Tag Archives: New York

Obama issues dictatorial gun proclamation, executive orders

President Barack Obama today was seen signing 23 executive orders on gun control in front of a group of children ignorant about their rights (the orders have yet to be published on the White House website for us to properly ridicule, so we’ll ridicule the whole affair).

Here’s the relevant portion of the accompanying proclamation from WhiteHouse.gov:

Therefore, by the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby direct the following:

Section 1. Research. The Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary), through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other scientific agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services, shall conduct or sponsor research into the causes of gun violence and the ways to prevent it. The Secretary shall begin by identifying the most pressing research questions with the greatest potential public health impact, and by assessing existing public health interventions being implemented across the Nation to prevent gun violence.

Sec. 2. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Sec. 3. Publication. You are hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

His game of “Let’s play take away the guns from law-abiding Americans because a few assholes can’t act responsibly” has yet to be officially recognized by anyone with half a brain. Millions of Americans continue to wave loaded AR-15s and handguns with high-capacity lips and a copy of the Constitution in defiance of the latest effort to destroy liberties.

However, many are now anxious about how the government will try to enforce such ludicrous orders and bans being swiftly implemented (with New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s legislation being called “draconian” by the NRA). The flurry of legislation and imperial decrees now contrast to gun sales have hitting astronomical rates since 2008, and exploding in November/December of 2012.

One way in which Obama is flexing unConstitutional executive powers has been to direct doctors and mental health professionals to ask patients whether they own guns (and how many).

The answer to that line of questioning is obvious to liberty-lovers: NONE OF YOUR DAMNED BUSINESS.

UPDATE: Interesting statistic of the day: the DEA has a budget of $2.415 billion (2010) and employs 10,784 (2009), while the BATF has a budget of $1.12 billion (2010) and employs 4,559 (2006). Obama has just budgeted another $500 million for gun control activities.

The War on Drugs has been an epic failure even though it has twice as many federal enforcers and funding. Does anyone seriously doubt the latest “War on Guns” will be any different?

UPDATE II: Scratch that previous update number, the apparent amount being budgeted for the attempt at a gun controlling police state is over $4.5 billion. The biggest expenditure is $4 billion “to help keep 15,000 cops on the streets in cities and towns across the country.”

That’s just over $260 thousand dollars per cop.

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Federal court rules flipping off cops constitutional

Huffington Post reports:

A police officer can’t pull you over and arrest you just because you gave him the finger, a federal appeals court declared Thursday.

In a 14-page opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that the “ancient gesture of insult is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity.”

John Swartz and his wife Judy Mayton-Swartz had sued two police officers who arrested Swartz in May 2006 after he flipped off an officer who was using a radar device at an intersection in St. Johnsville, N.Y. Swartz was later charged with a violation of New York’s disorderly conduct statute, but the charges were dismissed on speedy trial grounds.

A federal judge in the Northern District of New York granted summary judgement to the officers in July 2011, but the Court of Appeals on Thursday erased that decision and ordered the lower court to take up the case again.

Richard Insogna, the officer who stopped Swartz and his wife when they arrived at their destination, claimed he pulled the couple over because he believed Swartz was “trying to get my attention for some reason.” The appeals court didn’t buy that explanation, ruling that the “nearly universal recognition that this gesture is an insult deprives such an interpretation of reasonableness.”

If you’re planning on displaying your denunciation digit with your local boys in blue, you’ll definitely want to download and print out the full ruling (PDF).

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Post-Sandy price gouging laws and gas shortages

Yesterday, Matthew Iglesias at Slate warned us that many people living in states suffering from the freak storm Hurricane Sandy will find themselves in dire shortages as the free market gets tangled with price gouging laws:

Even in these polarized times, there are some things politicians of both parties can agree. Price gouging, for example, is wrong. New York Attorney General Eric Scheiderman, a Democrat, wants you to know it. But this isn’t just for soft-hearted liberals. New Jersey’s notoriously tough conservative governor, Chris Christie, also put out a weekend press release warning that “price gouging during a state of emergency is illegal” and that complaints would be investigated by the attorney general. Specifically, Garden State merchants are barred from raising prices more than 10 percent over their normal level during emergency conditions (New York’s anti-gouging law sets a less precise definition, barring “unconscionably extreme” increases).

The bipartisan indignation is heartening, but there’s one problem. These laws are hideously misguided. Stopping price hikes during disasters may sound like a way to help people, but all it does is exacerbate shortages and complicate preparedness.

The basic imperative to allocate goods efficiently doesn’t vanish in a storm or other crisis. If anything, it becomes more important. And price controls in an emergency have the same results as they do any other time: They lead to shortages and overconsumption. Letting merchants raise prices if they think customers will be willing to pay more isn’t a concession to greed. Rather, it creates much-needed incentives for people to think harder about what they really need and appropriately rewards vendors who manage their inventories well.

Today, gasoline is in short demand as retailers who were able to stay open are prohibited from adjusting prices in the face of inflated demand:

Drivers and homeowners scrambled to secure fuel for their cars and generators in the U.S. Northeast on Wednesday as storm-hit gasoline stations started to run dry.

More than half of all gasoline service stations in the New York City area and New Jersey were shut because of depleted fuel supplies and power outages, frustrating attempts to restore normal life, industry officials said.

Reports of long lines, dark stations and empty tanks circulated across the region. Some station owners were unable to pump fuel due to a lack of power, while others quickly ran their tanks dry because of increased demand and logistical problems in delivering fresh supplies.

Being able to adjust prices to reflect market conditions isn’t price gouging, it’s good economic sense.

As economist Art Carden eloquently wrote in 2011, “[I]n post-disaster situations rising prices perform vital economic triage by showing which uses of resources are now high-value and which uses of resources are now low-value.”

“A disaster means a big shock both to what people want and to the resources available to fulfill those wants. Freely-moving prices make sure resources are allocated to their highest-valued uses, and rising prices send people a very important signal: resources have gotten scarcer and need to be conserved. If houses are destroyed by a tornado, rising lumber prices tell someone in an unaffected area to think twice about building a new deck because the lumber is probably more valuable rebuilding houses. Rising gas prices tell people to think twice about burning scarce gas for a Sunday drive in the country. And so on.”

In other words, temporarily higher prices would encourage those not directly involved in cleanup to stay home and out of the way until the economy stabilizes.

But with price gouging laws, your desire to drive around looking at a storm’s destruction is just as valid as the crews who are working to clean it up, and makes the overall economic situation that much more painful, for a longer period.

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