Patterico's Pontifications

1/5/2013

Obama: No Spending Cuts That Hurt My Ability to Piss Away Money on Pet Projects, But Hey, How’s About Some More Taxes in the Form of Eliminating Deductions?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:23 pm

What a raging &^(%*^&:

“Our economy can’t afford more protracted showdowns or manufactured crises,” Obama warned in his weekly address, adding that “the messy brinksmanship in Congress made business owners more uncertain and consumers less confident.”

The president said he was open to seeking spending cuts generally as part of an effort to reduce the country’s deficit, but he stressed that such reductions can be made “without shortchanging things like education, job training, research and technology all which are critical to our prosperity in a 21st century economy.”

“Spending cuts must be balanced with more reforms to our tax code,” he said. “The wealthiest individuals and the biggest corporations shouldn’t be able to take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren’t available to most Americans.”

What, because they’re not paying taxes to begin with?

We already had the “tax rich people” part of the “balanced” approach. It’s now time for you to step up and be the leader you pretend to be and permit some real spending reform, so my children can have a future.

Oh, it’s pointless. You know what? I’ve been trying to write these posts without engaging in profanities, but [a team of skilled reputation management people now rush in and pry Patterico's fingers from the keyboard before he says something he can't take back].

End of the Week Links

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:16 pm

Clearing out some links that have been sitting open on my laptop:

There are a few people more entertaining than Ace of Spades when he gets going on one of his truly inspired rants. This one is worth reading all the way through, but I’ll tease you with the end:

This is a dangerous moment. I keep saying this, but I do think Tyranny is in the air. When the press decides that our Dear Leaders are above suspicion, and any suspicion is evidence of both mental illness and treason simultaneously, we’re living on the cusp of Chavez-like times.

Dear Self-Proclaimed Rationalists/Empiricists,

You’re doing it wrong. Please note this for your records.

Respectfully,

People Who Would Like To Know What’s In the Kool-Aid,
Before We Drink It,
If That’s Quite All Right By You

Another thing I liked about Ace’s piece is that it reminded me of this excellent year-end takedown of fact-checking pieces. I think the “fact-checkers” are some of the most dangerous enemies of freedom we have these days, because they don’t care about the facts, but they are treated as if they do because they declare it to be so. As Ace reminds us, in these fact checking pieces, “true claims made by Republicans are deemed false, because the liberal ‘fact’ checkers don’t like the implications made, and [] false claims made by Democrats (especially Obama) are deemed ‘true,’ because, well. Let them explain.”

Continuing down the list: it’s another crazy White House petition, this time asking the White House to “authorize the production of a recurring television program featuring Vice President Joe Biden.” Because there aren’t enough buffoons in prime time TV. Anyway, this is apparently the pilot episode, titled “Spread Your Legs, You’re Gonna Get Frisked”:

Finally, we have Nancy Pelosi altering a photo to show more women Congresscritters in it:

A few years ago, the Newseum hosted a terrific exhibit called “The Commissar Vanishes,” which chronicled Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s editing of official photos to eliminate Communist officials who had fallen out of favor with the mercurial tyrant.

The technology has advanced — we have Photoshop now, after all — but politicians still see a need to alter history.

That brings us to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The Democratic leader found herself on the defensive today in response to charges that she altered a photo … to add four lawmakers who weren’t there.

The missing lawmakers — who arrived late for the photo — included Houston Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida. The doctored photo included the four absent representatives as a fictional top row of the photo.

Make no mistake: she would do the same thing with votes if she thought she could get away with it.

L.A. Times Cites Claim by Pro-Gun Control Group As If It Came From Some Neutral “Policy Center” on Guns

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 11:53 am

The L.A. Times has a piece titled Tough gun control laws linked to lower death rates. The piece touts the findings from a “San Francisco-based policy center on gun control laws”:

A San Francisco-based policy center on gun control laws has produced a report that says states with strict gun laws have the lowest gun-related death rates. In contrast, it reports, states with the highest per capita gun death rates have “weak” gun laws.

The study by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence is touted by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) as support for his own legislation tightening California’s current assault weapon ban. The bill, SB47, would prohibit semiautomatic weapons from having devices that allow them to carry high-capacity magazines or easily be reloaded with multiple rounds of ammunition. A similar version of the bill failed to pass in 2012.

I found this a rather eye-opening claim, since it’s pretty well accepted that gun control laws are not proven to work, and that gun violence tends to be higher in places with stricter gun control laws. As this piece at the Daily Caller explains:

The main problem with gun-control laws is that they don’t work. Florida State University criminology professor Gary Kleck, a political liberal and one-time supporter of gun-control laws, has been studying guns and their effect on violence and crime since 1976. What he’s found is that gun-control laws have no net effect on violence or crime rates, because the benefits of widespread gun ownership cancel out the costs.

Indeed.

Which made me curious about this “San Francisco-based policy center on gun control laws.” Just who are these people, and why do we care about their claims as to the efficacy of gun control laws? The L.A. Times piece repeatedly refers to the the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence as “the law center”:

“It is a fact that strong gun laws work and weak laws result in the loss of innocent lives,” Yee said.

Yee notes that the law center cited low per-capita gun death rates in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — states that the law center identified as having some of the toughest gun laws in the country.

He failed to mention the law center also included California on its list of states with the strongest gun control laws and lowest gun-releated deaths. The center declares California has the toughest gun control laws in the nation and gives the state an “A minus” on its report card, a designation shared only with New Jersey and Massachussetts.

The highest per-capita gun death rates were in Alaska, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi — states that the law center said have weak gun control laws.

The center was formed by Bay area lawyers in 1993 following an assault weapon rampage at a San Francisco law office that ended with 10 people dead and six wounded.

One thing that is not mentioned: whether this “law center” or “San Francisco-based policy center on gun control laws” has a point of view. Is it fair to assume that an organization whose title is about preventing gun violence is necessarily pro gun control? I don’t think it is. I am all in favor or preventing gun violence, but I am not a fan of gun control for law-abiding citizens.

Without a clear statement that this is a pro gun control group, the reader is left with the notion that, perhaps, this “law center” is simply devoted to doing research, and following the facts wherever they lead.

Yeah, not quite.

I’ll do the work the L.A. Times refuses to do.

The web site for the “law center” is at http://smartgunlaws.org/. Here is their logo:

Here is their about page.

Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (formerly Legal Community Against Violence) is the only national law center focused on providing comprehensive legal expertise in support of gun violence prevention and the promotion of smart gun laws that save lives.

Under the heading “What We Do” there is this passage:

Accessible, accurate, online information – We provide extensive, in-depth summaries of federal, state, and local firearm laws and policies. The most comprehensive resource for information on U.S. firearms regulation, we supply the foremost information and analysis on the Second Amendment, as well as detailed statistics, study findings, and polling in support of strong gun regulation.

They also boast about influencing the media:

Media – Journalists trust us to supply them the legal background on gun policy issues and the legal aspects of the gun policy debate. In turn, we inject legal expertise into the media’s coverage of public policy debates concerning gun violence. Using interviews, op-eds and press releases, we contribute the legal perspective, emphasizing that effective gun laws enhance public safety.

If you’re starting to get the idea that they’re in favor of gun laws, you have demonstrated a keen ability to pick up on subtle clues.

This is certainly the organization to which we should all turn for unbiased information about whether gun control laws work. And hey, let’s not call them a “gun control advocacy group.” Let’s just call them a “policy center” or a “law center,” to make them sound neutral. After all, just because they say they’re for gun control doesn’t necessarily mean they have a point of view that makes them biased, right?

My dear Watson, the game’s afoot! because there’s more.

How does this “law center” feel about the Second Amendment and the Heller decision? Why, they believe that Heller was a “radical shift” in interpreting the Second Amendment:

Second Amendment litigation has become a critical battleground since the U.S. Supreme Court held, in District of Columbia v. Heller, that the Amendment guarantees an individual right to possess a firearm in the home for self-defense. This decision created a radical shift in the meaning of the Second Amendment, but it doesn’t prevent smart gun regulations. In fact, since Heller, courts nationwide have found a wide variety of firearms laws constitutional because they can help prevent gun deaths, injuries, and crimes in communities across the country.

A related page re-emphasizes the organization’s view that Heller was “unquestionably a radical decision.” Another related page describes Heller as a “radical departure from longstanding Second Amendment case law,” and tells the reader about the organization’s view of its role vis-a-vis the Second Amendment:

As the nation’s only organization devoted exclusively to providing legal assistance in support of gun violence prevention, LCAV is actively involved in supporting state and local governments’ defense of Second Amendment litigation, educating courts, governments, and the public about the meaning of the Second Amendment, and developing common sense gun violence prevention legislation that complies with the Heller decision.

And then there’s the page on studies, which is what initially brought me to the web site. Here is the page. And here is the smoking gun (thank you for noticing!) that shows that this organization’s view of control laws is not news:

Do gun laws work?

Many types of gun laws are effective at reducing gun deaths and injuries, keeping guns away from criminals and other prohibited people, and fighting illegal gun trafficking. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence tracks important studies proving that smart laws can and do work to prevent gun violence. Our publications offer in-depth analysis of significant trends in firearms laws and policies nationwide.

So, you track studies showing that gun control laws work.

What about the studies that show they don’t?

See, even a pro gun control group could, in theory, decide to cover all studies regardless of which way they come out. But they just told you that they don’t do that. They cover studies that go their way. Period.

So basically, the L.A. Times is reporting that a pro gun control group believes gun control works. Whoop de do. But they make it sound like news — because they don’t tell you that the group is a pro gun control group.

This is dishonest. It’s why conservatives increasingly see news media outlets like this as propaganda organs.

As I said in my piece on New Year’s Resolutions, if you subscribe to the Los Angeles Times, you are subsidizing this kind of disinformation. If you subscribe to Patterico, or buy from the Amazon widget in the sidebar, you are participating in the correction of disinformation. Which do you want to support? Information or disinformation? The choice is yours. It’s also pretty obvious.

Stop giving these people money. Cancel your subscription to the L.A. Times today. It’s never too late.


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