Victory! D.C. Gun ban ruled unconstitutional…obviously

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A federal judge has stuck down Washington D.C.’s gun ban because, you know, Constitution and such.

From Fox News:

A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Saturday overturned the city’s total ban on residents being allowing to carry firearms outside their home in a landmark decision for gun-rights activists.

Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. wrote in his ruling in Palmer v. District of Columbia that the right to bear arms extends outside the home, therefore gun-control laws in the nation’s capital are “unconstitutional.”

“We won,” Alan Gura, the lead attorney for the Second Amendment Foundation, told Fox News in a phone interview. “I’m very pleased with the decision that the city can’t forbid the exercise of a fundamental constitutional right.”

Gura said he expects the District to appeal this decision but added, “We’ll be happy to keep the fight going.”

The decision leaves no gray area in gun-carrying rights.

Read the Rest

A judge with reading comprehension skills. Amazing.

Liberty lovers need to take a lesson from leftists. They never give up. No matter how established a law is (and since the late seventeen hundreds, the 2nd amendment has been pretty darned established), they keep right on fighting away in hopes that something will stick. You remind your statist friends of this the next time you hear them say that conservatives should stop trying to overturn Obamacare because “it’s the law.”

When Federal Privacy Laws Protect Hospitals Instead Of Patients

It’s a phenomenon called “regulatory capture.”  Government regulatory bodies set in place to police an industry eventually end up working to protect the very industries they were created to regulate. In this case, HIPAA regulations have grown to help hospitals cover their tails instead of protecting patients.  As we say a lot around here, the road to big-government hell is paved with good intentions.

In the name of patient privacy, a security guard at a hospital in Springfield, Mo., threatened a mother with jail for trying to take a photograph of her own son.

In the name of patient privacy, a Daytona Beach, Fla., nursing home said it couldn’t cooperate with police investigating allegations of a possible rape against one of its residents.

In the name of patient privacy, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs allegedly threatened or retaliated against employees who were trying to blow the whistle on agency wrongdoing.

When the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act passed in 1996, its laudable provisions included preventing patients’ medical information from being shared without their consent and other important privacy assurances.

But as a litany of recent examples show, HIPAA, as the law is commonly known, is open to misinterpretation — and sometimes provides cover for health institutions that are protecting their own interests, not patients’.

"Sometimes it’s really hard to tell whether people are just genuinely confused or misinformed, or whether they’re intentionally obfuscating," said Deven McGraw, partner in the healthcare practice of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips and former director of the Health Privacy Project at the Center for Democracy & Technology.

For example, McGraw said, a frequent health privacy complaint to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights is that health providers have denied patients access to their medical records, citing HIPAA. In fact, this is one of the law’s signature guarantees.

"Often they’re told [by hospitals that] HIPAA doesn’t allow you to have your records, when the exact opposite is true," McGraw said.

With nothing better to do, Justice Dept moves to force movie theaters to have closed captioning

It’s not like the Justice Department has anything better to do than introduce industry-crippling, idiotic mandates on legal businesses.  It’s not like there’s any corruption at the IRS, EPA, NSA, VA, or any other branch of the government they need to be investigating.  Oh wait…

from the Hill:

The Justice Department moved Friday to open up the nation’s cinemas to the visually and hearing impaired with a slate of draft regulations requiring movie theaters to offer closed captioning and audio description technology.

"This proposed rule will allow all Americans, including those with disabilities, to fully participate in the moviegoing experience,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in unveiling the plan.

The DOJ’s bid to amend the Americans with Disabilities Act comes four years after the agency signaled plans to move forward with new regulations, drawing more than 1,000 public comments.

The agency is seeking to require all theaters with digital screens to comply with the new regulations six months after the rule is finalized. The proposal asks for comment on whether a four year compliance date is appropriate for theaters with analog screens, or whether regulations for those movie houses should be shelved until a later date.

Estimates of the costs of the rule fall somewhere between $177.8 million and $225.9 million over 15 years, the agency said.

Under the rules, captions would be delivered directly to the seat in a manner only visible to only a requesting patron. Audio description, transmitted via a wireless headset, allows individuals who are blind or have low vision “a spoken narration of important visual elements of a movie, such as actions, settings, facial expressions, costumes and scene changes.”

read the rest

The Justice Department has nothing to do with Justice any more.  They’re merely a regulation enforcement agency.  

Border patrol agents detain Iowa Boy Scout group at gunpoint, confiscate their camera

It is difficult to count the Constitutional violations in this one article.  A Boy Scout group from Iowa was detained for four hours at gunpoint and had their property stolen by border patrol agents because one of the scouts took a photo of a border agent.

from KCCI:

A central Iowa Boy Scout troop just returned from a three-week trip they will likely never forget.

About 10 days into the trip, an innocent action by one of the nearly two dozen Scouts at the Canadian border into Alaska set off a chain of events that lead to a U.S. border official pointing a gun at a scout’s head.

Boy Scout Troop 111 Leader Jim Fox spelled out what happened to him and the Mid-Iowa Boy Scout Troop 111 as four van-loads of Scouts and adult volunteers tried to drive from Canada into Alaska.

Fox said one of the Scouts took a picture of a border official, which spurred agents to detain everyone in that van and search them and their belongings.

“The agent immediately confiscated his camera, informed him he would be arrested, fined possibly $10,000 and 10 years in prison,” Fox said.

Fox said he was told it is a federal offense to take a picture of a federal agent.

Not wanting things to escalate, Fox said he did not complain.

Another of the Scouts was taking luggage from the top of a van to be searched when something startling happened.

“He hears a snap of a holster, turns around, and here’s this agent, both hands on a loaded pistol, pointing at the young man’s head,” Fox explained.

Fox said that had them all in fear.

Ultimately no one was hurt or arrested, and after about four hours they were allowed to continue their trip into Alaska.

read the rest

First of all, it is nota crime to photograph a Federal agent. Secondly, had these young men been drug cartel members or human traffickers the Border Patrol would have sent them on their way or even given them room and board. 

It’s a sad day in America when boy scouts are treated with less dignity than MS13 gang members. 

The hilariously dismal GOP primary for governor of Tennessee

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I voted early in Tennessee yesterday for the August 7 primary. We have open primaries in Tennessee (a horribly stupid idea), so I picked the GOP ballot. In the Senate primary, Joe Carr got my vote over Sen. Lamar Alexander, and I was happy about it

On the Governorship side of the ballot, however, the choices were much less desirable.

First up we have incumbent Governor Bill Haslam.

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Bill Haslam is certainly better than Tennessee’s last governor.  He rejected the Obamacare exchanges.  That’s a plus.  But he also embraced Common Core.  He also implemented sales tax for Amazon, Apple, and any other online retailer with a hit of a presence in Tennessee.  He supports a national bill to implement internet sales tax. So, it’s been a mixed bag with Haslam.  He’s a typical Republican progressive.  

Next up we have Basil Marceaux.

Basil Marceaux (dot com!) made a name for himself last year because of this mind-boggling appearance on our local news.  He hasn’t gotten any better either.  Every time he opens his mouth, it’s a struggle to understand a word of what he’s saying.  Key issues for Basil are planting vegetation on public lands and getting rid of those evil gold-fringed American flags!

And then there’s this guy…Mark Coonrippy Brown:

Mark “Coonrippy” Brown became in YouTube sensation because of his videos with his pet raccoon.  His notoriety also gained unwanted attention, however, and the state of Tennessee confiscated his raccoon citing a law that forbids individuals from owning wild animals.  After sending a petition with over 50,000 signatures to Governor Haslam, Coonrippy was still unable to get his pet raccoon back.  So, he’s doing the only thing left that he knows to do…run for governor of the State of Tennessee.  His platform is…well…getting his raccoon back.  

Needless to say, I didn’t vote for any of these men.  I wrote in a candidate instead.  

While I didn’t vote for him, it doesn’t mean I don’t want Mark Brown to get his raccoon back.  Tennessee’s law against owning a raccoon is idiotic, but I don’t think that qualifies him to be governor. 

Simas Ignores Subpoena Again as White House Defies Issa

White House official defies Congressional subpoena. What are they trying to hide?

Top White House political adviser David Simas refused again Friday to honor a congressional subpoena, prompting Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to vote to rebuke the administration.

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted 19-14 to reject the White House’s claim that Simas has absolute immunity from a subpoena from Congress.

Republicans said they were standing up for the principle that no one is above the law, and Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa quoted a long list of Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, who have backed Congress’ right to subpoena top administration officials.

2010: Nancy Pelosi admits Obamacare bill DOES NOT have a Federal Exchange

Let’s jump in our time machine back to right before Obamacare passed.  The House passed a version and the Senate passed their own version, and the bill went to conference to work out the differences.  However, a conference bill never appeared because Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts died, and Republican Scott Brown was elected in his place.  With Brown’s election, the Senate no longer had a filibuster proof majority with which to pass a conference bill.

Thus, the House was stuck with the Senate bill.  The choice was to pass the Senate’s version of Obamacare or pass nothing at all because no new version of Obamacare would get through the Senate with Scott Brown now able to uphold a filibuster. 

Take a look at this Politico article from 2010 during the time when the House and Senate bills went to conference (emphasis mine):

On a conference call Tuesday, Pelosi (D-Calif.) walked the party’s leadership team through differences in the two bills.

Other differences the speaker mentioned Tuesday include: replacing the Senate’s state-run exchanges with a national exchange established under the House bill, adding tougher mandates to make sure everyone secures health coverage and closing a gap in prescription-drug coverage next year. Senate negotiators have agreed to close the so-called doughnut hole, but they haven’t agreed on a time to implement those changes.

read the rest

Nancy Pelosi was not happy that that Senate bill did not contain a Federal Exchange, and her goal in conference was to insert this provision into the Senate Bill.  This change never materialized, and Nancy Pelosi ended up leading the House Democrats to vote for the Senate Bill as it was passed with no changes. 

It is clear from this that Obamacare does not give the Federal Government the authority to operate an insurance exchange and that power rests only with the states.

VIDEO: Sen. Max Baucus says in 2009 Obamacare tax credits are only for STATES that adopt exchanges

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I was searching for 2009 Senate debate over state exchanges and found this little gem from September 23.  The debate here is definitely in the weeds, but the key portion is that Democrat Senator Max Baucus admits that the Affordable Care Act tax credits are for states that adopt exchanges. 

Here’s the video:

Basically, Sen. Baucus and Sen. Ensign are debating whether or not the Senate Finance committee has jurisdiction to consider a specific amendment.  In his answer, Baucus admits that “premium assistance tax credits” are conditional on whether or not the states adopted an exchange. 

This only further shows that the Obamacare Federal Exchanges are not only illegal as the law is written but are also against the original intent of the law’s authors. 

Michelle Obama laments “too much money in politics” then asks donors to write “big fat checks”

It seems the hypocrisy from our nation’s Worst First Lady never ceases. She can’t even keep her message straight within a single speech.  

from Washington Times:

Speaking at a party fundraiser in Chicago, Mrs. Obama said Democrats must triumph in the November contests if President Obama is to make progress on his agenda during the final two years of his term.

She also blasted special interest groups that funnel money to Republicans.

“So, yeah, there’s too much money in politics. There’s special interests that have too much influence. But they had all that money and all that influence back in 2008 and 2012 and we still won those elections,” she said.

Mrs. Obama then urged fellow Democrats to add even more money to the political system.

“There is something you can do right now today to make a difference, and that is to write a big, fat check. I kid you not,” she said. “I’m going to be honest with you. That’s what we need you to do right now. We need you to write the biggest, fattest check that you can possibly write.”

read the rest

That’s right.  Money in politics is evil…now get your checkbooks out and gimme all your money. 

UC professor pleads no contest to theft, vandalism, and battery against pro-life demonstrators

The pro-abortion left makes a regular habit of violence against pro-life protestors. 

Remember the University of California, Santa Barbara feminist studies professor who forcibly stole a graphic anti-abortion sign from two abortion protesters, then scratched and appeared to push one of the protesters (a 16-year-old girl), then destroyed the sign?

She pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of grand theft, vandalism and battery on Thursday.

The crime went down back in March when the professor, Mireille Miller-Young, rallied up a small gaggle of female vigilantes and attacked abortion protesters Thrin Short, 16, and Joan Short, 21.

The Short sisters were standing in a designated “free speech zone” on the UC Santa Barbara campus with at least one large, very gruesome poster depicting aborted fetuses.

IRS IT officials testify in court that Lois Lerner's emails may still exist

Of course they still exist.  Anybody who knows anything about how the internet and email work could have told you that.  Ordinarily, it would be the Justice Department’s responsibility to investigate and prosecute the IRS for evidence tampering and violating the Hatch Act.  However, the Obama Justice Department, headed by Eric Holder, has no interest in having the truth revealed about the IRS targeting scandal.

On Wednesday, House Republicans revealed that at least one Internal Revenue Service official believes that it is possible that the agency did not “recycle” all of the hardware and backup tapes on which were stored former IRS executive Lois Lerner’s missing emails. This development may contradict testimony from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen who told members of Congress that none of Lerner’s emails could be recovered.

The claim came from Stephen Manning, an IRS IT official, and Todd Egaas, director of technology operations and investigative services for the tax collection agency. Both testified in the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. last week about the IRS’s efforts to collect and recover data from Lerner’s hard drive.

According to Washington Post reporter Josh Hicks, both officials’ testimony suggests that Lerner’s emails may still be out there.

WOW! Obamacare architect: We purposely used the word ‘States’ so we could punish Republican governors

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In case you’re not privy to what’s going on here, Obamacare was dealt a major blow this week when a court ruled that because the text of Obamacare explicitly says that states are the entities responsible for setting up Obamacare exchanges, the federal government cannot set up these exchanges (Another court had an opposite ruling on the same day). The lawsuit came after the federal government had, indeed, contrary to the law, set up these exchanges after 36 states rejected Obamacare by neglecting to do so.

The entire defense by those who think that the Federal government has the right to continue setting up exchanges and granting subsidies in spite of the law’s clear wording, is that the word “state” was an oversight or, perhaps, a “typo” and that it was obvious that lawmakers intended that the feds be able to set up exchanges as well.

One of the people pushing this silly narrative is an Obamacare architect named Jonathan Gruber. As we reported to you earlier today, after Mr. Gruber went on MSNBC to talk about “typos” and such, someone dug up a video of him clearly stating that the purpose of limiting the Obamacare exchanges to the states was so the feds could withhold federal money from states that rejected exchanges.

After the video surfaced, he hilariously claimed (NSFW) that he had made a “verbal typo” and that the word “states” was, indeed, ambiguous.

However, (and this is the good part), yet another recording of him has surfaced, where he says even more explicitly that the point was to punish conservative states (and as one might surmise, by extension, oust Republican governors).

Here’s what he said:

Here’s the money quote:

“I guess I’m enough of a believer in democracy to think that when the voters in states see that, by not setting up an exchange, the politicians in the state are costing the state residents hundreds of millions and billions of dollars, that they’ll eventually throw the guys out.”

In this one quote, he not only admits clearly that the repercussions of not setting up an exchange is no federal subsidies and that this should be remedied by by voting, but that he hopes that the politicians who don’t set up these exchanges (i.e. Republicans) will be punished by not winning elections.

Think about how sinister this is. The Federal Government takes money from the citizens of a state, then says “if you want some of this back, you must do what we say.” And they do all of this, knowing that the only states that will fight it are the ones controlled by Republicans.

There seems to be no end to the depravity of this administration.

Only in Detroit: Thousands neglect to pay water bill, protest when water gets cut off

No amount of idiocy or chaos that comes from Detroit should surprise us. The city, which has been exclusively under the control of Socialists Democrats since 1962, is in upheaval. But this latest round of nuttiness is just plain ridiculous. Thousands of people who haven’t paid their water bill have taken to the streets demanding that the city’s water department (which is about $90 million in debt) give them free water.

From WaPo:

On Friday in Detroit, hundreds of local residents and activists — and, somewhat inexplicably, Mark Ruffalo — gathered to protest what has become an only-in-Detroit kind of crisis: The city’s water utility has been shutting off service to thousands of homes, many with the elderly, the poor and children inside.

The story of how this has happened — and on the shores of one of the largest bodies of freshwater in the world — is not as simple as one of government incompetence or indifference to the poor.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department says that nearly half of its customers haven’t been paying their water bills, for a total of about 90,000 delinquent accounts, leaving the public utility with some $90 million in debt. But in a city of abandoned properties, squatters and tremendous poverty — 38 percent of Detroit lives below the poverty line — the department has had a hard time distinguishing empty homes from occupied ones, and customers who legitimately can’t afford to pay from those who’ve simply opted not to.

Read the Rest

Wow. This is truly amazing. And it’s a perfect little microcosm of what’s wrong with socialism. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not even remotely suggesting that good-hearted people not help those who don’t have the capability of taking care of themselves. But this situation is a great deal more complicated than that. What the “water is a human right” crowd is actually saying is “I demand that someone else pay for the things that I want.” This mentality is the problem. And people don’t arrive at this conclusion on their own. It’s taught to them and it’s cultivated by politicians like John Read-the-bill Conyers pictured above. See, people understand that stealing is wrong. But, for some reason, they are taught that it somehow becomes magically acceptable when the government is the one that does it.

The latest on this story is that Detroit has relented and will turn the water back on for everyone through the end of July:

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has announced that it is stopping water shutoffs through at least the end of July, giving residents who legitimately can’t afford to pay a grace period to prove that to the department.

This is called a welfare cliff. Let’s follow the logic with this oversimplified but useful example: If a person’s water bill is $20 and they only have $19, they get free water and get to keep their $19. If a person has $20, however, they have to pay for their water, leaving them with no money. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why government programs like this encourage dependency.

Oh, and If you would like to pay for someone else’s water bill, you can by going here.

Buzzfeed editor caught plagiarizing Heritage Foundation, National Review, NY Times and others

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone because Buzzfeed is one giant hairball of plagiarism. They’ve turned stealing other people’s intellectual property into an art form. 

from Politico:

Buzzfeed is conducting an internal review of editor Benny Johnson’s work after identifying multiple instances of what editor-in-chief Ben Smith described as “plagiarism.”

The instances were brought to Buzzfeed’s attention by Twitter users @blippoblappo and @crushingbort, who cited six instances in which Johnson lifted passages from sites like The New York Times, Wikipedia, Heritage Foundation and National Review Online without attribution.

“There are three serious instances of plagiarism in this post,” Smith told Poynter on Friday.

read the rest

I doubt this will stop Buzzfeed from getting a kuzillion shares on Facebook today.

FEC tramples 1st Amendment, bans Paul Ryan’s PAC from promoting book

In an unbelievable act of government censorship, the Federal Election Commission has ruled that Paul Ryan’s leadership PAC is not allowed to buy and give away copies of Paul Ryan’s book. 

from Red State:

Wisconsin GOP Congressman Paul Ryan’s leadership PAC, Prosperity Action, asked the Federal Election Commission for permission in advance of doing something fairly logical. They want to buy copies of Ryan’s published book, The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea, to give away to supporters, in conjunction with a book tour. Of course they’d also help promote the book, since its author is also their candidate.

In an Orwellian reversal, the FEC responded to Ryan’s innocuous request with not one, but two drafts. The second, “Draft B”, would be a major policy change, calling the PAC’s purchase a “third party contribution” with “excessive personal use.”

Not only would “Draft B” represent a chilling restriction on a candidate’s ability to promote his (or her—Hillary) own book, but it also flies in the face of logic and common sense.

[…]

This FEC decision limits Ryan’s ability to promote his own book to two sentences on the website run by Prosperity Action. If that’s not censorship, no…of course it can’t be, it’s just enforcing a little-known campaign law used to prosecute John Edwards hush money paid by Bunny Mellon to conceal his mistress. To make this jump from a filthy payoff to book promotion, you’d need a pole that reaches over the Grand Canyon.

After Goodman’s remarks at the FEC meeting, Democratic Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub screeched “No one is banning books”. Of course not, you’re just banning promoting books, a ludicrous distinction.

read the rest

The decision is so egregious that the chairman of the FEC is warning that these actions could actually lead to book bans in the future:

The chairman of the Federal Election Commission today blasted Democratic colleagues opposed to his effort to protect conservative media after they imposed rules on the publisher of Rep. Paul Ryan’s new book, opening the door to future book regulations — or even a ban.

“By failing to affirm this publisher’s constitutional right, statutory right, to disseminate a political book free from FEC conditions and regulations, we have effectively asserted regulatory jurisdiction over a book publisher,” warned Chairman Lee E. Goodman, one of three Republicans on the six-person FEC.

“That failure reveals a festering legal uncertainty and chill for the free press rights of books and book publishers to publish and disseminate political books free from government regulation,” he added.

These kinds of regulations should not be put on anyone, Conservative nor Liberal.  It is not the job of the Federal Government to decide whose speech is appropriate, and that’s exactly what’s happening here. 

Paul Ryan should ignore the FEC’s ruling and his PAC should promote the book any way they please.  He should fight these bans on free speech all they way up to the Supreme Court if necessary.  

Exit question: Why isn’t Paul Ryan standing up and loudly sounding the alarm against this Constitutional violation?  Neither his website nor his PAC’s website have anything on their home pages about this.