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This tag is associated with 111 posts

Florida Got It Backward

TWICE!

(from Wirecutter)

Florida arms tax collectors

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- “A Central Florida tax collector says a new policy will allow his employees to openly carry firearms while they work,” The Associated Press reports. “Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg told the Orlando Sentinel that according to Florida law, he and his employees are considered ‘revenue officers’ and are exempt from the state’s ban on the open carrying of firearms while performing their duties.”

The rationale behind the move is to save taxpayers money by eliminating the need to hire private security.

“Tax collector Joel Greenberg says he is a ‘big believer in the Second Amendment,’” letter to the editor writer Gordon Crawford points out in the Orlando Sentinel. “If that is truly the case, he would know that this constitutional amendment was put in place to protect the public from government tyranny, not to arm the government.”
MORE
-JD

Not to mention, just this past week, a Floridian judge backed-off of the State’s Stand Your Ground Law.

We must remain vigilant, People!  ‘They’ aren’t done yet.

They should understand, neither are we.

But, The Gov’t SHOULD Support The Arts, Right?

(from FNC)

Feds Spend $20,000 on Musical About Illegal Immigrant Lesbian

Via Billy

Socialist theater group has received $461,000 from

the NEA

The National Endowment for the Arts is spending $20,000 for a musical about a lesbian illegal immigrant who is in love with an ICE agent.

The San Francisco Mime Troupe, a self-described socialist theater group, received the funding in the first round of grants awarded under the Trump administration. Jane Chu is the current chairman of the NEA, who was appointed by former president Barack Obama in 2014.

The musical is entitled “WALLS!” and stars a “bad hombre,” mocking a phrase used by Trump to describe criminal illegal aliens during a presidential debate.

Our tax dollars at work!
I do wonder if the uproar would be the same if they were portrayed as a heterosexual couple, though…
Regardless, I do understand this is a drop in the bucket, compared to FISA funding to continue to spy on law-abiding Americans, and military spending.
(Or rather, I assume so, as most intelligence funding is clouded in secrecy.)

About The Raising Of The Minimum Wage…

Here’s what that bastion of liberal thought, Harvard University, has to say about it:

(from the Daily Wire)

Harvard Study: Minimum Wage Hikes Killing Businesses

Erik Mcgregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty ImagesA rally in New York City for hiking the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Feb 13, 2017.

A new Harvard Business School study found that minimum wage hikes lead to closures of small businesses. “We find suggestive evidence that an increase in the minimum wage leads to an overall increase in the rate of exit,” the researchers conclude.

The study, titled Survival of the Fittest: The Impact of the Minimum Wage on Firm Exit, looks at “the impact of the minimum wage on restaurant closures using data from the San Francisco Bay Area” from 2008-2016.

Researchers Dara Lee Luca and Michael Luca chose the Bay Area due to their frequent minimum wage hikes in recent years. “In the San Francisco Bay Area alone, there have been twenty-one local minimum wage changes over the past decade,” they write.

The Lucas found that lower-quality restaurants (indicated by Yelp scores) were disproportionately affected by wage hikes, increasing their likelihood of closure relative to higher-quality, established restaurants.

“The evidence suggests that higher minimum wages increase overall exit rates for restaurants. However, lower quality restaurants, which are already closer to the margin of exit, are disproportionately impacted by increases to the minimum wage,” says the study. “Our point estimates suggest that a one dollar increase in the minimum wage leads to a 14 percent increase in the likelihood of exit for a 3.5-star restaurant (which is the median rating), but has no discernible impact for a 5-star restaurant (on a 1 to 5 star scale).”

While “firm exit” was the focus of the study, the researchers also noted that there are often other consequences from wage hikes, such as worker layoffs, increased pricing and hour-cuts for existing workers:

While some studies find no detrimental effects on employment (Card and Krueger 1994, 1998; Dube, Lester & Reich, 2010), others show that higher minimum wage reduces employment, especially among low-skilled workers (see Neumark & Wascher, 2007 for a review). However, even studies that identify negative impacts find fairly modest effects overall, suggesting that firms adjust to higher labor costs in other ways. For example, several studies have documented price increases as a response to the minimum wage hikes (Aaronson, 2001; Aaronson, French, & MacDonald, 2008; Allegretto & Reich, 2016). Horton (2017) find that firms reduce employment at the intensive margin rather than on the extensive margin, choosing to cut employees hours rather than counts.

Such findings were backed up by Garret/Galland Research’s Stephen McBride, who highlighted in March the “minimum wage massacre.”

“Currently, rising labor costs are causing margins in the sector to plummet. Those with the ability to automate like McDonalds are doing so… and those who don’t are closing their doors. In September 2016, one-quarter of restaurant closures in the California Bay Area cited rising labor costs as one of the reasons for closing,” McBride wrote in Forbes. 

“While wage increases put more money in the pocket of some, others are bearing the costs by having their hours reduced and being made part-time,” he added.

As noted by Red Alert Politics, the Bay Area is headed for a $15 minimum wage in July of 2018, though they’ve already seen over 60 restaurants close since September.

While it would behoove the Bernie Bros picketing for $15 an hour to take a look at this study, it’s entirely unlikely that such evidence would deter their entitled attitudes.

I posted regarding this phenomena before, but I obviously don’t have the gravitas of Harvard (nor, apparently the other sources I borrowed stole from!)

It’s basic economics – businesses expect X dollar profit to be profitable – having the gov’t mandate paying their employees more money lessens profit.  Something has to give.

We’re seeing many more kiosks on restaurant tables and counters these days.

They cost less.

Q.E.D.

“Come With Me If You Want To Live!”

Harvard ‘Shock’ Study: Each $1 Minimum Wage Hike Causes 4-10% Increase In Restaurant Failures

When I was making minimum wage, I changed jobs when I saw I couldn’t make rent and eat on that income.  This was in the 70s, when I began making $1.60 an hour, and moved up to $2.10…

 

IRS Wrongfully Seized Millions Of Dollars From Innocent Americans

irs

“The rights of some individuals and businesses were compromised,” the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGA) said of a bungled Internal Revenue Service effort to “dismantle criminal enterprises.”

Citing regulations under the Bank Secrecy Act, which requires reporting of bank transactions in excess of $10,000, IRS agents seized $17.1 million from Americans they believed were involved in criminal activity.

Just one problem…

According to a recent report from TIGA, agents were wrong 91 percent of the time based on investigations of 278 of the seizures conducted by the watchdog.

“Most people impacted by the program did not appear to be criminal enterprises engaged in other alleged illegal activity,” TIGTA said in a statement. “The report also concludes that the rights of some individuals and businesses were compromised in these investigations.”

Agents, it turns out, were simply seizing the funds of individuals they suspected of “structuring” deposits in amounts less than $10,000 without bothering to conduct proper investigations.

“In most instances, interviews with the property owners were conducted after the seizure to determine the reason for the pattern of banking transactions and if the property owner had knowledge of the banking law and had intent to structure,” the report said.

Individuals and businesses affected by the overreach often faced major financial difficulty as a result of the government ineptitude.

On top of that, they were forced to work with often unhelpful IRS officials in efforts to retrieve the wrongfully seized money.

“When property owners were interviewed after the seizure, agents did not always identify themselves properly, did not explain the purpose of the interviews, did not advise property owners of any rights they might have, and told property owners they had committed a crime at the conclusion of the interviews,” TIGA reported.

The Institute for Justice, in a 2015 report, provided a prime example of how the IRS abuses negatively affected the agency’s targets:

Lyndon McLellan runs a convenience store in Fairmont, N.C., and has done so without incident for more than a decade. All that changed in 2014, when the Internal Revenue Service used civil forfeiture to seize McLellan’s entire $107,000 bank account. He did not stand accused of selling drugs or even of cheating on his taxes; in fact, he was not charged with any crime at all. Rather, the IRS claimed that he had been “structuring” his deposits — that is, breaking them into amounts of less than $10,000 to evade federal reporting requirements for large transactions. McLellan, like most people, did not even know what “structuring” was, let alone that it was illegal. His niece, who handles the deposits, had been advised by a bank teller that smaller deposits meant less paperwork for the bank, so she kept deposits small.

The government finally returned McLellan’s funds after a legal battle and public outcry, but the small-business owner was still forced to wait nearly two years before the government compensated the thousands he spent battling the wrongful seizure in court.

h/t Personal Liberty

Am I angry?  Of course!

Am I surprised?  NO…

 

How The Bad Guys Get Guns

(from TFB, in part)

Over 100 Ruger Pistols Stolen From Chicago Train Yard

It appears that over 100 Ruger pistols were stolen from a Chicago train yard by gangs in a one-time heist. Apparently, this is becoming a large problem in a city that prides itself on its strict gun control measures with over 150 firearms reported stolen from Chicago train yards since 2013. City leadership seems rather clueless about the root cause of the problem, one alderwomen was quoted as saying “How in the world are these kids getting these guns? I see them on Facebook. Everybody got guns. They can’t go purchase a gun, so where are they getting them from?”

It appears that train cars containing firearms are being specifically targeted somehow and is being looked into by the Chicago Police Department. The only way a firearm can be shipped by rail is through the United States Postal Service, most likely by Federal Firearms License holders due to shipping regulations.

You can read more about the theft over at the Fox News website where they covered it in much greater detail (with a political slant as you might imagine.) Even though the story smacks of political overtones, it is interesting to see what happens when a larger problem goes unnoticed while blaming the tool for actions.

Obviously, ‘they’ are ignoring the fact that they are purchasing guns through FFL-licensed dealers (after they obtain their Illinois FOIA card), and that the only way to curtail these purchases is further, more intrusive background checks!/(snark)MAROONS!

Hooray For Socialism!

(joke, or sarcasm, depending on your mood)

(from my friend Joel @ TUAK)

And the sign over the bread line read, “Honk if you love Socialism…”

…but there were no cars, because there was no fuel.

Venezuela has a bread shortage. The government has decided bakers are the problem.

In a press release, the National Superintendent for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights[*] said it had charged four people and temporarily seized two bakeries as the socialist administration accused bakers of being part of a broad “economic war” aimed at destabilizing the country.

Yup. The honchos in the Venezuelan government were embarrassed by bread lines. So, in a brilliant example of historical illiteracy – dovetailing nice with their economic illiteracy – they arrested a bunch of bakers.

Yeah. We need more government controls here.

Also I’m reminded I need to buy more flour when I’m in the big town next week…
100_1645


*Dig this: The National Superintendent for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights is apparently responsible for arresting people who get caught exercising what, in a sane society, would be their socioeconomic rights. Must be socialism.

AH!  Government at it’s best!  I would have said ‘at HER best’, but that would be insulting all femininity.

The Return Of BUREAUCRATIZILLA!

I’ve posted about the bane of my existence – BUREAUCRATIZILLA9 times previously!  And, they’ve not picked up the hint!

Not coincidentally, in today’s quote:

“Millions are fascinated by the plan to transform the whole world into a bureau, to make everybody a bureaucrat, and to wipe out any private initiative. The paradise of the future is visualized as an all-embracing bureaucratic apparatus. . . . Streams of blood have been shed for the realization of this ideal.” – Ludwig von Mises

(Please, let me preface this to state my roommate and I are barely scraping by.  Me on my disability benefits, her on survivor’s benefits.  She can work some, when her infirmities allow.  NO, this is NOT a bleg!  –  Guffaw)

Last week, my roommate received a letter regarding her Survivor’s Benefits from The Social Security Administration.  In short, because she reached a certain age, and changed her supplemental insurance, they decided to deduct previously gov’t paid insurance premiums for two months (essentially cutting her modest benefit in HALF!) then begin repaying her the Survivor’s Benefit (at a lower rate!) the third month.  She only began receiving her Survivor’s Benefit last year, and could have been receiving it for the previous three years, but did not know it was available.

And this, just when she has been working less due to illness (she is a contract employee), and is preparing to have surgery next month!

It couldn’t have come at a worse time…

BUT, there was a mention on the Social Security letter of an appeal process.  As NO ONE was reachable by phone without an extension(!), we had to go into the Social Security satellite office, take a number, and wait about 20 minutes to get the required appeal form.  (After disarming, of course!)

Easy peasy, right?

WRONG.

The surprisingly helpful Social Security employee reviewed the letter, and advised us that the appeal needed to be made with the Arizona Department of Economic Security, not Social Security!!  It was Medicare who became aware of the insurance change, and notified AZDES, who contacted Social Security to send the letter(?!)

He provided us with the number to call.  And as it was late Friday afternoon, the call would have to be the NEXT BUSINESS DAY.  AFTER PRESIDENT’S DAY.

Next Tuesday!

BUREAUCRATIZILLA, MUCH?!

People ask me why I distrust government.  The above is a prime example.  First, they provide you with a benefit.  Then, after you become accustomed to it, they screw with it, and take part of it away.

“The government strong enough to give you what you want is strong enough to take it all away.” – Barry Goldwater

Border Patrol Alters Stats to Hide Release of Criminal Aliens, High Recidivism

(from Judicial Watch, in part)

Border Patrol Alters Stats to Hide Release of Criminal Aliens, High Recidivism

The U.S. Border Patrol alters statistics involving the apprehension of criminal illegal immigrants to conceal that thousands are being released, a new federal audit reveals. The frontline Homeland Security agency charged with preventing terrorists and weapons—including those of mass destruction—from entering the country also skews figures to drastically deflate the high recidivism rate of aliens caught entering the U.S.

The distressing details of this crucial agency’s crafty record-keeping practices are outlined in a scathing report issued this month by the investigative arm of Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The probe focuses on a Border Patrol system developed to address a smuggling crisis along the southwest border. It’s officially known as Consequence Delivery System (CDS) and is used to identify the most effective and efficient consequences to deter illegal cross border activity in each of the agency’s sectors. For the system to work, the Border Patrol must report accurate information involving illegal aliens who are apprehended.

Instead, it appears that federal agents on the ground are being ordered to fudge the numbers as part of a broader Obama administration effort to protect illegal immigrants and falsely portray the Mexican border as safe. The GAO report suggests that Border Patrol headquarters directed agents to misclassify criminal illegal aliens, presumably to hide the fact that they were being released instead of prosecuted. Officials interviewed as part of the probe “said that agents received oral direction from headquarters to reclassify criminal aliens who cannot be given a consequence of federal prosecution, and that written data integrity guidance to sectors did not include activities for checking the accuracy of alien classifications,” the GAO report states.

The misclassification of apprehended illegal immigrants resulted in nearly 4,000 criminal aliens being returned to their home country rather than prosecuted between 2013 and 2015, the GAO found. After analyzing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data, congressional investigators determined that an astounding 94% (109,080) of the 116,409 aliens given a consequence of warrant or notice to appear still had an open case and “may remain in the United States.” Thousands more escaped criminal prosecution because they were not properly classified. “Specifically, of the approximate 15,000 apprehensions of criminal aliens who were not classified according to CDS guidance between fiscal years 2013 and 2015, 8 percent were recommended for criminal prosecution (3,912 apprehensions) compared to 47 percent of all criminal aliens during that timeframe,” the GAO writes.

In some cases, Department of Justice (DOJ) restrictions limit the number of illegal aliens that can be referred for prosecution, the report says. This leaves agents in a bind and hesitant to apply consequences that require referral to federal partners. Here’s an example: “Rio Grande Valley sector officials said that while agents apprehended over 129,000 aliens in fiscal year 2015, the sector can only refer about 40 immigration-related cases each day to the corresponding USAO District (Southern District of Texas) for prosecution. Once this daily limit is reached, agents must apply an alternative consequence that is not the Most Effective and Efficient as defined by the CDS guide.”

Recidivism numbers are kept down by using an unscrupulous system that only classifies an apprehended illegal alien as recidivist if he or she had been previously caught within a fiscal year. The system doesn’t account for immigrants with no record of removal after apprehension and who may have remained in the United States without the opportunity to recidivate. The Border Patrol guidance also states that a first-time apprehension classification may be used on an alien that has been apprehended by another agency. Congressional investigators determined that the Border Patrol system slashed recidivism numbers in half. In one outrageous case cited in the report an “alien apprehended 54 times in the Rio Grande Valley sector between October 2012 and May 2015 was classified as a First Time Apprehension 6 times.”

Two of my ‘spies’ in FEDGOV tell me that President Trump requested letters of resignation from all department heads, so he could then choose which to accept.  The FIRST he accepted was the head of the Border Patrol.

The Border Patrol has been, in varying degrees, hamstrung for the past eight years.  Essentially, get paid but don’t do your job!

Reportedly, for the first time in it’s history, The Border Patrol (union) openly supported a presidential candidate.

Reports of wild cheering and dancing along the border once the election had been completed were unconfirmed.

Attention ARIZONANS, Part Dos

(from the Arizona Citizens Defense League, in part)


Committee Hearings Scheduled

The following pro-rights firearms bills are scheduled for committee hearings in the coming week.  Details about these and other bills can be found at AzCDL’s Bill Tracking page.

HB 2318, which would require a conviction of a crime before a concealed weapons permit can be revoked, is scheduled for a hearing in the House Judiciary and Public Safety committee on Wednesday, February 1.

SB 1243, the AzCDL-requested bill that would exempt CCW permit holders from disarming in public (state and local government controlled) buildings or events that do not screen everyone entering for weapons, is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Government committee on Wednesday, February 1.

To voice your support for these bills:

  • Visit the AZ Legislature Applications page.
  • Click on the “Request to Speak” icon to log in to the system.
  • Once you have signed on, click on the “New Request” icon on the left side of the page.
  • A new window will open up.In the “Search Phrase” line, enter the bill number (e.g., 2318) and click on the blue “Search” button.It is not necessary to add HB or SB before the bill number.
  • Your search results will appear below the “Search” button.
  • Click on the blue “Add Request” button on the right side of your search results to bring up your voting page.
  • Click on the “For” (thumbs up) button.
  • Unless you will be testifying at the hearing, always answer “No” to the “Do you wish to speak?” question.
  • After voting, click on the blue “Submit” button.
  • You’ll need to click on the “New Request” icon to start the process for the next bill.

If you are a current AzCDL member and do not have an RTS account, please contact Fred (treasurer@azcdl.org) for assistance in setting up an account.

Good Bills Progressing

This past week, thanks to your activism, the following bills passed out of their respective committees.

HB 2117, which would strengthen the rights of state militia members, passed out of the House Federalism, Property Rights and Public Policy (FPRPP) committee hearing on Tuesday, January 24.

HB 2216, which would make it illegal to track firearms or their owners via electronic systems, databases, etc., passed out of the House Judiciary and Public Safety committee hearing on Wednesday, January 25.

HB 2287, which would change the language regarding the culpable mental state required to prove a person unlawfully discharged a firearm, also passed out of the House Judiciary and Public Safety committee hearing on Wednesday, January 25.

These bills will need a House Rules committee hearing before they can be debated in the House Committee of the Whole (COW).  When bills are scheduled for COW hearings we will prepare emails for you to send to your legislators via our Legislative Action Center.

Committee hearings continue to be a priority in the coming weeks.  The deadline for bills to be heard in committees in the originating chamber (House or Senate) is Friday, February 17, just a few weeks away.

As important bills are scheduled for committee hearings and floor votes we will notify you via these alerts.  It only takes a few mouse clicks to make a big difference.

Stay tuned!


These alerts are a project of the Arizona Citizens Defense League (AzCDL), an all-volunteer, non-profit, non-partisan grassroots organization.

 

Attention ARIZONANS!

And anyone else who legally shoots here…

remote-axd

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released for public comment a plan that will determine what lands within the Sonoran Desert National Monument (SDNM) will be closed to target shooting. Currently, the nearly 500,000-acre SDNM is open to target shooting, with the exception of 10,599 acres temporarily closed by a court order in a lawsuit filed against an earlier BLM plan that would have kept the entire SDNM open to shooting.  The lands closed are on the north side of the SDNM along the El Paso Natural Gas Pipeline right-of-way that parallels BLM Road 8000. It also extends along both sides of BLM Road 8001, adjacent to the wilderness boundary, before terminating at BLM Road 8006.  The court order also requires the BLM to complete the management plan by September 2017.

The draft plan presents five alternatives as follows:

Alternative A – the “no action” alternative continues the 1988 Lower Gila South Resource Management Plan without change, which means that target shooting would be allowed anywhere within the SDNM.

Alternative B – the court order closure would become permanent, affecting 10,599 acres or 2.1 % of the SDNM.

Alternative C – the BLM’s preferred alternative would allow target shooting in the Desert Back Country Recreation Management Zone only and partially lift the court order closure as addressed in Alternative B.  The effect is that 54,817 acres or 11% of the SDNM would be closed to target shooting.

Alternative D – target shooting would not be allowed in designated wilderness, lands managed to protect wilderness characteristics, and the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail Recreation Management Zone, which would close 320,317 acres or 66% of the SDNM to target shooting.

Alternative E – the SDNM would be entirely closed to target shooting.

The plan with its five alternatives can be found at http://1.usa.gov/1ZPyFSA.  The public has 90 days or until March 15th to submit comments and comments may be emailed to blm_az_sdnmtargetshooting@blm.gov or faxed to 623-580-5580.

The BLM has already held three public meetings and due to the high level of interest two more hearings have been scheduled as follows:

February 11 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Cooper Sky Recreation Center located at 44342 W Martin Luther King Blvd., Maricopa.

February 21 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Burton Barr Central Library located at 1221 N Central Ave., Phoenix.

During the first 30 minutes of each meeting, the BLM will provide opening remarks describing the ground rules and will proceed to present the alternatives. The remaining time will be conducted in an open house format, during which staff will answer additional questions and receive input to be considered.Everyone who enjoys recreational target shooting on the SDNM is strongly encouraged to review the alternatives and submit comments to the BLM.   You can be assured that those groups and individuals who are anti-gun will be flooding the BLM with comments supporting Alternative E, which would close the entire SDNM to shooting.  The focus of your comments should be on where recreational shooting has by popularity, as well as historically, taken place and where it should continue in those areas that offer a safe shooting environment.

It was BLM’s intent through an earlier management plan to close the SDNM to target shooting.  If it had not been for the intervention of the NRA, the SDNM would already be closed to shooters.  The BLM was encouraged to revise the management plan and in an about-face, it proposed that the entire SDNM be open to shooting.  But, the proposal lacked the required documentation to support that recommendation and the BLM was promptly sued.   This is the third and likely final round over the future of target shooting in the SDNM.  It is imperative that all sportsmen and women who find it important to keep our Federal lands open to hunting and shooting take this draft plan seriously by reading it and submitting individual comments.

(from the NRA/ILA)

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…