Here’s why the Second Amendment matters: Ferguson business owners guard their property against looters

Shortly after Ferguson, Missouri began to resemble a war-zone, David Frum, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush and senior editor at The Atlantic, reaffirmed his support for increased gun control by tweeting this:

Keep in mind that the initials protest in Ferguson were peaceful, according to Radley Balko. It was only after protesters were greeted with a militarized police presence, complete with assault weapons and armored vehicles, that the situation devolved into rioting and looting.

Still, Frum repeated his anti-gun refrain with a follow up tweet moments later:

Hillary Clinton under fire for extravagant speaking deal while Rand Paul heads to Guatemala to perform free eye surgeries

There is nothing wrong with a former public official leveraging their status to make a healthy living, and then some. But the case of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is a little different.

The 2016 Democratic presidential frontrunner has claimed that her family was “dead broke” when they left the White House, despite purchasing homes in Washington, D.C. and New York. To mitigate the criticism done by her gaffe, Clinton claimed that she pays her taxes, “unlike a lot of people who are truly well off.”

Clinton is trying to toe a fine line. She wants to present herself as a populist, someone in tune with the economic struggles of ordinary voters, or, as she says, earning a living “through dint of hard work.” But she’s finding it difficult to do so given that she’s made millions of dollars off speaking fees, $4.2 million alone from big business, and book deals.

Police should wear body cameras to protect themselves when they’re accused of wrongdoing

body-mounted camera

It seems that there is at least one area of agreement (with caveats) between some in law enforcement and some civil libertarians: cops should wear body cameras. The how, when, and where is still a question for all concerned but at least there seems to be some agreement on the broad outlines.

PoliceOne.com’s editor-in-chief Doug Wyllie argues that police departments should embrace the idea of body mounted cameras on almost every police officer. Wyllie writes:

In the week following the officer-involved shooting in Ferguson (Mo.), many have asked me for a comment and/or my commentary on the matter. My reply has generally been, “What, precisely, might that comment be? We know very little detail regarding the incident itself, so any ‘analysis’ on my part would be tantamount to irresponsible speculation. Further, analysis of the rioting and looting (and police response to same) would be redundant — we’ve got reams of columns on crowd control tactics and strategies.”

One thing, however, merits mention in this space. It’s directly related to the first thought that came to my mind when news of this tragedy broke: “Man, I hope that officer was wearing a body camera.”

Rick Perry has been indicted for doing his job while Barack Obama gets away with power grab after power grab

Let’s go through this for a moment. You have a president who regularly abuses his constitutional power by going around Congress to make law via executive fiat. And, in Texas, there’s a governor who used his state constitutional authority to veto funding for a “public integrity unit” run by district attorney convicted of a crime.

There’s no question that politics is at the center of the so-called corruption indictment of Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX). The Texas Public Integrity Unit is led by Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat. Perry vetoed funding for the unit last year, noting that Lehmberg, who was arrested for drunk driving in April 2013 and sentenced to 45 days in jail, lost the confidence of the public.

Lehmberg was trashed when she was arrested. “A blood test taken at the jail several hours after her arrest put her blood-alcohol content at .239,” The Austin Chronicle reported not long after the incident, “nearly three times the legal limit for driving.” Obviously, the arrest was problematic in itself, but her behavior when she was being processed by jailers was the most troublesome aspect of the incident.

A report from Austin-based KXAN shows video clips of Lehmberg resisting jailers and kicking the door to her holding cell. The report also shows her in a restraint chair, a precaution that jailers took given her erratic behavior.

Net Neutrality: FCC Gatekeeper Theory Applies to Google, Apple, and Netflix

This is the second post in a series addressing fundamental questions presented by the prospect of applying per se net neutrality rules under Title II. The first post is available HERE.

The first post in this series concluded that the logic of the gatekeeper theory the FCC used to justify the imposition of per se net neutrality rules extends to any Internet intermediary that is capable of blocking, degrading, or favoring particular Internet services, applications, or content. This post presents a brief analysis of some intermediary services to which the gatekeeper theory would apply if the FCC relies on it to impose per se net neutrality rules under Title II.

The analysis demonstrates that Internet companies must also ‘ask permission’ to pass gates erected by Google, Apple, and Netflix (non-ISP gatekeepers) in order to obtain access to end users:

  • These non-ISP gatekeepers routinely use their gatekeeper control to block, degrade, or discriminate against upstream edge providers (far edge providers);
  • End users may incur significant costs in switching from one non-ISP gatekeeper to another; and
  • These non-ISP gatekeepers provide services in market segments that are highly concentrated.

It would thus be arbitrary and capricious for the FCC to impose per se net neutrality obligations only on ISPs under Title II.

Obama interrupts his vacation to return to Washington for meetings on foreign and domestic crises

Barack Obama

President Barack Obama has finally figured out that the optics of a two-week vacation in Martha’s Vineyard while Ferguson, Missouri and parts of the Middle East are on fire may not sit well with the American public. So, he decided to interrupt his vacation to return to Washington:

In a rare move for him, the president planned a break in the middle of his Martha’s Vineyard vacation to return to Washington on Sunday night for unspecified meetings with Vice President Joe Biden and other advisers.

The White House has been cagey about why the president needs to be back in Washington for those discussions.

Part of the decision appears aimed at countering criticism that Obama is spending two weeks on a resort island in the midst of so many foreign and domestic crises.

Yet those crises turned the first week of Obama’s vacation into a working holiday. He made on-camera statements on U.S. military action in Iraq and the clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. He called foreign leaders to discuss the tensions between Ukraine and Russia, as well as between Israel and Hamas.
[…]
Obama is scheduled to return to Martha’s Vineyard on Tuesday and stay through next weekend.

The Pentagon has a $43 billion slush fund that the Obama administration is using to bypass Congress to intervene overseas

One of the funniest parts of the very funny movie Office Space has to do with the ridiculous requirement, and the related dialogue, regarding cover sheets on TPS reports. You remember:

Why is this relevant in a piece about the Pentagon and allegations that their Overseas Contingency Operations, or OCO, account has become little more than a slush fund “threatening to become a permanent repository for unneeded projects and bad ideas”, as William D. Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, recently opined in the Los Angeles Times? Because they are both examples of the perniciousness of bureaucracy and, specifically, the “business speak” that accompanies it.

As the Times piece notes, there are several (almost hilariously) broadly defined budget items in the fiscal year 2015 OCO war budget, despite the fact that the US is winding down its presence in Afghanistan to fulfill one of President Obama’s stated goals.

Nearly half of that $43 billion is earmarked “to carry out the entire array of support activities by units and forces operating in the Central Command area outside of Afghanistan, including … the Arabian Gulf region.”

Federal judge orders an independent inquiry into Lois Lerner’s missing emails

A federal judge has ordered an independent inquiry to search for answers into the loss of emails at the Internal Revenue Service, including those of disgraced former official Lois Lerner, who is at the heart of the tax agency’s targeting of conservative groups.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan, who was appointed to the federal bench in 1994 by then-President Bill Clinton, wasn’t pleased by the IRS’s responses to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch.

In an order released on Thursday afternoon, Sullivan instructed the IRS “to file a sworn Declaration, by an official with the authority to speak under oath for the Agency, by no later than August 22, 2014.” That official, whomever it may be, will have to provide detail on the tax agency’s efforts to recover the Lerner’s emails, tracking of hard drives, and policies relating to the destruction of hard drives.

“In an extraordinary step, U. S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan has launched an independent inquiry into the issue of the missing emails associated with former IRS official Lois Lerner,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a release.

“Previously, Judge Sullivan ordered the IRS to produce sworn declarations about the IRS email issue by August 11,” he said. “[Thursday’s] order confirms Judicial Watch’s read of this week’s IRS’ filings that treated as a joke Judge Sullivan’s order.”

Washington Post stumped by Rand Paul because he’s shattering media narratives about the Tea Party

Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) outreach efforts to minorities and young people with a heavy focus on criminal justice reform, police militarization, and civil liberties has perplexed the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake.

Over at Washington Post’s The Fix, Blake declared that the “Tea Party” label — which, as he notes, has been overused since the peak of the movement in 2010 — is “far too simple” for Paul. He points to the Kentucky Republican’s piece in Time on the startling scenes from Ferguson, Missouri and police militarization:

Given Paul’s political rise — he defeated an establishment-aligned Republican in a 2010 primary — it was natural to label him a tea partier. We have done it too — repeatedly. It’s the easiest short-hand for a GOP outsider. But more and more, it’s looking like that label doesn’t really fit. While Paul is certainly aligned with the tea party on a lot of stuff, the label doesn’t describe him as well as it does someone like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah). An op-ed Paul wrote Thursday in Time magazine was just the latest example of that. The things Paul said in it are not the kind of things you would expect from a tea partier.
[…]
The trouble with Paul is that no well-known labels seem to fit him well. While his dad, Ron Paul, is a pretty straight-line libertarian, that’s not really who the younger Paul is. He’s not an establishment Republican, a neo-conservative, an arch-conservative or a moderate Republican.

We still don’t know what label would be better than “tea party,” but it’s becoming clearer and clearer that this label doesn’t really fit. Maybe he’s just a Rand Paul Republican.

Here’s the movie trailer for “Atlas Shrugged: Who is John Galt?”

The makers of Atlas Shrugged: Who is John Galt? the final chapter of the trilogy based on Ayn Rand’s magnum opus — released the trailer for the film ahead of its September 12 release date.

The trailer focuses on the heroine, Dagny Taggert, and the mysterious John Galt, one of the proud producers who has gone on strike in protest against a government that constantly exploits them and a society that demonizes them for being successful.

With an economy nearing ruin and a world turmoil, Taggart refuses to join the strikers and returns to society. Galt follows her and decides to take a stand by taking over the airwaves to give a manifesto in defense of the morality of individualism and capitalism. He also explains the motives behind the strike.

Given that the speech takes up a chunk of the novel, one would assume that the writers trimmed it down to a manageable length for a viewing audience, hopefully without losing the substance of the message that Rand conveyed.

The trailer very briefly shows a clip of former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), who has a cameo in the film. Conservative talkers Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck and American for Tax Reform Presiden Grover Norquist, among several others, will also appear in the final chapter of the trilogy.

Watch the trailer for Atlas Shrugged: Who is John Galt? below:

 


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