December 28, 2011

NYT’s Anti-Concealed Carry Report Actually Proves That No. Carolina and Its Permit Holders Are Safer

MoreGunsLessCrimeIt seems that if you’re a New York Times reporter on a mission to prove something you think must be obvious and your research leads to the exact opposite result from what you smugly expected, you forge ahead and try to pretend that you proved your point anyway.

At least that how it seems to have worked out for Times reporter Michael Luo in a report appearing in Tuesday’s print edition which tried to show readers how one state which allows residents to carry concealed weapons with a permit is allegedly allowing large numbers of dangerous people to possess them. But the way the math works out, North Carolina, the state which the Times investigated, is far safer than many jurisdictions without such laws, even given the problems cited with pulling permits from those who have committed crimes and should not still be holding them. Additionally, the murder rate among North Carolinians who don’t have permits or associate with those who do is higher than it is among permit holders. Here is Luo’s pathetic attempt to make a case which can’t be made:

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Ann Coulter Thinks She Just Endorsed Mitt Romney …

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:23 pm

… but in her column today, even though she doesn’t know it, she really just endorsed someone else.

Given her stubborn refusal to recognize the truth about Objectively Unfit Mitt, she may never admit it. That really doesn’t matter.

In the next day or two, I’ll identify who it is, and prove why I’m right.

Stay tuned.

You too, Ann.

I’ve closed comments at this thread, because there’s no point in comment-driven speculation.

UPDATES:
- Dec. 29Ann Coulter Endorses Rick Santorum
- Dec. 30Ann Coulter Endorses Rick Santorum: The (Sort of) Abbreviated Version

So Much Material, So Little Time, Part 1: Mitt Romney Praises Obama’s ‘Backbone’ in Effectively Seizing GM

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:45 pm

When you vote for a candidate, you vote for all of his or her positions. You accept the moral responsibility for the working out of their platform in practice.

– Talk radio host and serial Mitt Romney apologist Hugh Hewitt;
December 23, 2011

RomneyNo0808GovernmentMotors0609In late March 2009, the two members of the Republican Party with the most perceived clout were Sarah Palin, who had just been John McCain’s running mate, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who was the runner-up in the 2008 GOP presidential primary sweepstakes and was edged out by Palin for the VP spot.

Romney busily maintained his visibility after the 2008 presidential election, making it clear to all despite ritual denials that he fully intended to go through with another White House run.

During March’s final weekend, in a move never seen outside of the financial sector, President Barack Obama demanded and received the resignation of General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner. He didn’t ask Congress; he just did it. Three months earlier, expanding on his previously stated infamous presidential epitaph (“I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system”), President George W. Bush had agreed to lend GM $13.4 billion, and to lend Chrysler, Detroit’s other on-the-brink carmaker, another $4 billion.

What was Mitt Romney’s reaction to Barack Obama’s authoritarian move? If you don’t yet know, you might want to sit down first while removing sharp objects and beverages from your immediate area.

On March 31, 2009, in a CNN interview which is conveniently no longer available (if someone can make the linked vid works or can find it elsewhere, let me know; UPDATE: This post’s first commenter found it here — Thanks!), but which yours truly transcribed in anticipation of that very occurrence (the dirtiest little non-secret of this year’s campaign is that the establishment press wants Mitt Romney to win the nomination so that they can kick his butt to the curb during the general election campaign with items such as this) … Mitt Romney praised President Obama for demonstrating “backbone.”

Here’s the directly relevant portion of the transcript:

Romney: I think a lot of people expected the president just to cave and to write a big check, and just hope for the better. I’m glad that he’s expressing some backbone on this and saying to those guys, “Hey, you’ve gotta get your house in order or you guys are gone. You’re going to go to bankruptcy.” That’s something I think he should have said months ago. There were a numbers of us who said that bankruptcy or a bankruptcy-like process was something that was needed to get GM and Chrysler, y’know, on their feet again. But by the way, kudos to Ford for running itself independently and apparently making a go of it on its own.

By the way, president-in-waiting Obama did use strong words after Bush’s decision:

“I do want to emphasize to the Big Three automakers and their executives that the American people’s patience is running out,” Obama said later at a news conference. “They’re going to have to make some hard choices.”

He really meant “Big Two,” as Ford wasn’t looking for a bailout. Math has never been Obama’s forte.

As I wrote at the time about Romney reaction to Wagoner’s sacking:

Note well: There is NOT ONE WORD of criticism in the above, in the full article, or in the video at the link of President ‘Prompter’s heavyhanded, unprecedented, and clearly clearly extra-constitutional intervention in GM’s management.

Oh, but it gets worse.

The companies went into bankruptcy anyway; what followed may have changed America as we once knew it forever. Mitt Romney, having cheered Obama’s initial move, basically stood by and watched after that.

A month later after Wagoner’s sacking, the government took Chrysler into bankruptcy when certain of its secured lenders, who came to be known as “the non-TARP lenders,” balked at Uncle Sam’s debt settlement terms, which for no legally defensible reason gave preferential treatment to the company’s UAW workers and their health plan trust as well as to other secured lenders. President Obama, at a press conference announcing the imminent bankruptcy filing, infamously went into intimidation mode:

I don’t stand with them. I stand with Chrysler’s employees and their families and communities. I stand with Chrysler’s management, its dealers and its suppliers. I stand with the millions of Americans who own and want to buy Chrysler cars. I don’t stand with those who held out when everybody else is making sacrifices.

I don’t recall Mitt Romney objecting to any of this. He had all the potential visibility in the world, and the ability to take advantage of it — had he wanted to.

Immediately after the filing, it was clear that the government had taken Chrysler into bankruptcy precisely to put the screws to the non-TARP lenders.

The intimidation was real. In an interview with WJR’s Frank Beckmann on May 1, non-TARP lenders’ attorney Tom Lauria, a $10,000 Democratic donor, intimated that brokerage firm Perella Weinberg was “in essence compelled to withdraw its opposition to the deal under threat that the full force of the White House press corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight.” In effect, because of the government threats, blackmail, and its unlimited resources, most of the non-TARP lenders folded and gave in to the government’s settlement demands. The few who didn’t were rebuffed (but not rejected — their case simply wasn’t heard) by the Supreme Court.

I don’t recall Mitt Romney objecting to any of this. He had all the potential visibility in the world, and the ability to advantage of it — had he wanted to. Based on his support of President Obama’s “backbone” in late March, it’s not unreasonable to believe that he was okay with what happened at Chrysler. One supported authoritarian move leads to another.

What the government had done set a dangerous precedent: The government can void perfectly legal and thought-to-be binding contracts at the very least during bankruptcies and at most whenever it feels like it. Only time and the next financial crisis will tell how damaging this maneuver will be. As Lauria said: “for the United States Government to step in, the Executive Office of the United States Government, who under the Constitution is charged with enforcing the laws to step in and try to in effect break the laws, I think we should all be concerned about that.” Uh, yeah.

After GM filed for bankruptcy, the government did a number similar to what it did at Chrysler on GM’s unsecured bondholders.

I don’t recall Mitt Romney objecting to any of this. He had all the potential visibility in the world, and the ability to advantage of it — had he wanted to. Again, based on his support of President Obama’s “backbone” in late March, it’s not unreasonable to believe that he was okay with what happened at GM.

Relevant Google news searches indicate that in terms of GM, Romney would only say that it should have filed sooner and wrung more concessions from its United Auto Workers union. In terms of Chrysler, I couldn’t find anything. In terms of both companies, I found nothing Romney said or did relating to the creditor and bondholder ripoffs in bankruptcy. That strikes me as more than a little unusual considering his background in buying, managing and selling businesses, and importance of contract law which undergirds the American free-market system.

Of all the people in the U.S. in the Spring of 2009, Mitt Romney was the one person in America (even more than Sarah Palin, because of his business background) who, had he vocally objected, might have given the authoritarian Obama regime second thoughts about doing what it did, or at least given the issue the national visibility it lacked thanks to typical establishment media malfeasance. But instead, at the first opportunity, Objectively Unfit Mitt supported Obama’s actions. Then, out of what was in my opinion sheer cowardice — you don’t want to take a strong position when you can always wait and see how things work out, and take the other side if necessary — he stood by without comment while everything else went down.

As Hugh Hewitt wrote above about Ron Paul: “You accept the moral responsibility for the working out of their platform in practice.” In practice, Mitt Romney, consistent with the authoritarianism he engaged in while he was Governor of Massachusetts by unilaterally imposing same-sex marriage in his state, sided with authoritarian-in-chief Barack Obama. That is not acceptable in a Republican or conservative presidential candidate (really not in any candidate, but Democrats have long since abandoned any and all standards).

To paraphrase, if you vote for Mitt Romney when other acceptable alternatives are available, you accept moral responsibility for voting to nominate a proven authoritarian.

You can’t defensibly do it, and it’s not arguable.

AP Bemoans Retirement of ‘Centrist’ Ben Nelson, Who Voted for ObamaCare and Stimulus

BenNelsonNeb1211In an item which still has a breaking news tag, Josh Funk at the Associated Press (saved here for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes) call retiring Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson a “centrist,” and almost seemed to mourn over “an increasingly polarizing climate” which made it clear that Nelson’s reelection would have been a steep uphill fight. Of course, there was no mention of the infamous Cornhusker kickback which was offered and then withdrawn in a firestorm of controversy in an Obama administration attempt to win Nelson’s support for the passage of ObamaCare — which they got anyway.

Here are several paragraphs from Funk’s report and the immediately following breaking news item:

Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson says he decided to leave the U.S. Senate after 2012 because he wants more free time, not because he’s retiring.

The 70-year-old centrist Democrat and former governor announced his decision not to seek another term Tuesday. His departure is expected to make it easier for Republicans to win the only seat in Nebraska’s congressional delegation that hasn’t already gone to the GOP.

… He says he’s also confident he could have won himself, saying his poll numbers have improved despite being hammered by conservatives for supporting the federal health care overhaul.

Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson survived nearly two decades representing heavily Republican Nebraska by carving a path down the political center. But faced with navigating that road in an increasingly polarizing climate, Nelson is stepping away – and swinging the door wide open for the GOP.

Nelson, the lone Democrat in Nebraska’s five-member congressional delegation, announced Tuesday that he wouldn’t seek a third term. He was facing a tough campaign against several Republicans who’ve spent the past several months attacking his support for President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul and federal stimulus legislation.

“Who can blame him given the current political mood of the country?” said former state Democratic Party Chairman Steve Achelpohl.

… Democrats banking on Nelson’s ability to leverage those centrist stances and capture statewide races were left scrambling, and many state activists acknowledged being taken by surprise.

One suspects that more than a few people are upset about the timing of Nelson’s announcement, given that he continued to press hard for campaign contributions this year while his party spent heavily in the Cornhusker State in an attempt to shore up Nelson’s image.

As for Nelson’s “centrism,” here are his grades from the Club for Growth during the past six available years:

The arc of Nelson’s Club for Growth voting record gives away his opportunistic economic liberalism.

Once Democrats achieved a majority in the Senate after the 2006 elections, Nelson went far-left, scoring only one point above the late Ted Kennedy in 2007 and below many known lefties, including Sherrod Brown, Debbie Stabenow, and Bernie Sanders in 2008. His “improvement” in 2009, when he voted for the stimulus plan, and 2010, when he voted for ObamaCare, was clearly intended to mask Nelson’s inner leftist.

Fortunately, Nebraskans finally saw through the clever facade, even as Funk at the Associated Press bitterly clings to Nelson’s claim to be a moderate. Centrist, schmentrist.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

NYT Outshines AP’s Awful Coverage of ‘Mourners’ at Kim Jong Il’s Funeral

KimJongIlDearLeaderDec11At the New York Times Thursday morning, reporter Choe Sang-Hun’s covering the funeral for late North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il made it clear to readers that it “The funeral, and the mourning, appeared to have been meticulously choreographed by the government.” Meanwhile, over at the Associated Press (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), a story involving five reporters left the impression that the outpouring of grief was genuine and broadly shared.

Here are key paragraphs relating to that aspect of the funeral coverage, first from the Times (bolds are mine throughout this post):

North Korean Mourners Line Streets for Kim Jong-il’s Funeral

On the surface, the funeral appeared to proceed with a totalitarian choreography.

Kim Jong-un walked with one hand on the hearse and the other raised in salute. Neat rows of soldiers in olive-green uniforms stood, hats off and bowing, in front of the Kumsusan mausoleum, where Kim Jong-il’s body had been lying in state since his death was announced on Dec. 19.

When the funeral motorcade stopped before them at the start of a 25-mile procession through Pyongyang, they gave a last salute and a military band played the national anthem. Mr. Kim and other top officials did not walk the entire route; from inside their limousines, they watched crowds of citizens and soldiers wailing along the boulevards under a cold, gray sky.

Soldiers appeared to lead the outpouring of grief. They beat their chests in tears, footage broadcast on state television showed. They flailed their hands, stomped their feet and shouted “Father, Father,” as the limousine carrying a gigantic portrait of a smiling Kim Jong-il on the roof crawled past the crowds, followed by the hearse bearing his coffin draped with a red flag. A phalanx of soldiers carrying various party and military flags followed.

In one scene, soldiers rushed to keep mourners from spilling onto the road. But even among the crowds, the intensity of grief — thus loyalty to the regime — seemed to vary; those standing farther from the road seemed less effusive.

The funeral, and the mourning, appeared to have been meticulously choreographed by the government to strengthen the cult of personality underpinning the Kim family’s rule. State television and radio announcers exhorted North Koreans to uphold the family with their lives. They even attributed the heavy snow fall ahead of the funeral to the “heaven’s grief” over Kim Jong-il’s death.

An exhortation from the state’s broadcasters in a totalitarian regime telling their country’s residents “to uphold the family with their lives” would tend to be taken literally.

At the AP, verbiage relating to the mourners expressed none of the skepticism seen in the Times:

NKoreans salute, cry for late leader Kim Jong Il

North Korea’s next leader escorted his father’s hearse in an elaborate state funeral on a bitter, snowy day Wednesday, bowing somberly and saluting in front of tens of thousands of citizens who wailed and stamped their feet in grief for Kim Jong Il.

Mourners in parkas lined the streets of Pyongyang, waving, stamping and crying as the convoy bearing his coffin passed. Some struggled to get past police holding back the crowd.

“How can the sky not cry?” a weeping soldier standing in the snow said to state TV. “The people … are all crying tears of blood.”

The dramatic scenes of grief showed how effectively North Korea built a personality cult around Kim Jong Il despite chronic food shortages and decades of economic hardship.

As the Times’s Sang-Hun noted, the scenario was really one of “Mourn or else.”

The Times doesn’t get a total pass. While its story found space for the word “totalitarian” to describe the country’s state of affairs, it failed to hang any kind of authoritarian label directly onto Kim Jong Il himself. The AP, also failed to label the dead dictator, but at least indicated that he “ruled with absolute power.”

Several decades ago, one would have expected the Times to be the outlet gullibly relaying propaganda and the AP to exhibit at least a bit of skepticism. Today’s result is the opposite of that. It’s probably too much to hope for, but I’d like to think that the AP’s subscribing news, radio and TV outlets will do a collective “What the …?” when they see what Korea bureau chief Jean H. Lee and writers Hyung-jin Kim, Foster Klug, Scott McDonald and Sam Kim have produced.

(Image at top right is from “the Official Webpage of The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”)

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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BizzyBlog Update: The AP has a 23-entry timeline for “Key dates in the life of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il.” It has produced no such timeline for former Czech President Vaclav Havel, who played a pivotal role in liberating that country from Communism in 1. Fortunately the UK Telegraph has.

AP’s Kuhnhenn: Obama Only Promised to Make Signing Statements ‘More Transparent’

At the Associated Press on Friday, Jim Kuhnhenn provided yet another reason why characterizing the wire service as The Administration’s Press is perfectly appropriate.

In wake of President Obama’s use of a “signing statement” objecting on constitutional grounds to congressionally-imposed “restrictions on his ability to transfer detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States,” Kuhnhenn wrote that presidential candidate Obama “promised to make his application (of) the (signing statement) tool more transparent.” No he didn’t, Jim; as will be shown, he promised not to use them. Kuhnhenn’s first three paragraphs, plus two later ones describing another signing statement matter, ran thusly (also note how the term “signing statement” was kept out of the story’s headline):

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Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (122811)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:30 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.

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Rick Moran at American Thinker commits an all too frequent and grievous error when he writes that “The constitutionality of a law is determined by the Supreme Court and no one else.”

That’s a recipe for a permanent tyranny of nine robed judges.

Just one example — If they say gun ownership is not an individual right and that states and cities can therefore take away citizens’ guns, would Rick Moran really say that that a president or the people cannot and should not defy that? The President can, and should, and so should the people. And in case the justices are wondering what the people’s response will be — we will defy it.

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At the Wall Street Journal“Wendy’s Set To Unseat Burger King as No. 2 (U.S.) Chain”

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At Politico“SOPA is the end of us, say bloggers.”

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During the debt ceiling debacle of late July and early August, the national debt was stuck at $14.34 trillion. The day after the sides settled, it zoomed to $14.58 trillion. As of Friday, it was $15.13 trillion.

The national debt has gone up by $790 billion in four months and three weeks ($550 billion since a couple of days after the settlement).

If the debt increases continue at the daily rate of $3.85 billion a day seen since the debt-ceiling dust settled, that deal’s $16.39 trillion limit will be reached by mid-November 2012. If the daily bleed increases by only 4% to $4 billion a day, something which could happen as a result of even pretty small economic hiccups, we’ll hit the limit at the end of the week before Election Day.

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Obamaville Update: (HT Instapundit) — “… the sharp surge in suburban poverty is beginning to grab the attention of demographers, government officials and social service advocates.”

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From the “Don’t Believe It For a Minute” Dept. — “(Energy Secretary Chu Says Admin Is) ‘Committed to restarting . . . nuclear industry.” I’d guess that the “commitment” will last until November 7, 2012.

Positivity: Out-of-Work Good Samaritan Returns Cash-Filled Wallet — And Refuses Reward

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

Just go to Daryn Kagan’s place for the video of the related NBC report:

GoodSamaritanAndWallet1211