Only You Can Prevent Gun Bans
"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." --Second Amendment to the United States Constitution
On Thursday, we began a critical push for American Patriots across this great nation to pledge: "We, the People, affirm that we will support and defend Liberty as 'endowed by our Creator,' enshrined in our Constitution and empowered by its Second Amendment, against all enemies, foreign and domestic." Please take a moment and join the thousands of your countrymen who answered the call. Share it with your family, friends and colleagues via social media and email, as well. Let's stay ahead of the curve.
The Left certainly won't relent in their effort to destroy Liberty. Neither should we tire of pledging all that we have to defend it, as Mark Alexander did yesterday when he made public his intention to resist the Left's unconstitutional assault on our Second Amendment.
Threats to our God-given right "to keep and bear Arms" abound. Chief in the news has been the renewed defensive weapons ban to be introduced by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) on Jan. 22, conveniently close to the State of the Union address. We outlined last week just how atrocious this bill is. Feinstein plans to redefine "assault weapons" to apply to a wider and entirely subjective list of firearms, which will be subject to invasive registration procedures and forfeiture upon death of their owners. Of course, these firearms would better be defined as "defensive" rather than "assault weapons." But the senator's radiant incompetence about the subject of guns is eclipsed only by her utter lack of respect for the Bill of Rights.
We strongly urge you to contact your senators and representatives, as well as GOP leadership in both houses, to express your opposition to this and any other gun grab.
Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden has been leading a task force (read: tragedy exploitation team) to determine what draconian measures will be "necessary" to restrict and confiscate guns in an effort to provide the illusion of safety. He plans to announce his findings next Tuesday. "The president is going to act," Biden warned, mentioning executive orders as a possible avenue. Biden also advocated for the destruction of Liberty as a "moral issue." And since the Left operates under the presumption that the ends justify any means, Biden said that if these actions "result in only saving one life, they're worth taking." In the case of Feinstein's legislation or any executive order, however, they'd be lucky if it actually did save one life. Of course, saving lives isn't the real agenda of the Abortion Party, is it?
The feds aren't the only ones making a target of the Bill of Rights, either. Last week, we noted that Illinois and New York both are working on expansive gun bans. On Wednesday, New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed "the toughest assault weapons ban in the nation", asserting, "We respect hunters and sportsmen. This is not taking away people's guns. I own a gun. I own a Remington shotgun. I've hunted. I've shot. That's not what this is about. It's about ending the unnecessary risk of high-capacity assault rifles. No one hunts with an assault rifle! No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer!"
A word to the wise: Whenever a politician says, "I'm a supporter of the Second Amendment" or "hunting and sport shooting" and then adds a "but" or some other caveat, beware. That's how the 1994 ban passed -- hunters and sport shooters decided the bill didn't affect them, and we all lost a large measure of Liberty.
Neighboring New Jersey Democrats introduced an astonishing 18 civilian disarmament bills this week. Likewise, the New England states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island are joining the tyrannical bandwagon, as is Colorado, which expects to see 14 to 20 gun bills in the wake of its own tragic murders in Aurora last July. And Chicago, the murder capital of the nation in part because of its strict gun laws, will soon propose even more.
There is some hope, however. Wyoming is considering a bill that would specifically nullify "any federal law which attempts to ban a semi-automatic firearm or to limit the size of a magazine of a firearm or other limitation on firearms in this state." We would only suggest that they expand their definition to include any unconstitutional federal gun legislation. There are other states on the side of Liberty, too.
We often recall the words of Samuel Adams, who said, "It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men." If we wish to preserve our Liberty, and that of our posterity, we must be tireless and we must remain intent on setting those brushfires of freedom. You can start by affirming the Second Amendment and getting others to do the same. We must win this battle.
The Truth About 'Assault Weapons'
For the facts about so-called "assault weapons" -- what they really are and what they really aren't -- this site is about as informative as it gets.
Video of the Week
In the wake of the Sandy Hook murders, CNN's Piers Morgan has become a leading media assailant on the Second Amendment, pointing to his native Great Britain as an example for the U.S. to emulate.
But watch as Ben Swann, a local Fox anchor in Cincinnati, systematically dismantles Morgan's argument. Yes, Great Britain has far fewer gun murders than the U.S., but that's to be expected in a country that has confiscated firearms. Britain is also the most violent country in the EU. But that's just scratching the surface of Swann's report.
From the Left: Publishing Info About Gun Owners
Groucho Marx once quipped, "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies." Nothing better describes how today's Democrats react to firearms. In fact, recent "outings" (if you can call them that) of gun-permit holders in New York provided unexpected comic relief. As we noted last week, New York's Journal News took it upon itself to publish the addresses of gun permit holders in two New York counties. As should have been anticipated by such sanctimonious and agenda-driven reporting, karma inexorably bit the paper in its collective rear end, and editors soon decided to hire armed guards to protect its premises and reporters -- all while hypocritically seeking to shame gun owners, many of them former law enforcement officers, who likewise protect themselves with firearms.
Not to be outdone in the stupidity honors club, the lefty website Gawker published the names of all licensed gun owners in New York City under the headline, "Here Is a List of All the A--holes Who Own Guns in New York City." Because firearm registration does nothing to prevent crime (criminals have been known to ignore laws), registered firearms in the area belong to law-abiding citizens who are accused of no crimes.
As is often the case with hypocritical actions taken by leftists, there are consequences. Prison guards who own firearms as part of their job requirements suddenly found themselves and their families being threatened by hostile inmates who discovered their home addresses thanks to these Second Amendment-hating news organizations. On top of that, government officials from whom the permit information was originally obtained also admit that north of 25 percent of the information is inaccurate.
In related news, Bank of America recently froze a gun manufacturer's account because the bank apparently was displeased with the manufacturer's booming sales -- thanks, of course, to Barack Obama, the Gun Salesman of the Year. It was a stunning display of hostility toward the U.S. Constitution and utter contempt for the rare law-abiding business that's performing well in the Obama economy. The bank's action may eventually be proved illegal. We also note the irony of concurrent reports that the FBI says drug cartels used this same bank to launder their money.
Government and Politics
News From the Swamp: More Taxes?
If you were under the illusion that last week's fiscal cliff deal was the final word on taxes, we would hereby disabuse you of the notion. The same could be said about spending. According to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), "[T]he president had said originally he wanted $1.6 trillion in revenue. He took it down to $1.2 as a compromise. In this [fiscal cliff] legislation we had $620 billion ... changing the high-end tax rate to 39.6 percent. But that is not enough on the revenue side." So she's looking for another $1 trillion in taxes.
Other Democrats are calling for a continued "balanced approach" for any deal on spending, whereby they mean, as Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) put it, a "one-for-one" ratio of tax increases to spending cuts. And by spending cuts, of course, as always, they mean minuscule reductions in the rate of growth.
For his part, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says, "The tax issue is finished, over, completed. That's behind us now." He promised to focus on spending, but we'll see if the GOP can hold the line.
As for spending, some Republicans are advocating that any deal on the debt ceiling be contingent on the Democrat-controlled Senate actually passing a budget for the first time since 2009. Tuesday marked the 1,350th day since the last budget passed, but Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has shown no interest in breaking that streak. Having no budget has contributed heavily to the constant refrain of cliffs, ceilings and other manufactured crises -- which are all the better for the Left to continue down their current path.
Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told The Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore that Barack Obama isn't about to give an inch on spending. Boehner says the president even told him during negotiations, "We don't have a spending problem." White House Press Secretary Jay Carney added this week, "Deficit reduction is not a worthy goal." Such blatant denial of the truth is part and parcel of Obama's socialist agenda, however. It will help if Boehner actually begins to understand that.
Finally, Obama has tapped current White House Chief of Staff and hard-core Keynesian Jacob Lew to take the helm at the Treasury Department after Timothy "Turbo Tax" Geithner abandons ship. The choice escalates Obama's already confrontational pattern for choosing cabinet nominees. Lew is also a great example of the corporate "fat cat" that Obama loves to publicly denigrate. He received a $950,000 bonus from Citigroup after the too-big-to-fail bank cashed in on the taxpayer bailout. Soon he could be signing off on massive quantities of newly printed cash, and as the nearby image shows, his signature is, unfortunately, just the cartoonish final touch our increasingly worthless currency needs. After all, there are a lot of circles in $16,000,000,000,000.
This Week's 'Alpha Jackass' Award
"While I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they've already racked up through the laws that they passed." --Barack "The Buck Stops Over There" Obama
Reality check: It is Obama and his NeoCom cadres who have proposed every dime of deficit spending in the last four years, and none of it was spent until Obama signed those bills into law.
From the 'Non Compos Mentis' File
Some Democrats are proposing one of the most mind-numbingly stupid ideas we've heard in a long time. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) explains, "There is specific statutory authority that says that the Federal Reserve can mint any non-gold or -silver coin in any denomination, so all you do is you tell the Federal Reserve to make a platinum coin for one trillion dollars, and then you deposit it in the Treasury account, and you pay your bills."
"I'm being absolutely serious," he said. "It sounds silly but it's absolutely legal. And it would normally not be proper to consider such a thing, except when you're faced with blackmail to destroy the country's economy, you have to consider things." By blackmail, of course, he is accusing those who advocate fiscal responsibility.
The White House has refused to rule out the coin, though we still think it's highly unlikely. Then again, the White House called GOP plans for using permanent tax rates and spending restraint to stabilize our debt as "magic beans and fairy dust," so maybe anything goes.
Step 1: Run up an astronomical debt.
Step 2: Mint trillion-dollar coin.
Step 3: ???
Hope 'n' Change: Health Costs Going Up
The pipe dream that ObamaCare will keep insurance costs down is giving way to reality as insurance companies across the country seek steep increases in premiums to stay ahead of the market. Insurers in California, Florida, Ohio and elsewhere are proposing increases or have already increased premiums by 20 percent or more for certain groups. Among the hardest hit are small businesses and individuals.
The health care law mandates that regulators must review any insurance rate increase greater than 10 percent, and legislatures in 37 states have given regulators the power to reject or modify such increases if they seem excessive. Insurers are also mandated to spend at least 80 cents of every dollar in revenue on customer care or be forced to refund the balance. This effort at a centrally managed economy won't work. In some high-risk insurance pools, medical costs are rising much faster than the average.
Fans of ObamaCare seem surprised that the law hasn't had any positive impact on costs. In fact, the original title of the New York Times article on this topic was "Despite New Health Law, Some See Sharp Rise in Premiums." If reporters and the dumbstruck Democrats who voted for ObamaCare had actually read the bill before passing it, they would've realized that premiums are going up because of ObamaCare, not in spite of it. Some of them understood this in advance, which is even worse. ObamaCare mandates that insurers take all comers regardless of pre-existing conditions, and then it compels insurers to charge only specific amounts for that coverage. In order to make up for the revenue lost to cover high-risk, more expensive customers, insurers are charging more for everyone else.
There is a bit of good news, however. Though last week's fiscal cliff deal was largely a dud, it did succeed in repealing the ObamaCare's Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act. CLASS was an entitlement designed to provide assistance for long-term care, but it was so poorly crafted that it was doomed to failure before it even got off the ground.
The program was supposed to be funded entirely through the premiums paid by its beneficiaries without taxpayer help. But private insurers' long-term care premiums are cheaper than those offered by CLASS. One CLASS administrator warned Congress in 2011 that without the support of healthy purchasers who would be attracted to better plans elsewhere, CLASS premiums would have to rise to make up the difference. This in turn would continue to drive away purchasers, sending the program into a death spiral that could be saved only by a taxpayer bailout. Congress mercifully, and surprisingly, thought better than dumping another burden on taxpayers, and now CLASS has been cancelled.
New and Notable Legislation
Rep. Jose Serrano, one of the left-most members of New York's congressional delegation, reintroduced a bill to repeal the 22nd Amendment this week, presumably so that his idol Barack Obama can continue to serve as president in perpetuity, or at least until the people wise up and stop re-electing him. Serrano introduced this bill last year, but it never made it out of committee.
Punishing the Lenders
Mortgage lenders that were told by the federal government how to operate will now be forced by that government to compensate certain customers for damage done by federal regulations. In a dispute over "robo-signing" on consumer financial documents, the government's Independent Foreclosure Review decided that banks should be liable for a cool $8.5 billion, payable to some 3.8 million borrowers who had become seriously delinquent on payments in 2009 and 2010.
But even with $8.5 billion, those who were hopelessly behind on mortgage payments won't receive enough to cover their deficit. Instead, this cash will largely reward those who bought more house than they could afford and then, in the wake of declining home values, simply walked away from their commitments. One survey by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency estimated that just 6.5 percent of these borrowers actually suffered financial harm from the banks -- but all will receive a piece of the pie.
Meanwhile, gun-hating, drug-money laundering Bank of America has agreed to take back $7 billion in bad loans it sold to Fannie Mae and to pay an additional $4.85 billion in reimbursements and fines to the federal government. But neither the bank's customers nor taxpayers will soon recover from the poor decisions made at the insistence of a government that felt home ownership was less a privilege than a right that should be granted to just anyone.
The Index of Economic Freedom
Each year, the Heritage Foundation releases its Index of Economic Freedom. The 2013 index is out, its 19th edition, and the U.S. continues its Obama-managed decline. From 2009 to 2010, the U.S. fell from being a "free" economy to just "mostly free." The U.S. now stands at 10th in the world, far from where we should be. But Obama's agenda has been to take the nation down a few pegs.
Income Redistribution: Food Stamp Nation Continues Record Growth
Federal spending on food stamps reached $80.4 billion in fiscal 2012, a new record, exceeding FY 2011's previous record by $2.7 billion. Before Obama took office, spending on food stamps, now dubbed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), was $55 billion. It has skyrocketed during his presidency to the point that one out of every nine Americans is now enrolled in the program.
In 2009, Scientific American referred to a study showing that the rise in food stamp enrollment may be linked to the rise in obesity. The study noted that food stamp users have an average body mass index (BMI) one point higher than nonusers. Additionally, BMI rose in individuals the longer they participated in the program. This is only one study and it doesn't prove causation, but it would be worth looking further into the matter if the government is truly interested in tackling America's obesity problem.
And with so much taxpayer money thrown around, the bureaucracy, too, is becoming even more obese, making fraud and waste inevitable. In Massachusetts, for example, the state's Department of Transitional Assistance couldn't locate 19,000 addresses for people receiving welfare benefits. Democrat Gov. Deval Patrick tried to downplay the issue by noting that the 19,000 accounted for just 4 percent of the total mailings. With a population just over six million, at what point does the number of fraudulent or missing welfare recipients become a problem?
Regulatory Commissars: Keystone Forced EPA Head's Hand?
An EPA insider insists that possible Keystone XL pipeline approval only altered Lisa Jackson's departure by a year or so, but a published report suggests that the EPA administrator abruptly resigned earlier this month because she didn't want to be in charge of the EPA when the State Department gave the cross-border project the green light, perhaps as early as this spring. "She will not be the EPA head when Obama supports [Keystone] getting built," said the unnamed source.
But Keystone approval is far from a sure thing in an administration that's only grudgingly moving forward on a proposed southern extension to the Gulf Coast in Texas. It's far more important to note, as we did last week, that Jackson was also under question for having a phony email account under the moniker "Richard Windsor" in order to communicate with environmentalist supporters while skirting disclosure laws.
Yet if the predicted Keystone approval really occurs, "carbon-intensive development," as the Radical Green crowd calls it, will continue to make Texas a winner among the several states. Thanks to energy development, Texas -- which is one of a handful of states without a state individual income tax -- is enjoying an $8.8 billion surplus to carry over to its next biennial budget. While Keystone is unlikely to produce the same results, it makes sense to allow job creation rather than oppose progress as Windsor-Jackson and her allies insist.
Doves for Defense
Obama certainly knows how to pick lackeys. One case in point is Chuck Hagel. For secretary of defense, one of the most important cabinet positions, ideally, the nominee should have strength of character to sometimes oppose popular opinion and make the right choice. Unfortunately, notwithstanding his honorable service as an infantryman in Vietnam (with two Purple Hearts), the narcissistic former Republican senator is not only a political spine-donor but is also oblivious to the relationship between defense and foreign policy. Accordingly, he is among our last choices for SecDef.
For example, calling the 2003 invasion of Iraq a "war for oil," then-Senator Hagel nonetheless voted to authorize the invasion, apparently not wanting to be branded as unpatriotic. When the going got tough in 2006, however, he quickly jumped ship, and subsequently voted against the 2007 surge that largely secured the peace. The flip-flop was driven simply by taking the "crowd favorite" position when it became politically expedient to do so. Hagel staked out a similar position on Afghanistan.
Nor does Hagel agree that a solid foreign policy requires a strong military capability should it be necessary to back words with deeds. Favoring "engagement" with Syrian, North Korean and Iranian despots rather than dealing with them from a position of strength, Hagel also claims that the U.S. cannot afford and does not need its current defense capability. Furthermore, he opposes the deployment of ballistic missile defenses on the basis that Russia objects.
Finally, as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) notes, if confirmed as SecDef, "Chuck Hagel ... would be the most antagonistic secretary of defense toward the state of Israel in our nation's history." Hagel favors direct negotiations with the terrorist group Hamas and was one of only 12 senators who refused to sign a letter to the European Union that the Iran-backed group Hezbollah be designated a terrorist organization. He has also made disparaging remarks about what he termed the "Jewish lobby," and in 2000 was one of only four senators who refused to sign a statement of support for Israel. Thus Hagel hardly presents the face of support we should show Israel, our only long-term, steadfast, democratic friend in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama reached into the pond of muck comprising his nominee pool and drew out an equally unsavory choice to head the CIA, John Brennan. He's most remembered as the architect of the "drone surge," i.e., using drones as a policy arm to try, convict and assassinate "enemies of the state" overseas -- including U.S. citizens. He was also less-than-forthcoming about the way the raid on Osama bin Laden really went down, and undoubtedly he knew or should have known the truth about the Benghazi attack, as well.
These nominations demonstrate what every clear-thinking American already knows: Obama has no intention to slow down his attack on the structural fabric of the nation's political and economic systems. With the nominations of Hagel and Brennan, he has signaled once again that it's open season on America.
Department of Military Correctness: Back Pay for DADT Discharges
We have previously highlighted how political correctness has infected the U.S. military, from the Fort Hood shootings ("work place violence"), to allowing the Fort Hood murderer to keep his Islamic beard (don't want to hurt his feelings by shaving it), to a recent draft U.S. Army manual that instructs our warriors to play nice with our jihadi enemies. And in 2013, the military's descent into irrationality continues.
The Pentagon, in a landmark settlement announced this week, has agreed to full back pay for former U.S. service members who were discharged due to their sexual disorientation pathology under the military's former "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. The back pay will be given to service members who were dismissed under the now Obama-repealed policy after November 2004. Under DADT, service members who were otherwise honorably discharged had their separation pay cut in half.
"This means so much to those of us who dedicated ourselves to the military, only to be forced out against our will for being who we are," said former Air Force Staff Sgt. Richard Collins via a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit against the government. Collins failed to state why he fraudulently signed documents saying he wasn't a homosexual when he joined the military, but we guess playing a victim means never having to tell the truth. Just one more victory in the Left's efforts to turn the U.S. military into a Petri dish for their disastrous social engineering.
Climate Change This Week: Was 2012 the Hottest Year Ever?
Surprise! The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that 2012 annual temperature measurements were the warmest on record for the United States. That shouldn't be surprising given that the very warm winter of 2011-2012 was followed by a dry spring and summer for many of the states. Wherever there's a drought, there's likely to be extreme heat. Unfortunately, that's what often happens in a cold Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), warm Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) pattern in portions of the lower 48. On the flip side, many saw this type of pattern coming. It's important to note that while it has been warm in the U.S., other parts of the globe are experiencing record cold.
There are two key elements here. First, as pointed out by meteorologist Anthony Watts, there are glaring inconsistencies with the data, as well as two sets of bookkeeping -- data from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) State of the Climate that's issued each month, and the end-of-the-year report issued to the public domain. Watts' research depicted serious inconsistencies. Of particular interest is July 2012 -- a month that scientists now consistently point to as "the hottest month ever." Yet NCDC's own data contradicts this with two different sets of data, and the inconsistency appears in other data as well. "In almost every instance dating back to the inception of the CONUS Tavg value being reported in the SOTC report, there's a difference," Watts says. "Some are quite significant. In most cases, the database value is cooler than the claim made in the SOTC report." Obviously, this raises many credibility issues that we've documented before.
Second, as meteorologist Joe Bastardi writes, "[W]hy are [Anthropogenic Global Warming believers] pushing an agenda for the entire globe based on evidence covering less than 3% of the earth? In fact, if the global temperature was only .04C above normal, it had to be as cold somewhere to counter the US warmth." A quick look at weather around the globe reveals record cold in China, India and Russia. And once again, Alaska is wondering if the next Ice Age is upon them after suffering another cold winter following last year's record chill. Funny how the media forgot to mention that.
The whole story paints a picture of a globe that is not significantly warming, and in fact as actual data shows, may have begun to cool. Even the UK Met Office issued a press release this week, revising their previous predictions downward: "The latest decadal prediction suggests that global temperatures over the next five years are likely to be a little lower than predicted from the previous prediction issued in December 2011." Haven't we heard this before?
Frontiers of Science: The Fracking Truth
Even as Americans crave energy independence, Hollywood has once again joined ideological forces with environmental leftists and foreign exporters of oil to ensure the U.S. doesn't tap into its own vast natural gas resources. The latest effort, a film called "Promised Land" starring Matt Damon, attempts to persuade Americans of the evils of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," as a means of mining natural gas. Judging by the success of previous anti-fracking films, Promised Land seemed poised to come out swinging. Instead, the flick proved a flop at the box office. Why the fade in fracking fascination? Perhaps it's because Americans are tired of hearing the rhetoric. Perhaps it's because they would rather see Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, or maybe because Damon's $15 million propaganda was financed by OPEC oil tycoons. Or perhaps it's because a lie can stand only so long before it falls before the truth.
The truth is that not only has fracking been safely used in the United States for more than 60 years, but that it also has actually contributed in recent years to a drastic decline in energy-related carbon emissions in the U.S. Just don't expect the green goons to give up too quickly.
Meanwhile, someone should tell them that while "water-destroying" fracking is actually fine, it seems eco-friendly light bulbs might cause skin cancer. Oops!
The White House petition site has become quite the attraction for people with one pet cause or another. Whether it's a petition for a man with amnesia to be able to obtain a Social Security number, or Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Week, these are the important issues of our time. Our favorite, however, is the one to authorize the production of a recurring television program featuring Vice President Joe Biden. We might actually watch that. We even have a helpful suggestion for a title: "Biden: Funny Dude," or BFD.
Then again, the idea is so absurd that the next thing you know, they'll be giving Bill Clinton an award for being "Father of the Year." Oh, wait...
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team