A Short Primer on Brexit and How To Exit

The UK voted to leave the European Union for what appear to be very good reasons.

However, to actually get out of the EU, the British PM has to give notice to the other members that the UK intends to end its membership under Article 50 of the EU Charter. Now the current PM, David Cameron, as stated that he won’t do that and that he’ll leave office, not now, in October! He’ll leave the heavy lifting to his successor, whoever she or he may be.

Once the appropriate notices are given, a two-year negotiation starts that will result in an agreement defining the relationship between the UK and EU countries going forward. It is obvious that the negotiation will be very complex as the relationship between the parties involves financial, immigrations, travel, passport control, agricultural regulations, import-export rules and etc. Complicated stuff.

What I find most intriguing is that the vote did nothing with regard to this relationship other than give David Cameron some guidance. He has quickly announced his departure in October, but there is no requirement that his successor will give the notice required by Article 50 that starts the two-year clock.

So the UK has voted, but really we don’t know what will happen now.


Why Does The IRS Need Guns?

From American Thinker

Why Does the IRS Need Guns?

After grabbing legal power, bureaucrats are amassing firepower. It’s time to scale back the federal arsenal.


Special agents at the IRS equipped with AR-15 military-style rifles? Health and Human Services “Special Office of Inspector General Agents” being trained by the Army’s Special Forces contractors? The Department of Veterans Affairs arming 3,700 employees?

The number of non-Defense Department federal officers authorized to make arrests and carry firearms (200,000) now exceeds the number of U.S. Marines (182,000). In its escalating arms and ammo stockpiling, this federal arms race is unlike anything in history. Over the last 20 years, the number of these federal officers with arrest-and-firearm authority has nearly tripled to over 200,000 today, from 74,500 in 1996.

What exactly is the Obama administration up to?

On Friday, June 17, our organization, American Transparency, is releasing its OpenTheBooks.com oversight report on the militarization of America. The report catalogs federal purchases of guns, ammunition and military-style equipment by seemingly bureaucratic federal agencies. During a nine-year period through 2014, we found, 67 agencies unaffiliated with the Department of Defense spent $1.48 billion on guns and ammo. Of that total, $335.1 million was spent by agencies traditionally viewed as regulatory or administrative, such as the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Mint.

Some examples of spending from 2005 through 2014 raise the question: Who are they preparing to battle?

• The Internal Revenue Service, which has 2,316 special agents, spent nearly $11 million on guns, ammunition and military-style equipment. That’s nearly $5,000 in gear for each agent.

• The Department of Veterans Affairs, which has 3,700 law-enforcement officers guarding and securing VA medical centers, spent $11.66 million. It spent more than $200,000 on night-vision equipment, $2.3 million for body armor, more than $2 million on guns, and $3.6 million for ammunition. The VA employed no officers with firearm authorization as recently as 1995.

• The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service spent $4.77 million purchasing shotguns, .308 caliber rifles, night-vision goggles, propane cannons, liquid explosives, pyro supplies, buckshot, LP gas cannons, drones, remote-control helicopters, thermal cameras, military waterproof thermal infrared scopes and more.

• The Environmental Protection Agency spent $3.1 million on guns, ammunition and military-style equipment. The EPA has put nearly $800 million since 2005 into its “Criminal Enforcement Division.”

• The Food and Drug Administration employs 183 heavily armed “special agents.”

• The University of California, Berkeley acquired 14 5.56mm assault rifles and Yale University police accepted 20 5.56mm assault rifles from the Defense Department. Texas Southern University and Saddleback College police even acquired Mine Resistant Vehicles (MRVs).

Other paper-pushing federal agencies with firearm-and-arrest authority that have expanded their arsenals since 2006 include the Small Business Administration, Social Security Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Education Department, Energy Department, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, National Institute of Standards and Technology and many others.

People from both ends of the political spectrum have expressed alarm at this trend. Conservatives argue that it is hypocritical, unconstitutional and costly for political leaders to undermine the Second Amendment while simultaneously equipping nonmilitary agencies with heavy weapons, hollow-point bullets and military-style equipment. Progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders have raised civil liberties concerns about the militarization of local police with vehicles built for war and other heavy weaponry.

Meanwhile, federal authorities are silent on the growing arsenal at federal agencies. In fact, we asked the IRS for an asset accounting of their gun locker—their guns and ammunition asset inventory by location. Their response? “We don’t have one [an inventory], but could create one for you, if important.”

Our data shows that the federal government has become a gun show that never adjourns. Taxpayers need to tell Washington that police powers belong primarily to cities and states, not the feds.

Dr. Coburn is a physician and former U.S. senator from Oklahoma. He is the honorary chairman, and Mr. Andrzejewski is the founder and CEO, of OpenTheBooks.com, a repository of public-spending records.

Orlando Shooting in Gun Free Zone!!

The mass murder this morning in an Orlando bar that is a gun free zone. The Florida law is clear.  The irony is that Florida has the highest number of concealed carry permits in the nation, but bars concealed carry in many public places.

The news will now carry stories that 1, say that an armed patron could have stopped the shooting and that is true, and 2.the problem is guns, but that suggests that all guns can be eliminated, and that is absurd. The only people that would abide by such a law are not a threat.

The logical conclusion is that we pray that an armed person is present to stop shooters as has happened in several situations. What is apparent is that shooters understand this risk and target gun free  zones.

Here’s a list of such places in Florida that are by law gun free.


Bars are one of a long list of places that Florida establishes as gun free zones. From Florida Statutes leg.state.fl.us:

(12)(a) A license issued under this section does not authorize any person to openly carry a handgun or carry a concealed weapon or firearm into:
1. Any place of nuisance as defined in s. 823.05;
2. Any police, sheriff, or highway patrol station;
3. Any detention facility, prison, or jail;
4. Any courthouse;
5.  Any courtroom, except that nothing in this section would preclude a judge from carrying a concealed weapon or determining who will carry a concealed weapon in his or her courtroom;
6. Any polling place;
7. Any meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special district;
8. Any meeting of the Legislature or a committee thereof;
9. Any school, college, or professional athletic event not related to firearms;
10. Any elementary or secondary school facility or administration building;
11. Any career center;
12. Any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, which portion of the establishment is primarily devoted to such purpose;
13. Any college or university facility unless the licensee is a registered student, employee, or faculty member of such college or university and the weapon is a stun gun or nonlethal electric weapon or device designed solely for defensive purposes and the weapon does not fire a dart or projectile;
14. The inside of the passenger terminal and sterile area of any airport, provided that no person shall be prohibited from carrying any legal firearm into the terminal, which firearm is encased for shipment for purposes of checking such firearm as baggage to be lawfully transported on any aircraft; or
15. Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law.
(b)  A person licensed under this section shall not be prohibited from carrying or storing a firearm in a vehicle for lawful purposes.

Read more: http://www.ammoland.com/2016/06/florida-pulse-gay-bar-mass-shooting-was-in-a-gun-free-zone/#ixzz4BNkMehHe
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Orlando Mass Murder Update.

From Powerline


In a horrific crime that is being investigated as a terrorist attack, a 29-year-old man named Omar Mateen murdered 50 people and wounded more than 50 more at a gay night club in Orlando. Mateen is an American-born Muslim. So far, no radical Islamic associations have come to light, but Mateen’s father says he became very angry several months ago when he saw two gay men kissing.

The murders were committed, apparently, over a three-hour period between 2 a.m and 5 a.m. Mateen took a number of hostages, and police surrounded the night club, which is called Pulse. Finally police broke into the night club with a vehicle and engaged in a shootout with Mateen, who was killed. I haven’t seen a report on whether Mateen shot all 100-plus victims at the beginning of the attack, or whether he was murdering hostages over the course of several hours.

Mateen’s parents are Afghan immigrants and are not U.S. citizens, but Omar is U.S.-born. Mateen apparently worked, or had worked, in security, and held a Florida security officer’s license. He also had a Florida concealed carry permit, so this is a rare instance of a firearms-related crime committed by a permit holder. Mateen reportedly was armed with a semiautomatic rifle and a pistol, and there are reports of some kind of explosive device, although it doesn’t appear that such a device was detonated. Mateen was a registered Democrat. There are a couple of photographs of Mateen wearing NYPD shirts, and he reportedly was a former resident of New York. (He was living in Florida currently.) I haven’t seen it reported whether Mateen was at one time a New York police officer.

There were several hundred people in the night club when the attack began. They could have overpowered Mateen, but understandably everyone’s instinct was to flee. As far as I have been able to tell, no one in the night club other than Mateen was armed. It hasn’t been reported whether the club was a gun-free zone.

The Orlando Sentinel has the basic news, and Jim Hoft has a good roundup of what we know about Omar Mateen.

Epic Correction: This is very interesting.

From Stephen Hayward at Powerline.

Hoo-wee, the New York Times will really have to extend itself to top the boner and mother-of-all-corrections at the American Journal of Political Science. This is the journal that published a finding much beloved of liberals a few years back that purported to find scientific evidence that conservatives are more likely to exhibit traits associated with psychoticism, such as authoritarianism and tough-mindedness, and that the supposed “authoritarian” personality of conservatives might even have a genetic basis (and therefore be treatable someday?). Settle in with a cup or glass of your favorite beverage, and get ready to enjoy one of the most epic academic face plants ever.

The original article was called “Correlation not causation: the relationship between personality traits and political ideologies,” and was written by three academics at Virginia Commonwealth University. Here’s the relevant part of the abstract:

Work in psychology, behavioral genetics, and recently political science, however, has demonstrated that political preferences also develop in childhood and are equally influenced by genetic factors. These findings cast doubt on the assumed causal relationship between personality and politics. Here we test the causal relationship between personality traits and political attitudes using a direction of causation structural model on a genetically informative sample. The results suggest that personality traits do not cause people to develop political attitudes; rather, the correlation between the two is a function of an innate common underlying genetic factor.

After the usual long winding path through the existing literature and exhausting discussion of their methodology, we get to some analysis and conclusions, and this is where the fun starts. There’s a lot of jargon and highly technical discussion as usual, but some comprehensible copy:

In line with our expectations, P [for “Psychoticism”] (positively related to tough-mindedness and authoritarianism) is associated with social conservatism and conservative military attitudes. Intriguingly, the strength of the relationship between P and political ideology differs across sexes. P‘s link with social conservatism is stronger for females while its link with military attitudes is stronger for males. We also find individuals higher in Neuroticism are more likely to be economically liberal. Furthermore, Neuroticism is completely unrelated to social ideology, which has been the focus of many in the field. Finally, those higher in Social Desirability are also more likely to express socially liberal attitudes.

Here I must explain that “Social Desirability” is a social science term that essentially translates into common sense language as someone who self-consciously wants to get along. Keep this in mind as we get to the epic correction. Keep also in mind where the authors also express some surprise that “neurotic” people would turn out to be liberals and support the welfare state:

People higher in Neuroticism tend to be more economically liberal. What is intriguing about this relationship is that it is in the opposite direction of what past theories would predict. . . That is, neurotic people are more likely to support public policies that provide aid to the economically disadvantaged (public housing, foreign aid, immigration, etc).

Now if you’re still with me, take in the opening of this very long correction:

The authors regret that there is an error in the published version of “Correlation not Causation: The Relationship between Personality Traits and Political Ideologies” American Journal of Political Science 56 (1), 34–51. The interpretation of the coding of the political attitude items in the descriptive and preliminary analyses portion of the manuscript was exactly reversed.

I’m just going to let that sit there for a moment while you swallow your beverage and put your cup or glass down so as not to risk damage to your keyboard. To continue:

Thus, where we indicated that higher scores in Table 1 (page 40) reflect a more conservative response, they actually reflect a more liberal response. Specifically, in the original manuscript, the descriptive analyses report that those higher in Eysenck’s psychoticism are more conservative, but they are actually more liberal; and where the original manuscript reports those higher in neuroticism and social desirability are more liberal, they are, in fact, more conservative.

If you go back to the excerpts above and swap out the ideological categories you will have to suppress a horselaugh. Liberals are more prone to “psychoticism” (which the authors hasten to explain doesn’t meant “psychotic,” but what the hell. . .), and hence authoritatianism, which would come as no surprise to any conservative who pays attention to authoritarian liberalism. And people higher in Social Desirability will turn out to be conservatives, which is also congruent with the many simpler survey findings that conservatives are happier than liberals.

If you continue with the explanation in the correction it would seem to suggest that someone simply transposed the data somewhere along the line during the coding steps. Or maybe the authors were hoping for a job with Dan Rather or Katie Couric if tenure didn’t come through? They are defending themselves by saying that the main point of the paper was to demonstrate the magnitude of correlations between personality traits and sociopolitical attitudes, and hence that the ideological direction of the correlation doesn’t matter. This doesn’t wash well with the great folks at the indispensible Retraction Watch, who interviewed one of the academics who spotted the mistake, Steven Ludeke of the University of Southern Denmark, who said:

The erroneous results represented some of the larger correlations between personality and politics ever reported; they were reported and interpreted, repeatedly, in the wrong direction; and then cited at rates that are (for this field) extremely high. And the relationship between personality and politics is, as we note in the paper, quite a “hot” topic, with a large number of new papers appearing every year. So although the errors do not matter for the result that the authors (rightly) see as their most important, I obviously think the errors themselves matter quite a lot, especially for what it says about the scientific process both pre- and post-review.

In other words, if this study hadn’t come out conforming to the liberal narrative and sliming conservatives, it wouldn’t have attracted much notice. By the way, your tax dollars paid for this essential social science research. A note at the end says, “The data for this article were collected with the financial support of the National Institute of Health.” And people wonder why Republicans in Congress want to cut off federal funding for social science research. As an alternative, I suggest redirecting federal social science funds to Retraction Watch.