GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
News from the Swamp: Stimulus signed
President George W. Bush signed the $168-billion Economic Stimulus Act on Wednesday saying it would be a “booster shot” to help the economy get through a “rough patch.” Americans will begin to see their tax-rebate checks arrive in May—$600 for individuals, $1,200 for couples and $300 for each dependent child, sent to 128 million households. Meanwhile, government spending is up eight percent this year and the deficit will skyrocket, but Congress and the President have decided to borrow $168 billion from China to get consumers to buy stuff from... China. Actually, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says he hopes consumers will “spend it on things that are domestically produced,” but all we can say is good luck with that. We in our humble shop do have a plan for that little extra cash: specifically, purchasing a number of domestically produced Bushmaster ACR and Robinson XCR “assault” rifles. That should be stimulating.
We also understand, as do most economists, that this is little more than an election-year gimmick to save politicians’ jobs. Real solutions to the economy lie in reducing the tax burden, not in income redistribution. It’s high time Congress made the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 permanent. That assurance alone would truly stimulate the economy.
On the Hill: Surveillance Act
For anyone wondering how a McCain administration would be different from a Hillary or Obama administration, the Senate offered a sneak preview this week. In a 68-29 vote, the Senate reauthorized the surveillance law that allows American intelligence agencies to monitor the communications between suspected terrorists overseas and their contacts in the United States. The bill also includes a provision for retroactive immunity for telephone companies that have cooperated with the government’s wiretapping program and have been sued as a result. Approximately 40 such lawsuits have been filed, prompting President Bush to insist that an immunity provision be made into law if these companies are expected to continue assisting the intelligence community in the War on Terror. The Senate Intelligence Committee agreed, saying that the telcos had “acted in good faith.” Seventeen Democrats crossed the aisle to vote for the bill, including the chairman of the intelligence committee, Sen. John Rockefeller IV (D-WV).
Another senator who voted in favor of the bill was Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who continues to demonstrate a solid understanding of national-security issues. The Democrat presidential candidates were not so astute: Sen. Barack Hussein Obama voted against reauthorizing the terrorist-surveillance program, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was too busy campaigning to vote at all.
House Democrats still oppose granting immunity. The House voted Wednesday to reject a 21-day extension of the law, which would have given them more time to iron out differences. President Bush has said he will not sign another extension and accused House Democrats of risking national security. The law expires tonight if nothing is done.
In the House: Earmark reform
Aiming to “change the way Washington spends taxpayer dollars,” House Republicans have set up EarmarkReform.House.gov as a way to inform taxpayers regarding earmarks. Republican Leader John Boehner (OH) said the site will contain news releases, opinion editorials and other information that “will shine a spotlight on [Democrats’] broken promises and empty rhetoric on earmarks.” Meanwhile, Reps. Jack Kingston (R-GA) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) introduced legislation that would stop the earmark process entirely until a panel is established to reform the practice permanently. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined to support the legislation, despite her incessant promises for fiscal discipline in Congress. However, several House Republicans, along with Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), have pledged that they will not request earmarks in appropriations bills this year.
In other House news, conservative stalwart John Shadegg (R-AZ) has announced that he will not seek re-election this year—the 29th Republican to decide so. Shadegg had run for minority leader and has been a fiscal hawk since his election with the Republican Revolution of 1994. There is speculation that he may run for a certain open Arizona Senate seat or possibly for governor, but he has not confirmed either.
Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) died this week of esophageal cancer at age 80. Lantos was the only Holocaust survivor elected to Congress and was an influential member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. A special election will be held on 3 June to fill the seat.
New & notable legislation
The Senate passed a bill Wednesday to ban the CIA from using waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics to extract critical information from terrorists. The CIA has waterboarded three terrorists for a total of less than five minutes since 2001. The military was similarly banned from using waterboarding in 2006, but President Bush has promised to veto this bill.
Rep. Christopher Shays (RINO-CT) announced a proposal to provide universal healthcare that is modeled after the plan offered to federal employees. This latest incarnation of socialized medicine would call for the federal government to negotiate benefit packages with private insurers that would be less expensive but provide more comprehensive coverage. Premiums under the current federal plan rise less than in the private market, but the public plan proposed by Shays would call for the government to pay up to 75 percent of the enrollee’s total premium. In reality, the money saved through lower insurance premiums would be paid for with higher taxes.
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) introduced the National Crime Gun Identification Act in both the Senate and House this week. CNS News reports that the bill “would require all semiautomatic pistols to have ‘microstamped identifiers’ —tiny internal markings that transfer themselves onto bullet cartridges fired from a gun.” The markings would supposedly make crime solving easier, though the NRA points out that criminals usually steal guns for their criminal endeavors rather than buy them, making this bill unnecessary and costly gun control. It is similar to a bill recently passed in California. One manufacturer has already stopped sales to California as a result.
On Thursday, House Democrats took up H. Res. 979 and 980 to find in contempt of Congress former White House lawyer Harriet Miers and Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten for assertions of executive privilege against House Judiciary Committee subpoenas. The Grand Inquisitors want to pillory the pair with queries about the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. In response to the topsy-turvy Democrat priorities for floor action, Republicans walked out of the chamber. The final vote was 232-32 in favor of contempt, and the matter now goes to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.
Campaign watch: GOP primaries
John McCain continues his steady climb toward the 1,191 delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination, but his main competitor, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, is not making it easy for him. McCain’s only victory in last weekend’s contests was Washington, leaving Huckabee with a narrow win in Louisiana and a resounding victory in Kansas. McCain bounced back this week, winning the so-called Potomac Primary (Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia) by respectable margins. We note that McCain opted out of public funding for his campaign this week, which will vastly increase his fundraising potential while also opening up the co-author of our current campaign-finance “reform” laws to some well-deserved criticism. After all, isn’t private money the root of all political evil? Indeed, McCain is still having trouble gaining the confidence of conservatives, though Mitt Romney endorsed him Thursday and requested that his delegates get behind the likely nominee.
Meanwhile, Ron Paul has vowed to continue his campaign, though it will be significantly scaled back and meant more to influence the debate than to win the nomination. Consideration for his House seat is a large factor in the pullback, given that he faces a primary battle on 4 March. “If I were to lose the primary for my congressional seat,” Paul said, “all our opponents would react with glee and pretend it was a rejection of our ideas. I cannot and will not let that happen.” Paul’s incredibly loyal supporters continue to rally around his message of “limited government, non-interventionism, respect for individual rights and strict adherence to the Constitution,” but Paul has repeatedly promised not to run as a third-party candidate.
From the Left: Democrat primaries
Barack Obama remains undefeated since Super Tuesday, racking up smashing victories in recent days in Washington, Nebraska, Louisiana, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. “At this moment, the cynics can no longer say that our hope is false,” Obama told supporters after Tuesday’s Potomac Primary. “We have now won East and West, North and South, across the heartland.” Obama has edged ahead of Hillary Clinton in the delegate count, and Clinton’s campaign made some leadership changes as a result of her inability to gain traction. Her campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, and deputy campaign manager, Mike Henry, got the boot after Tuesday’s losses. Doyle, who served as Hillary’s scheduler in the White House, had brought Henry onto the campaign.
Maggie Williams, yet another crony from the old days, is now running the campaign. Williams fits the classic Clinton mold of ethically challenged individuals, having served as Hillary’s chief of staff in the White House. Williams is the person who accepted the $50,000 check from Johnny Chung, the crooked Chinese fundraiser who wanted a photo-op with President Bill in 1996. Williams was also seen removing documents from Vince Foster’s office the night after the mysterious death of the White House counsel.
Clinton has pinned her campaign’s future on the Texas and Ohio primaries on 4 March. Never count a Clinton out of the game, as there is always one more trick in the bag. For instance, Hillary is still ahead of Obama in the competition for so-called super delegates. Super delegates are a creation of the Democratic National Committee that allows elected officials to have input into the nomination process. Democrat super delegates include Bill Clinton and such Clintonistas as Terry McAuliffe and Harold Ickes. The contest for super delegates is basically a Washington schmooze fest in which surrogates for Clinton and Obama will crisscross the country and burn up the phone lines in an attempt to sway votes in favor of their candidate.
Another issue that threatens to boil over is the question about what to do with the delegates from Florida and Michigan. The DNC ruled that these delegates could not be seated at the convention because the two states violated party rules by moving their primaries too close to New Hampshire’s on the calendar. Obama and John Edwards obeyed the DNC mandate and did not campaign in either state, but Clinton, consistently unburdened by rules made by others, campaigned vigorously in both states and unsurprisingly walked away with a lion’s share of the delegates. Now that it looks as if she will need virtually every delegate she can muster, Clinton has begun a push to get the DNC to reverse its earlier decision.
This week’s ‘Braying Jenny’ award
“I think that both in Michigan and in Florida, the Democratic [sic] Party should really give these people who came out and voted—they weren’t involved in the rulemaking—give them a chance.” —Hillary Clinton
Che Obama and the Cuban flag
Barack Obama has some ‘splainin’ to do. Fox News cameras captured a disturbing image in a campaign office in Houston: that of a Cuban flag with Communist mass murderer Che Guevara’s face printed on it. Naturally, Obama’s “explanation” was that the volunteer office is independently run, so he has no control over what goes on there. And that’s supposed to make voters want him elected president? Che Guevara may be fashionable among the nation’s leftist college students, but we remind readers that it was Guevara who was “supreme prosecutor” during the show trials after Fidel Castro seized power, overseeing the execution of countless people. Cuba is also still under a U.S. embargo and, last time we checked, is still a Communist dictatorship. Seems the Obama campaign is trying to communicate an idea, even if the candidate himself appears bereft of them.
Warfront with Jihadistan: Justice served
“You can run, but you can’t hide.” So said President Ronald Reagan to terrorists nearly 20 years ago. This week, one jihadi who had been running was finally found, and let’s just say he won’t be in the terror business anymore. Senior Hizballah planner and operative Imad Mugniyah, wanted for more than 25 years, was killed Tuesday in Damascus by a car bomb, a fitting end for the man who pioneered vehicle bombings as an act of terror. Mugniyah was behind some of the most significant acts of terrorist violence ever perpetrated against Americans, including the 1983 bombings of the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, and the 1985 murder of U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem during an airline hijacking. However, he had virtually disappeared since the early 1990s. Syrian, Iranian and Hizballah spokesmen immediately blamed Israel and the United States for the car bomb, a charge Israel promptly denied. The authors of this bombing will likely never be known, but the end result is the same: justice served at long last to a terrorist with the blood of hundreds on his hands.
Turning to the ongoing terrorist threat, two documents recently recovered by U.S. forces in Iraq offer insight into the current state of mind of al-Qa’ida in Iraq: gloom and doom. Citing the sweeping changes that have taken place since the U.S. troop surge began, one captured document’s author laments, “[T]he Islamic State of Iraq is faced with an extraordinary crisis, especially in al-Anbar.” Patriot readers will no doubt remember that just 18 months ago the Marines’ top intelligence officer judged that “there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation [in Anbar].” While these documents represent the views of only two individuals, the enemy’s own words are the clearest possible indication of what effect the surge and the Sunni Awakening have had in Iraq, no matter how many times Harry Reid (D-nial) and Nancy Pelosi (D-featist) tell us it isn’t so.
This week’s ‘Alpha Jackass’ award
“The gains [in Iraq] have not produced the desired effect, which is the reconciliation of Iraq. This is a failure. This is a failure! The troops have succeeded. God bless them. We owe them the greatest debt of gratitude, the sacrifice, their patriotism, and for their courage, and to their families as well. This is a disaster, and we cannot perpetuate it.” —House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who, uh, supports the troops, God bless them!
Pentagon seeks death for 9/11 suspects
Finally, justice for 9/11 may be served. On Monday, the Pentagon formally charged six jihadi suspects held at Guantanamo Bay with murder and war crimes related to the September 11th attacks, with Pentagon officials saying they will seek the death penalty should the suspects be convicted. Among the six is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, suspected mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Brigadier General Thomas Hartmann, legal adviser to the U.S. military-tribunal system, said of the 169 charges to be brought against the suspects, “These charges allege a long-term, highly sophisticated, organized plan by al-Qa’ida to attack the United States of America.” The other five jihadis include Mohammed al-Qahtani, the alleged 20th hijacker; Ramzi Binalshibh, liaison between the hijackers and al-Qa’ida; Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali (a.k.a. Ammar al-Baluchi), a nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and lieutenant for operations; Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, one of al-Baluchi’s assistants; and Waleed bin Attash, who selected and trained some of the 9/11 hijackers. Needless to say, they are as fine a group as any to kick off the first capital trial under the military’s tribunal system.
Of course, the usual cadre of leftists, pacifists and dimwits (but we repeat ourselves) started howling that the indicted jihadis had been tortured and denied due process. We are not entirely clear on how making the Pentagon jump though years of legal hoops and modify its tribunal rules is not due process. As for torture, waterboarding may or may not be torture, but that has no bearing on the jihadis’ involvement in 9/11. We may soon see the Jihadi 6 sent to meet their 72 virgins.
Leftists ‘support’ the Marines
Last week, we reported that the city of Berkeley, California, had resolved that the United States Marine Corps was not welcome to continue recruiting there. If they continued, it would be as “uninvited and unwelcome intruders.” It seems that news raised the ire of many a patriotic American, forcing the city council to reconsider—now they will not send their hateful letter to the USMC. Not only that, but they issued a statement saying they “deeply respect and support” the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. Something makes us doubt their sincerity. Maybe it’s the fact that the angry anti-war group Code Pink still has a special parking space reserved outside the recruiting office.
In Congress, Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) responded by introducing the Semper Fi Act, which would strip Berkeley of all federal earmarks for fiscal year 2008, instead giving the money to the United States Marines for recruiting.
Apparently, the mayor of Toledo, Ohio, hadn’t seen this news as he ordered 200 members of Company A, 1st Battalion, 24th Marines to turn around and leave rather than engage in urban-patrol exercises in the downtown area. Despite the fact that Toledo police knew about the exercise days in advance and the Marines have held exercises there before, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner (yes, that’s his real name) “asked them to leave because they frighten people,” according to a spokesman. “I wish they would have told us this four hours ago,” Staff Sgt. Andre Davis said. Indeed, the aborted exercise—busing the Marines from Grand Rapids, Michigan—cost roughly $10,000.
Profiles of valor: USAF Tech. Sgt. Chapman
United States Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Chapman, from Fayetteville, North Carolina, was involved in a reconnaissance mission in northern Afghanistan on 4 March 2002 when the team’s twin-engine Chinook helicopter came under heavy fire. It was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and crash-landed. Chapman called in air support to cover the team, which was now exposed to enemy fire. He also directed a helicopter rescue of his team and aircrew members and led the search for a Navy SEAL who had fallen from the helicopter. Chapman killed two jihadis during the search, but came upon a machine-gun nest. Though the enemy fired on the rescue team on three sides, Chapman fired back. Soon, however, multiple wounds claimed his life, though he is credited with saving the lives of the others in the rescue team. For his actions, Chapman was posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross, and a U.S. Navy cargo ship was named in his honor.
Immigration front: Hasta la vista
In recent days, hard evidence has shown that illegal aliens in Arizona are “self-deporting” in droves, with many thousands more planning to leave soon. Mexican officials in Arizona are being inundated with requests for documents that will let them enroll their children in Mexican schools and return to Mexico without paying taxes on their furniture and other belongings. The mass exodus is in response to a new Arizona law that makes it nearly impossible for illegals to hold a job in the state, which boasts the highest number of illegals in its workforce—a whopping 12 percent. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has gotten in on the fun, of course, establishing a hotline for citizens to report those who hire illegals. Additionally, authority has been given to local law enforcement by Customs and Border Protection for the enforcement of federal immigration law, which should prove valuable. The new law goes into effect on 1 March. Who needs amnesty when simple law enforcement will do?
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Regulatory Commissars: Health ‘mandates’
In a classic case of deception by projection, politicians blame health insurers for the rising costs of health insurance. Yet, the Council for Affordable Health Insurance has counted 1,961 legislatively required “mandates” added to these costs since the early days of the Clinton administration, only 15 years ago. These “mandates” expand insurance coverage to procedures that typically are not medically necessary, because legislators have cozied up with sellers of the products and services. Sellers profit from increased business, and users of the products and services enjoy lower out-of-pocket costs.
Like each raindrop that doesn’t believe it is responsible for the flood, legislators have continued to act as if health insurance is their personal social experiment because someone else always pays the bill and takes the blame. While the cost of most government mandates adds between one and three percent to the cost of coverage, their cumulative costs are the main force driving up premiums. These mandates include covering slacker “children” up to age 30, as well as wigs, massages and obesity treatments.
Eventually, costs may be forced high enough to grant liberals their dream of socialized medicine. Americans would do well, however, to remember President Reagan’s cutting of the regulatory burdens, thereby giving industries the breathing room to become more competitive and affordable once again.
Biofuels wreck the environment
To the surprise of absolutely no one who greets climate change alarmism with even a hint of skepticism, two new scientific studies have concluded that biofuels do more harm than good. Both studies were published in the peer-reviewed journal Science.
According to the first study, which was conducted by ecologists from Princeton and the Woods Hole Research Center, biofuel advocates have made massive accounting errors by ignoring renewable energy’s “hidden costs.” For example, there is 2.7 times more carbon stored in plant material than the atmosphere, and massive amounts of this plant material would have to be burned off to make room to grow biofuel crops. Moreover, plant material serves as a sort of “carbon sink,” absorbing large amounts of CO2. By removing trees to make room for biofuel crops, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will only increase. The study ultimately concludes that when one considers production costs, the amount of greenhouse-gas emissions from ethanol over a period of 30 years will be twice as high as from gasoline, and that it will take 167 years for ethanol to “pay back” the carbon released by making land suitable for biofuel crops.
The second study was conducted by the University of Minnesota and the Nature Conservancy, which decided to take an even closer look at the issue of “carbon debt.” The conclusion? It would take between 48 and 93 years for the United States to bring corn ethanol to parity with gasoline as a net emitter of carbon. In Malaysia and Indonesia, where palm oil is created for European biodiesel, deforestation exceeds 1.5 percent annually, resulting in a carbon debt of 423 years.
Of course this news comes as Congress has just passed an energy bill providing huge federal subsidies and tax credits for corn ethanol research and development. One would think that if the politicians in Washington really cared about safe, cost-efficient, environmentally friendly energy, they would take another look at nuclear power. There’s nothing to be afraid of—just ask the French.
Exxon Mobil takes on thug dictator
What happens when the world’s largest publicly traded oil company takes on one of the world’s most notorious dictators? Exxon Mobil decided to find out. After Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez seized Exxon’s stake in two ventures in the country, including one 42.5-percent stake worth at least $4 billion, Exxon took Chavez to international court, targeting the assets of the country’s state-run oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, SA, in U.S., British and Dutch courts. Last week, a British court sided with Exxon, issuing an injunction to freeze $12 billion in assets. A U.S. court also backed the company, freezing $315 million in Venezuelan cash.
In response, Chavez and his political puppets screamed “judicial terrorism” and stopped oil sales to Exxon. Despite Chavez’s intimidation attempts, however, experts say his actions will have little real impact on oil production. While Venezuela supplies approximately 11 percent of U.S. oil, the South American dictatorship is far more dependent on oil revenue than the U.S. is on Venezuelan oil. Exxon will easily be able to buy oil from other sources. Venezuela, however, has nowhere else to go for U.S. money. So, who’s holding the trump card now, Hugo?
All Heller breaking loose
Vice President Dick Cheney broke with his own administration last week when he signed onto a Supreme Court brief filed by a majority of Congress instead of the brief filed by President Bush’s own solicitor general. The Amicus Curiae brief filed by Congress asks the Supreme Court to uphold a lower-court ruling that affirmed the Second Amendment as an individual right and declared the District of Columbia’s handgun ban to be unconstitutional. Vice President Cheney signed the brief as “President of the United States Senate, Richard B. Cheney,” a rarely used title that denotes the vice president’s dual role as member of both the executive and legislative branches. Legal experts believe this may be the first time in history that a vice president has gone against his own administration in an Amicus Curiae brief. It seems that Vice President Cheney sensed—as we did—that the brief filed by the Bush administration was gutless and indecisive. According to Cheney’s press secretary, Megan Mitchell, “The Vice President believes strongly in the Second Amendment.” Apparently, so do 55 senators and 250 House members, a number that NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre says should send “a historical message to the court.” We can only hope.
As the Supreme Court considers the constitutional right to bear arms in DC, those on college campuses are also still denied the right. And once again, a murderous psychopath ignored the “gun-free zone” and killed six people Thursday—this time at Northern Illinois University. Unarmed students and professors were helpless until police arrived, by which time the shooter had determined that he was done and killed himself.
Frontiers of Junk Science: Maunder Minimum
Not all scientists are on board with Al Gore’s global warming mythology and accompanying hysteria. In fact, many scientists are currently seeking funding to research the possibility that we may be on the verge of a new ice age. The Danish Meteorological Institute released a study in 1991 showing that global temperatures follow solar cycles. Canadian scientists are planning to analyze the impact of the sun on the earth’s climate and the possibility that another ice age is imminent. Solar activity occurs in cycles of 11 years, and thus far, in the current cycle, the sun has been unusually quiet. The sun’s inactivity could indicate the beginning of what is known as the Maunder Minimum. This event occurs every few hundred years and lasts possibly as long as a century. The last Maunder Minimum occurred in 1650 and was marked by 50 years of terribly freezing winters and cool summers. These findings prove once again what should be blatantly obvious: that Al Gore’s man-made global-warming circus is not scientific, but rather is a scare tactic used for the promotion of class warfare and the redistribution of wealth. Liberals hope that, in addition to piling up political capital with global warming, they can also guilt-trip Americans into surrendering their quality of life.
Faith and Family: UK Sharia
Proposing an arrangement that would leave Britons with a multiple-choice legal system, Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the global Anglican Church, caused an uproar last week by stating that adopting portions of Sharia law in the UK is “unavoidable.” While he has since said, “Some of what has been heard is a very long way indeed from what was actually said,” Dr. Williams has yet to negate the sentiment of his statement—that Islamic law should be welcomed and that the country should consider a “constructive relationship between Islamic law and the statutory law of the United Kingdom.”
Interestingly, according to Shaista Gohir, director of Muslim Voice UK, “[T]he majority of Muslims do not want it [Sharia law].” Gohir stated that formally adopting Sharia law would be “impossible because Muslims wouldn’t agree on one interpretation, and women would face discrimination from male-dominated councils.” Yet, Dr. Williams wants the UK to “face up to the fact” that not all citizens relate to the British legal system.
A better idea would be for Dr. Williams to “face up to the fact” that law does not depend on “relatability,” and, as Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s office stated, “British laws should be based on British values.”
Speaking of Islam, Danish police foiled a plot to murder one of the cartoonists that drew some rather humorous cartoons of Mohammed two years ago. Two Tunisians and a Dane of Moroccan descent were arrested and will likely be expelled from Denmark. Denmark’s leading newspapers republished the cartoons.
When it comes to gun control and its advocates, examples of hypocrisy abound. There is Sarah Brady of the Brady Campaign, who once purchased a Remington.30-06 rifle for her son as a Christmas present. There are entertainers like Rosie O’Donnell and Oprah Winfrey, who speak out about the evils of gun ownership under the protection of their armed guards. There is anti-gun Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.), who holds one of the only concealed weapon permits in San Francisco. There is New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who confiscated guns after Hurricane Katrina but thinks a photo op with an “assault rifle” is funny. And then there is Josh Sugarmann, gun-control activist and... gun dealer?
Sugarmann is the founder and executive director of the Violence Policy Center, a Washington lobby dedicated to banning handguns and semi-automatic weapons. Among other things, Sugarmann is notorious for coining the misleading term “assault weapon” and writing inane rants for the Huffington Post, but he also seems to have a side business, or at least a permit for one. According to the website of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a federal firearms license (FFL) is registered to one Joshua Alan Sugarmann at the same Washington, DC, address as the headquarters of the Violence Policy Center. The federal government requires that all gun dealers obtain an FFL before buying, selling and manufacturing firearms.
We’re not quite sure what to make of this, except that maybe Josh Sugarmann foresees a booming gun business in the District of Columbia if the Supreme Court affirms the individual right interpretation of the Second Amendment later this year in District of Columbia v. Heller. Or maybe he’s merely Sen. Feinstein’s private gun dealer. Whatever the case, it can’t be easy selling guns in a dry county.
Veritas vos Liberabit—Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus, et Fidelis! Mark Alexander, Publisher, for The Patriot’s editors and staff. (Please pray for our Patriot Armed Forces standing in harm’s way around the world, and for their families—especially families of those fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, who granted their lives in defense of American liberty.)