Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Is the GOP about to be co-opted by the Democrats … again

It all starts with what could be described as a very simple act – the acceptance of a premise.   As soon as one side accepts the premise of the other side, the other side has won.  It simply becomes a matter of how bad the damage is.

In this case, the premise that seems to have been accepted by the “old ladies” of the GOP leadership is that some sort of federal “gun control” legislation is necessary  because of “mass killings” and our “children”.  From Ammoland:

You might think that with Republicans in control of the US House of Representatives there would be no way ANY gun control legislation could reach the floor.

But sadly we are already beginning to see so-called “conservative champions” folding to pressure from the anti-gun media to sell-out gun owners.

Former Vice Presidential candidate, Congressman Paul Ryan, has stated that he would support legislation that bans private sales at gun shows.

In the House, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, along with the help of Rep. Scott Rigell (VA), Patrick Meehan (PA) and others, have stated openly that they will work together with anti-gun Democrats from Maryland and New York to tighten restrictions on private firearms sales and expand background checks.

Possibly even more upsetting has been Senator Tom Coburn’s willingness to work alongside anti-gunner Chuck Schumer (NY) to propose “bi-partisan” anti-gun legislation in the Senate.

Make no mistake, so-called “expansion” of background checks is little more than a blatant attempt by anti-gunners to register all firearms and gun owners in America.

That is why Representatives Steve Stockman (TX-36) and Paul Broun (GA-10) have drafted a letter to Speaker Boehner and the Republican leadership urging them to require the support of the majority of Republican members in the House before bringing any anti-gun bills to the floor.

This so-called “Hastert Rule” would mean that 117 Republicans would have to support a particular bill before it had any chance of getting a floor vote, not just the support of the anti-gun elitist in leadership.

So the premise seems to have been accepted by the GOP leadership if this report is accurate.  And, if it is accurate, then they’re going to try to fashion some sort of gun control legislation to address a problem that the type of gun control legislation they’ll propose won’t effect.  What it will do, however, is create a new law that will put legal gunowners in criminal jeopardy if they desire to sell their firearms and don’t follow the new rules to a ‘t’ (and, my guess is the new rules will likely be mostly unenforceable – they’d only be enforced retroactively if a gun involved in a private sale that wasn’t “background checked” was used in a crime).

The criminals?  Those who are likely to commit mass killings?  Yeah, they’ll comply.

Meanwhile, if you believe that Congress has no right to “infringe” on 2nd Amendment rights, prepare to be sold down the river by the GOP.  They’ve already accepted the need and the premise, it’s now just a matter of figuring out what the “compromise” will be.  What should be clear, however, is that if anti-gun legislation does get passed, it will be your 2nd Amendment rights that will be compromised and the GOP will be complicit.

~McQ

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State court says no to Bloomberg’s large soda ban

As it should:

A state judge on Monday stopped Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s administration frombanning the sale of large sugary drinks at New York City restaurants and other venues, a major defeat for a mayor who has made public-health initiatives a cornerstone of his tenure.

The city is “enjoined and permanently restrained from implementing or enforcing the new regulations,” wrote New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling, blocking the rules one day before they would have taken effect. The city’s chief counsel, Michael Cardozo, pledged to “appeal the ruling as soon as possible.”

In halting the drink rules, Judge Tingling noted that the incoming sugary drink regime was “fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences” that would be difficult to enforce with consistency “even within a particular city block, much less the city as a whole.”

“The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose of the rule,” the judge wrote. (Read the full text of the ruling.)

Under a first-of-its-kind prohibition approved by the city Board of Health last year, establishments from restaurants to mobile food carts would have been prohibited from selling sugary drinks larger than 16 oz. After a three-month grace period, the city would have started fining violators $200 per sale.

So the nanny gets told “no”.

Does anyone really believe this will stop him?

~McQ

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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 10 Mar 13

This week, Michael and Dale discuss the Rand Paul filibuster, The death of Hugo Chavez, and North Korea’s saber-rattling.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.

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Economic Statistics for 8 Mar 13

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

Nonfarm payrolls surged to 236,000 net new jobs in February, as the unemployment rate fell to 7.7%. The average workweek rose slightly, to 34.5 hours, while average hourly earnings rose 0.2% to $23.82. Still, there are caveats. The civilian labor force continued to decline, as another 130,000 left the labor force, bringing the labor force participation rate down to 63.5, matching the low of August 2012 and the lowest since September, 1981. The U-6 unemployment rate, the Labor Department’s broadest measure of unemployment, fell a tick from 14.4% to 14.3%. Meanwhile, using the average labor force participation rate prior to the recession, real unemployment measures 11.47%, down very slightly from January’s 11.51%. While this month’s surge in employment is welcome, declining labor force participation still points to a lackluster jobs market.

Wholesale inventories rose 1.2% in January, while wholesale sales fell -0.8%, driving the stock-to-sales ratio up to 1.21, the highest reading since October.

~
Dale Franks
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Obama claims credit for something he hasn’t done

I’m sure that doesn’t surprise anyone particularly.  A) it’s Obama and B) he’s a politician who has yet to quit campaigning (mostly because he hasn’t a clue how to govern).

What am I talking about?  His attempt to claim responsibility for the fact that fossil fuel production is up under his watch and he’s somehow responsible for that.

Yes, it is, but that has absolutely nothing to do with him or his policies.   The Congressional Research Service has apparently made that official now:

The Congressional Research Service has released a report finding that, as was already generally known, U.S. oil and gas production has increased substantially over the past four years, but on private lands only, while it’s actually declined on federal land.

Or said another way, where Obama had control and the opportunity to do what he is claiming, he declined that opportunity and in fact impeded further exploration and production with his policies.  Where he had no real control, production boomed.  Federal lands – nada.  Private lands – bunches and bunches.

What has he sacrificed with his anti-fossil fuel polices?  Revenue and jobs.

Again, you have to wonder anymore what it takes to be fired.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 7 Mar 13

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

Initial jobless claims fell 7,000 to 340,000. The 4-week average fell 7,000 to 348,750. Continuing claims fell 37,000 to 3.122 million, a recovery low.

The US trade gap widened to a greater-than-expected $-44.4 billion. Exports fell 1.2%, while imports rose 1.8%.

The final revision for 4th quarter 2012 shows non-farm productivity fell -1.9%, while unit labor costs rose 4.6%.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index continues to rise, up 0.4 points to -32.4 in the latest week. The index has gained 5.1 points since January.

The Challenger Job-Cut Report lists 55,356 layoffs in February, up from 40,430 in January. This may be a negative signal for tomorrow’s Employment Situation.

~
Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 6 Mar 13

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

The MBA reports that mortgage applications surged by 14.8%, with both purchases and re-fis up 15.0%.

ADP reports that private payroll jobs increased by 198,000 last month, compared to a revised 215,000 in January.

New Orders for factory goods fell -2.0% in January, but that was sharply skewed by a drop in aircraft orders. Ex-transportation, orders rose 1.3%. Ex aircraft capital goods rose 7.2%.

The Fed’s Beige Book reports "that economic activity generally expanded at a modest to moderate pace since the previous Beige Book." Both the Boston and Chicago districts report slow growth. Price pressures remain moderate, according to the report.

~
Dale Franks
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Sean Penn about Hugo Chavez: “I’ve lost a friend”

Hugo Chavez has assumed room temperature.  I’ve always been taught it is bad manners to talk ill of the dead.  In this case I’ll risk it.  It is a huge boon for liberty and individual rights that Hugo is no longer at the helm of the shipwreck he’s made of his country and its economy.

Of course, there are those who feel differently about a man who had no respect for individual liberty, property or rights:

Sean Penn said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter that “the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion. I lost a friend I was blessed to have. My thoughts are with the family of President Chavez and the people of Venezuela.”

No one ever said our celebrities were particularly bright.  I mean this is Sean Penn who tried to paddle around New Orleans in a row boat in the wake of Katrina to … well, one assumes to prove something.  Instead he just became another problem for those actually doing rescue work.

So it’s not particularly surprising to see him, blinders firmly in place, saying silly stuff about Chavez. Chavez was a dictator, a tyrant, a bully, amoral, violent and singularly ideologically driven. And, in terms of how the world works economically, ignorant as a stump (a common condition for most socialists) – as is Penn.

Hugo Chavez was no “friend of the poor”. He simply used them, by giving them other people’s property, to provide himself with a power base.

With Chavez’s passing, perhaps Venezuela can now recover from the long national nightmare it has undergone during the Chavez years.

Here’s hoping.

~McQ

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