The Founders back the argument that Houston mayor’s attack on preachers is not a 1st Amendment issue

In my column last week, Why Houston mayor’s attack on preachers was not a 1st Amendment issuee, I explained how the “incorporation doctrine,” a construct created out of whole cloth by an activist judiciary in the early 20th century, had subverted the Constitution and was a dangerous threat to liberty.

Not a few people, obviously indoctrinated by the public (non)education system and steeped in state-worshiping conventional wisdom, were apparently seriously aggrieved by the argument; even when they opposed the mayor’s actions. Their responses were typically vacuous and fallacious.

For example, Reid Reasor opined:

“So this author then argues the state or local government may abduct and keeping (sic) our daughters without trail (sic) or probable cause even perform cruel and unusual punishment because the federal government has limited powers outside of their enumeration?”

Clearly I argued no such thing.

JimH remarked:

“Houston is not Congress.’ True, but citizens of Houston are also citizens of the U.S., so the Constitution and Bill of Rights are still relevant.”

Not in this case, as my column points out.

Guest attempted to help JimH make his case with:

How Ebola killed the Democratic Party

Hi. I’m Wayne Allyn Root for Personal Liberty. President Obama doesn’t seem concerned about Ebola. He won’t seal the border. He won’t ban flights from the Ebola zone. He named an Ebola czar who knows nothing about healthcare. He sent 4,000 U.S. military troops into harm’s way in the Ebola zone. Now a GOP congressman claims plans are underway to bring non-American Ebola victims to the U.S. for treatment.

Americans are fed up. They’ve had enough. Obama’s incompetence, ignorance, mental instability or callous disregard for the health of the American people is the talk of the country (outside of Washington, D.C.).

The irony is that while Ebola has so far done very little damage to the American people (with only one person in America dead), Ebola’s chief victims appear to be Obama and the Democratic Party. Obama’s response to Ebola has finally convinced the electorate that Obama is dangerous to our health. Ebola has finally shifted the electorate away from Obama and his Democratic Party. People finally understand the emperor has no clothes. The result is clear: A Republican landslide is forming.

How bad will the coming election results be for Obama and Democrats?

This Democratic attack is backfiring

We’ll know for sure next Tuesday night. But right now, it appears that the Democrats’ No.1 strategy against Republicans in this year’s mid-term elections isn’t working. In fact, it appears to be backfiring against them.

I’m referring to their non-stop accusation that every Republican running for office is somehow guilty of waging a “war on women.” Even outstanding female candidates, such as Joni Ernst in Iowa, are accused of being against women’s rights to abortions, contraception and equal pay in the work place. It’s all a bunch of hokum, of course. And happily, it doesn’t seem to be working.

Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado has been beating the war on women drum so long and so loudly that when he was introduced in a debate earlier this month, the moderator actually said,

“Mr. Udall, your campaign has been so focused on women’s issues that you’ve been dubbed ‘Mark Uterus’ … Have you gone too far?”

The state’s largest newspaper, The Denver Post, says that he has. The paper wrote that Udall’s “obnoxious one-issue campaign is an insult to those he seeks to convince.” The paper has endorsed Udall’s Republican opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, for the seat. Oh, and by the way, the latest WSJ/NBC News poll says that Gardner is leading Udall 46 percent to 39 percent among women.

From This Day Forward, We Will Watch How The Stock Market Performs Without The Fed’s Monetary Heroin

Money - Public DomainMark this day on your calendars.  The Dow is at 16974, the S&P 500 is at 1982 and the NASDAQ is at 4549.  From this day forward, we will be looking to see how the stock market performs without the monetary heroin that the Federal Reserve has been providing to it.  Since November 2008, the Fed has created about 3.5 trillion dollars and pumped it into the financial system.  An excellent chart illustrating this in graphic format can be found right here.  Pretty much everyone agrees that this has been a tremendous boon for the financial markets.  As you will see below, even former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan says that quantitative easing was “a terrific success” as far as boosting stock prices.  But he also says that QE has not been very helpful to the real economy at all.  In essence, the entire quantitative easing program was a massive 3.5 trillion dollar gift to Wall Street.  If that sounds unfair to you, that is because it is unfair.

So why is the Federal Reserve finally ending quantitative easing?

Well, officially the Fed says that it is because there has been so much improvement in the labor market

Another civil forfeiture horror story

This Iowa woman ran a successful Mexican restaurant for nearly four decades until the IRS showed up at her home one day in 2013, informing her that her business bank account had been frozen and her cash assets – more than $30,000 – had been seized by the government.

Carole Hinders, who owns Mrs. Lady’s Mexican Food, had apparently been “guilty” of making small cash deposits to her business bank account because, according to Business Insider, “her mother told her the bank had to do ‘extra paperwork’” if she deposited more than $10,000 at a time.

The government requires that banks receiving more than $10,000 in cash deposits in single transactions report the deposits to the feds. Hinders’ consistent behavior of depositing less than that amount had, over time, raised the IRS’ suspicion that she was hiding something.

Hinders’ restaurant, though, accepts only cash or checks, not debit or credit cards, and Hinders has an aversion to storing large amounts of cash on-site.

“How can I be committing a crime by depositing money I worked for and deposited in my own bank account?” she asked. “Over 30 years of banking at the same bank, no one ever mentioned I was making my deposits ‘wrong.’”

Obama White House official calls Netanyahu a cowardly ‘chickenshit’

An Obama administration official caused controversy this week for calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “chickenshit” and a “coward” who’d rather protect himself politically than make tough decisions to help de-escalate tensions in the Middle East.

The anonymous official’s comments were reported by The Atlantic’s Jeffery Goldberg in a piece titled: “The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here”.

Goldberg writes:

The other day I was talking to a senior Obama administration official about the foreign leader who seems to frustrate the White House and the State Department the most. “The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit,” this official said, referring to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, by his nickname.

This comment is representative of the gloves-off manner in which American and Israeli officials now talk about each other behind closed doors, and is yet another sign that relations between the Obama and Netanyahu governments have moved toward a full-blown crisis. The relationship between these two administrations— dual guarantors of the putatively “unbreakable” bond between the U.S. and Israel—is now the worst it’s ever been, and it stands to get significantly worse after the November midterm elections. By next year, the Obama administration may actually withdraw diplomatic cover for Israel at the United Nations, but even before that, both sides are expecting a showdown over Iran, should an agreement be reached about the future of its nuclear program.

Houston mayor relents; withdraws subpoenas of local pastors who allegedly preached against homosexuality

Houston mayor Annise Parker held a press conference Wednesday to announce the city is dropping subpoenas against several local pastors who allegedly violated a local discrimination ordinance by preaching against homosexuality.

Parker, beset by the scandal that arose after news spread of her administration’s decision to subpoena pulpit speech, came full circle with the decision to withdraw the subpoenas Wednesday. She had pledged just last week to rework the phrasing of the subpoenas, in order not to offend the sensibilities of those who protested that they infringed on the constitutional right to free speech.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Parker remained defiant, even as she capitulated to her critics:

The move is in the best interest of Houston, she said, and is not an admission that the requests were in any way illegal or intended to intrude on religious liberties. The subpoenas were part of a discovery phase in a suit filed by opponents of the equal rights ordinance, who largely take issue with the rights the law extends to gay and transgender residents.

“I didn’t do this to satisfy them,” Parker said of critics. “I did it because it was not serving Houston.”

Obamacare causing insurance premiums to soar

A new study targeting a diversity of demographic groups has revealed a massive spike in across-the-board insurance premiums since the implementations of the Affordable Care Act – especially for those who previously enjoyed lower rates because they posed a lower risk burden to insurers.

The study, done by the price-shopping health insurance website HealthPocket and shared with select media outlets in advance of publication, focused on health coverage for both sexes among three distinct age groups – 23 year-olds, 30 year-olds and 63 year-olds – and found that the least damaging price spike still amounted to a whopping 22.7 percent increase (for 63 year-old men) and 37.5 percent increase (for 63 year-old women).

From there, it gets much worse. According to PR Newswire, the youngest group in the study is taking it on the chin:

Premiums in the pre-reform and Obamacare individual health insurance markets were examined for nonsmoking men and women ages 23, 30, and 63 to determine if premiums were affected differently based on age and sex. HealthPocket found that the average health insurance premium increased by double digits for each group examined though some groups saw a much steeper increase than others.

Democrats losing ground with key demographics

With the 2014 midterms just days away, Democrats appear to have alienated demographics that were key to the political victories that put their man in the White House two times, according to new polling data.

A survey released this week by the Institute of Politics at Harvard University suggests that so-called millennial voters, people ages 18 to 29, are “up for grabs” in next week’s elections.

According to the results, 51 percent of people in the key demographic would prefer a Congress controlled by the GOP compared to 47 percent who feel Democrats should hold the most legislative power.

The numbers represent a reversal from polling of the millennial generation prior to the midterm elections four years ago. Back then, young voters preferred Democratic control by a 55 percent to 43 percent margin.

“Millennials could be a critical swing vote. Candidates for office: ignore millennial voters at your peril,” said Harvard Institute of Politics Director Maggie Williams.

The newfound preference for Republican candidates is likely directly related to millennials’ souring view of President Obama, whose approval rating among the demographic is just 43 percent.

One czar to rule them all

Until the next medical professional goes for a post-Liberian visit bowl and beer, it’s likely that the hubbub over Ebola and President Barack Obama’s almost laughably confused handling thereof is in the rearview mirror. If you’re not already Ebola-positive, you probably won’t contract it — unless you do … maybe. Actually, if there’s one group of people who clearly has no idea whether you should worry about Ebola, that group would be Obama and his retinue. Among them is Ron Klain, assigned to the newly created post of Ebola response coordinator (aka Ebola czar). For all the qualifications Klain brings to the job of ostensibly leading the Obama regime’s counteroffensive against Ebola, he might as well be a used bedpan. It’s almost as if Obama simply tabbed the first person he saw after the people running his perpetual campaign told him he needed an Ebola czar.

Obama: “You, there!”

Klain: “Yes, Mr. President?”

Obama: “Do you have any sort of medical or crisis management training?”

Klain: “No, Mr. President.”

Obama: “Whatever. You’re my new Ebola czar. Valerie Jarrett here will see you’re fitted out with — um — whatever stuff an Ebola czar needs.”

Georgia poll workers force voter to doff his NRA Instructor baseball cap

When Bundy Cobb arrived at the courthouse in Douglas County, Georgia, to vote early, he was wearing the baseball cap he dons to advertise his firearms-training business, Aim True Defense. The cap bore the words “NRA Instructor,” which poll workers said was considered campaigning. They made him take off his cap.

Outraged, Cobb contacted Fox 5 in Atlanta. “It’s definitely not campaigning,” said Cobb, who is certified by the National Rifle Association in firearms training. “And it’s absolutely infringing on my rights to express myself. All this hat does is advertise that I’m an instructor for, certified by NRA and that’s all. It doesn’t endorse any candidate or anything else.”

Douglas County Board of Elections Supervisor Laurie Fulton admitted the NRA is not aligned with a particular candidate. “But,” she told Fox 5, “the courts have found that anything that suggests associated with the NRA in many people’s perceptions is associated with the Republican Party. So in an overabundance of caution, Mr. Cobb was asked to remove the hat so that no one could interpret that we were favored, playing any favoritism toward one party over the other.”

The Daily Caller reported that Cobb alerted the State Election Board, “which, he told TheDC, is investigating the case.”

The Pope’s Embrace Of Evolution Brings Us One Step Closer To A One World Religion

Pope Francis - Photo by Alfredo BorbaIf you wanted to create a religion that almost everyone would love, how would you do it?  Perhaps you would change your faith to make it more appealing to a modern world that is changing at blinding speed.  Perhaps you would indicate that you are willing to become more “mainstream” on hot button issues such as gay rights.  Perhaps you would invite leaders of other religions from all over the planet to come visit you and make it clear that you consider all of those religions to be valid as well.  And all of that “unscientific stuff” about God creating the world in six days and creating mankind out of the dust of the Earth?  Well, all of that is just going to have to be thrown out.  If all of this sounds vaguely familiar to you, that is because this is exactly what Pope Francis has been doing.

Poll shows Americans are furious

A new poll reports that 70 percent of Americans expressed outright anger at the direction the country is headed and 53 percent don’t think President Obama is doing his job satisfactorily.

According to the CNN/ORC poll:

  • 30 percent of Americans are “very angry” about the way things are going in the country.
  • 38 percent are “somewhat angry” about the way things are going in the country.

Just under a third of those polled expressed “no anger” at all.

According to CNN polling director Keating Holland, the number of “very angry” Americans is in line with the 2010 mood of the nation just before Republicans regained control of the House.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds similar sentiments among likely voters.

Via The Washington Post:

Six in 10 say they cannot trust the government in Washington to do what is right — the same as a year ago in the aftermath of the government shutdown and the botched rollout of the federal Web site for the Affordable Care Act.

Does This Look Like A Housing Recovery To You?

Homeownership Rate 2014We just learned that the homeownership rate in the United States has fallen to the lowest level in 19 years.  But of course this is not a new trend.  As you will see in this article, the homeownership rate in the United States has been in a continual decline for more than 7 years.  Obviously this is not a sign of a healthy economy.  Traditionally, homeownership has been one of the key indicators that you belong to the middle class.  When people define “the American Dream”, it is usually one of the first things mentioned.  So if the percentage of Americans that own a home has been steadily going down for 7 years in a row, what does that tell us about the health of the middle class in this country?

The chart that you are about to view is clear evidence that we are in the midst of a long-term economic decline.  It shows what has happened to the homeownership rate in the U.S. since the year 2000, and as you can see it has been collapsing since the peak of the housing market back in 2007.  Does this look like a housing recovery to you?…

Homeownership Rate 2014

Local police bring military vehicle to collect civil judgment against elderly resident

SCREENSHOT/Roger Hoeppner runs a pallet repair business.

Police officers in Stettin, Wisconsin, recently sent a militarized 24-man SWAT team and an armored vehicle to collect fines from a 75-year-old man whose property was deemed untidy by local officials.

Following what his lawyer, Ryan Lister, described as a “long-running, heavily litigated dispute” over how he used his 20-acre property, Roger Hoeppner was ordered to clean up his land or face a $500-a-day fine.

Here’s a little background on the case, courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Hoeppner owns about 20 acres along Packer Drive, which runs nearly parallel with Highway 29 west of Wausau, where he restores antique tractors and runs a pallet repair business. The latter at times featured giant piles of the wooden pallets visible from Packer Drive.

In 2008, the town sued Hoeppner over claimed violations of ordinances about zoning, signs, rubbish and vehicles. About a year later, the two sides settled; Hoeppner was supposed to clean up his property, and the town was supposed to open discussions about its zoning.

The town felt Hoeppner had not complied, and it brought a motion for contempt and enforcement. In September 2010, a judge ordered Hoeppner to remove certain items from his land.

Chicago activists say Democrats and abusive black leaders are African-Americans’ ‘real oppressors’

Earlier this month, a top Democratic pollster warned that politicians on the left ought to get busy energizing black voters or prepare for “crushing Democratic losses across the country” in the 2014 midterms and beyond. But if the message coming from a group of black activists in Chicago this week is any indication, Democrats have their work cut out for them.

“African-American surge voters came out in force in 2008 and 2012, but they are not well positioned to do so again in 2014,” Cornell Belcher, a former pollster for President Obama, wrote in the Oct. 1 memo. “In fact, over half aren’t even sure when the midterm elections are taking place.”

Belcher undoubtedly has a specific type of black voter in mind when he suggests that the left should be organizing in an effort to reach out to the “over half” of potential African-American surge voters who could potentially save Democrat asses in places like Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia, Louisiana and North Carolina.

We’re guessing (pure conjecture) he’s looking for folks like this:

Report: Post Office allowed law enforcement to scrutinize 50,000 pieces of mail last year

Electronic surveillance of digital communications is routinely in the headlines these days. But a report out this week from The New York Times reveals that Americans with privacy concerns should also be worried about government spying on old-fashioned snail mail.

According to reports, the U.S. Postal Service approved almost 50,000 requests from law enforcement agencies and its own mail-inspection wing to monitor Americans’ parcels for criminal investigations and national security concerns last year.

The information was obtained from the a 2014 audit conducted by the Postal Services inspector general, which Politico recently reported, as well as Freedom of Information requests filed by The Times.

Via a June Politico report:

The Office of Inspector General audit of so-called “mail covers” — orders to record addresses or copy the outside of all mail delivered to an individual or an address — found that about 20 percent of the orders implemented for outside law enforcement agencies were not properly approved, and 13 percent were either unjustified or not correctly documented.

Meanwhile, some of the safeguards set up to catch these shortcomings were missing: The Postal Service wasn’t regularly conducting the annual reviews required by federal rules.

Salt has a salty history

The Law of Moses required that all grain offerings be seasoned with salt. Leonardo da Vinci painted an overturned salt dish in front of Judas, which represented an ill omen for his traitorous act. The importance of salt originated not only from its nutritional value as a mineral source, but also from its usefulness in preserving foods for seasons when people would otherwise have starved.

Many societies have used salt as a form of currency. The expression “not worth his salt” comes from the practice of trading slaves for salt in Greece. For thousands of years, salt has been considered an irreplaceable component of the human diet.

But guess what? Government-sponsored salt-related research triggered in 1979, “Surgeon General’s Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention,” identified salt as a major factor in hypertensive conditions. Then another government study concluded that, in general, societies with higher salt intake will have higher average blood pressure.

And even more damning was a 1999 study that followed more than 20,000 Americans for 25 years. The results indicated that people who ate more salt had “32 percent more strokes, a whopping 89 percent more deaths from stroke, 44 percent more heart-attack deaths, and 39 percent more deaths from all causes.”