. So they’ve driven cigarettes underground by making them so expensive. But then some politician also had to direct the police to say “Hey, we want you arresting people for selling a loose cigarette.”

  Stewart’s response? “What the f**k are you talking about?”

  Paul already said what he was talking about. Jon Stewart simply didn’t want to acknowledge the point. Stewart says correctly that the government can enforce laws without going to such extremes. Sure. It can. But one thing we have to be aware of whenever we advocate a law is that government agents who enforce it will sometimes go to extremes.”

 

 

 

 

As our title says … When everything is against the law , everyone is an outlaw.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Inertia

 

 

” I’ve borrowed Kathy Shaidle’s headline because I think that sums up John Derbyshire’s column better than the one he and his editors chose: “The Impotent Eagle.” It’s not that we are incapable of doing anything, it’s that we can’t rouse ourselves to do anything.

  John was my colleague at National Review for many years, where I regarded him as a gloomier version of me, and he regarded me as a hopeless Pollyanna. Nevertheless, much of what he writes today will be familiar to readers of both After America and The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, personally autographed copies of which make kind and thoughtful Christmas presents and really aren’t as suicidally depressing as you might think. Derb’s mournful refrain was taken from a throwaway line a correspondent made re immigration:

Replied my friend:

‘I think that withdrawing birthright citizenship from the children of illegals would be a good move, and highly appropriate. I don’t see why we couldn’t do it going forward. But of course we won’t, because we can’t do anything.’

It was that closing phrase that stuck in my mind. We can’t do anything. It’s so damn true.

   John focuses on the big headlines: the Afghan war… immigration… law enforcement in Ferguson… America can’t win wars, enforce its borders, prevent looting. He could have added a bazillion others: build a flood barrier that prevents one measly not-so-Superstorm Sandy ruining people’s lives for years after… replace the dingy decrepit dump of LaGuardia with an airport that isn’t a total embarrassment to one of the world’s great cities… upgrade the most primitive bank cards in the developed world… stiffen Republican spines to come up with plans for debt reduction that kick in before the middle of the century…

  But I’m increasingly struck by how “we can’t do anything” applies to all the small stuff, too. If you’ve ever spent hours on the phone going round in circles with your health insurer over some nothing little thing, you’ll be aware that “we can’t do anything” is not a monopoly of the big geopolitical strategists. The whole joint seems to be seizing up, and it bothers me. Americans now have less health-care freedom and less banking freedom than many Continental Europeans. But let’s not get all comparative about this. In absolute terms – and certainly in comparison with the America that was – too much of daily life has become over-complicated and over-regulated and over-sclerotic, and too many people are content to string along with it. “

 

Mr Steyn’s piece is , of course , the mandatory read of the day 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best And Worst Run States In America: A Survey Of All 50

 

Party Control Of States

 

 

” How well run is your state? Assessing a state’s management quality is hardly easy. The current economic climate and standard of living in any given state are not only the results of policy choices and developments that occurred in the last few years, but can also be affected by decisions made decades ago, and by forces outside a state’s control. 

  Each year, 24/7 Wall St. attempts to answer this question by surveying various aspects of each state. To determine how well states are managed, we examine key financial ratios, as well as social and economic outcomes. This year, North Dakota is the best-run state in the country for the third consecutive year, while Illinois replaced California as the worst-run state.

  Selecting appropriate criteria to compare the 50 states is difficult because there is so much variation among the states. As a result, policy decisions that may work in one state might not work in another. Some states are rich in natural resources, while others rely on high-skilled sectors such as technology and business services. Some depend disproportionately on one industry, while others’ economies are more balanced. Further, some states are more rural, while others are highly urbanized and densely populated.

  This year, a number of the best-run states again benefit from an abundance of natural resources. North Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska, and Texas are among the top 10 best-run states, and in all four, the mining industry — which includes fossil fuel extraction — is a major contributor to state GDP. Due in large part to the mining sector, North Dakota and Wyoming led the nation in real GDP growth in 2013. And Alaska has utilized its oil wealth to build massive state reserves and to pay its residents an annual dividend.

  Although less than in years past, the lingering effects of the housing crisis still have a negative impact on several of the worst-run states. In five of the 10 worst-run states — Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, and Rhode Island — home values declined by 10% or more between 2009 and 2013. Worse still, in states such as Arizona and Rhode Island, the housing market remains well below its peak, reached just before the start of the recent recession.”

 

   A brief rundown of the top ten and bottom ten states , color-coded (red for GOP , blue for Democrats , purple for split government) by party control of legislature and governor’s office is as follows: 

 

The 10 best run states:

 

” 1. North Dakota

2. Wyoming

3. Nebraska

4. Iowa

5. Minnesota

6. Utah

7. Alaska

8. Texas

9. Vermont

10. South Dakota

 

 

And here are the ten worst run states:

 

” 41. Alabama

42. Missouri

43. New Jersey

44. Georgia

45. Arizona

46. Kentucky

47. Rhode Island

48. Mississippi

49. New Mexico

50. Illinois

 

 

Click through to the 24/7 Wall Street post for a detailed accounting of all 50 states to see where yours stands .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Official: America Is Now No. 2

 

 

 

 

” Hang on to your hats, America.

  And throw away that big, fat styrofoam finger while you’re about it.

  There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just say it: We’re no longer No. 1. Today, we’re No. 2. Yes, it’s official. The Chinese economy just overtook the United States economy to become the largest in the world. For the first time since Ulysses S. Grant was president, America is not the leading economic power on the planet.

  It just happened — and almost nobody noticed.

  The International Monetary Fund recently released the latest numbers for the world economy. And when you measure national economic output in “real” terms of goods and services, China will this year produce $17.6 trillion — compared with $17.4 trillion for the U.S.A. “

 

 

You voted for “fundamental change” and the man has delivered …

 

 

” As recently as 2000, we produced nearly three times as much as the Chinese.

  To put the numbers slightly differently, China now accounts for 16.5% of the global economy when measured in real purchasing-power terms, compared with 16.3% for the U.S.

  This latest economic earthquake follows the development last year when China surpassed the U.S. for the first time in terms of global trade.”

 

 

 

    These two paragraphs should send chills down any forward-looking American’s spines , especially amongst the young …

 

 

 

” Make no mistake: This is a geopolitical earthquake with a high reading on the Richter scale. Throughout history, political and military power have always depended on economic power. Britain was the workshop of the world before she ruled the waves. And it was Britain’s relative economic decline that preceded the collapse of her power. And it was a similar story with previous hegemonic powers such as France and Spain.

  This will not change anything tomorrow or next week, but it will change almost everything in the longer term. We have lived in a world dominated by the U.S. since at least 1945 and, in many ways, since the late 19th century. And we have lived for 200 years — since the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 — in a world dominated by two reasonably democratic, constitutional countries in Great Britain and the U.S.A. For all their flaws, the two countries have been in the vanguard worldwide in terms of civil liberties, democratic processes and constitutional rights.”

 

 

 

Market Watch has more on the latest (dubious) accomplishment of Barack Obama’s administration 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anonymous Take Down Ft. Lauderdale’s Site For Anti-Homeless Laws

 

 

 

” The hacktivist group Anonymous is no fan of Fort Lauderdale’s new laws targeting the Florida city’s homeless population, and they took down multiple city websites to prove it.

  Using a denial-of-service attack, Anonymous was able to crash two websites and the city’s email service on Monday, the Sun-Sentinel reported. The main city website, fortlauderdale.gov, was taken down for hours, as was the police department website.

  Mayor Jack Seiler told the newspaper that all systems were back online around 6:30 p.m. local time, though sporadic problems were reported. Residents looking to pay utility bills were also denied during the outage.”

 

We Are Anonymous

We Are Legion

We Do Not Forgive

We Do Not Forget

Expect Us

 

Russia Today

 

 

Update: Broward Circuit Judge Thomas Lynch has issued a stay on Ft Lauderdale’s anti-homeless feeding laws :

 

” A judge ordered Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday to temporarily stop enforcing a new law than restricts the feeding of homeless people, intervening in a controversy that has brought the city a storm of negative international attention.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$4.15 Per Pound: Ground Beef Climbs To Another Record High

 

 

beef

 

 

 

” The average price for a pound of ground beef climbed to another record high$4.156 per pound — in the United States in October, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

  In August, the average price for a pound of all types of ground beef topped $4 for the first time, hitting $4.013, said the BLS.  In September, the average price jumped .083 cents to $4.096 per pound, an increase of 2.1 percent in one month.

  In October, which is the latest data from the BLS, the average price for a pound of ground beef ($4.156) increased 1.4 percent from September.

  A year ago, in October 2013, the average price for a pound of ground beef was $3.389 per pound. Since then, it has climbed 76.5 cents, or about 22.6 percent in one year.

  Five years ago, in October 2009, the average price for a pound of ground beef was $2.177, according to the BLS. The price has since climbed by $1.977 per pound, or 90.8 percent. “

 

CNS News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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