Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Constitution

Sheriff Mack: “We’re Taking Back America One County at a Time”

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, August 27, 2014: 

English: Sheriff Richard Mack at the Nullify N...

Sheriff Richard Mack

In an exclusive interview with The New American, retired Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack, founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), highlighted the successes that members of his organization are having in resisting unconstitutional challenges by the federal government and declared that with these successes, “We are taking back America one county at a time!”

It’s not just rhetoric. CSPOA members have pledged to

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Pro-gun Sheriff Reelected Despite Bloomberg Funding Opponent

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg opening ...

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke won his primary election on Tuesday over Bloomberg-supported Chris Moews, a Milwaukee police lieutenant, 52 percent to 48 percent. Because there is no Republican candidate running for the position, Clarke’s win virtually assures him of another four-year term in November.

Chris Cox of the National Rifle Association, which had been helping Clarke’s campaign, offered his congratulations:

On behalf of the NRA’s five million members, we would like to congratulate Sheriff David A. Clarke on his hard-fought victory in yesterday’s Primary election for Milwaukee County Sheriff. Sheriff Clarke’s outspoken commitment to the Second Amendment earned him the admiration of NRA members and gun owners nationwide.

Cox then noted one of the main reasons that Clarke won and Moews lost:

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Judge: New Mexico 10 Commandments Monument Unconstitutional

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, August 11, 2014:

Bill of Rights Pg1of1 AC

Bill of Rights

James Parker, Senior District Court Judge for New Mexico, ruled last Thursday that the five-foot-tall, 3,000-pound monument inscribed with the 10 Commandments (shown) placed on the lawn in front of the Bloomfield, New Mexico, City Hall is unconstitutional. He ordered it to be removed by September 10.

Parker also expressed reservations about his decision, calling the case

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Incorporation Doctrine Leaves District Court Judge in Never-Never Land

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, August 11, 2014:

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments, painting by Rembrandt (1659)

Judge James A. Parker of the District Court of New Mexico ruled against the tiny town of Bloomfield, New Mexico, last week, giving the city until September 20th to remove a five-foot-high, 3,000-pound monument celebrating the 10 Commandments from in front of its city hall.

The judge admitted that, thanks to incorporation and the resulting judicial confusion emanating from rulings that the Fourteenth Amendment applies the Bill of Rights to the states as well as to the federal government, he was on his own:

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Overzealous Consumer Agency Picks Fight with Wrong Guy

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, August 8, 2014:

English: A constructed NeoCube.

A Neocube constructed with Zen Magnets

In its zeal to proclaim that everything is inherently dangerous and therefore illegal, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) – the Goliath in this story – has just run into its David. Shihan Qu, the 27-year-old founder of Zen Magnets, notified the agency that he wasn’t going to take it anymore through a letter on his company’s website:

Take this as official notice that Zen Magnets LLC is going All-in.… We will not settle for any sort of stop-sale of magnets that are perfectly safe when not misused….

We vow to continue this legal, awareness, and lobbying battle until our very last drop of cash-flow blood. We will combat CPSC’s magnet prohibition until triumph, or until a glorious death of insolvency on the legal battlefield….

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Celebrating James Brady’s Monumental Infringement

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, August 6, 2014:

Brady Campaign

When James Brady, Ronald Reagan’s former press secretary, passed away on Monday at age 73, the media predictably crowed about the success of the Brady Bill, giving him credit for pushing it through a reluctant congress back in 1993. Brady was shot during an assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981, resulting in massive brain damage and putting him into a wheelchair for the rest of his life. The New York Times called him

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Leahy Offers Weak Bill to Curb NSA Eavesdropping on Americans

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 30, 2014:

English: Official photo of Senator Patrick Lea...

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

On Tuesday, Senator Patrick Leahy (shown, D-Vt.), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced his version of the USA Freedom Act intended to strengthen a similar bill passed by the House last May. It’s scarcely an improvement and likely won’t be taken up before November, if at all in this congress.

But Leahy was optimistic nonetheless, saying that his bill, if enacted, “would represent the most significant reform of government surveillance authorities since … the USA Patriot Act 13 years ago.” That was easy for this hard-left Democrat to say, as there has been no reform of the unconstitutional Patriot Act since it was passed. In fact, without revelations provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, even these modest “reforms” would never have been presented. Without Snowden, the NSA would have continued collecting every last piece of communications data it could and storing it for future reference at one or more of its vast collection facilities around the country. Since the bill was presented so late in this Congress, it is virtually certain no action will be taken on it.

The House bill that was passed back in May was so full of loopholes and modifications by last minute amendments as to make the effort essentially ludicrous. Although offered jointly in October 2013 by Leahy and his House counterpart, Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin (the author of the Patriot Act), only the House bill ever saw the light of day. At the time, Sensenbrenner expressed great hopes for his bill:

Following 9/11, the USA Patriot Act … has helped keep Americans safe by ensuring information is shared among those responsible for defending our country and by enhancing the tools the intelligence community needs to identify and track terrorists.

But somewhere along the way, the balance between security and privacy was lost…. Washington must regain Americans’ trust in their government. The USA Freedom Act [I am offering] is an essential first step.

That first step was more like a stumble. Under the bill, according to The Guardian, “the government will still be able to collect phone data on Americans, pending a judge’s individualized order based on ‘reasonable articulable suspicion’ — the standard preferred by the NSA (National Security Agency) — of wrongdoing.” This is a far cry from the “probable cause” requirement demanded in the Fourth Amendment, but that’s only the beginning.

The bill purports to modify Section 715 of the Patriot Act while saying nothing about Section 702, which allows worldwide surveillance by the NSA. The bill allows for the continuous collection of Americans’ telephone records, according to the Open Technology Institute. Most grievously, the bill extended the Patriot Act until December of 2017.

Once the House passed its USA Freedom Act, 303 to 121, those opposed, including Republicans Darrell Issa, Ted Poe, and Raul Labrador and Democrat Zoe Lofgren expressed their disappointment with it. Said Lofgren, “[This] bill will actually not end bulk collection, regrettably.” It shifts collection responsibilities from the NSA to the telephone companies to which the NSA has virtually unlimited access, so it’s a cosmetic change only. The bill requires the NSA to get permission from the FISA Court, but FISA is not known for having a high regard for the freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights.

When Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) saw what the House had wrought, he said he was “gravely concerned that the changes that have been made to the House version of this bill have watered it down so far that it fails to protect Americans from suspicionless mass surveillance.”

Not surprisingly, the White House endorsed the watered-down version of the bill:

The Administration strongly supports … the USA Freedom Act…. The Administration applauds and appreciates the strong bipartisan effort that led to the formulation of this bill, which heeds the President’s call on this important issue.

The bill ensures our intelligence and law enforcement professionals have the authorities they need to protect the Nation, while further ensuring that individuals’ privacy is appropriately protected.

Especially grievous is the power that continues to be granted to the so-called FISA “court.” This is the secret court that first came to light when Edward Snowden in 2013 leaked a top-secret order issued by the court requiring a subsidiary of Verizon to provide a daily, on-going feed of all call detail records — including those for domestic calls — to the NSA. As Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at Stanford Law School, explained,

The Administration and the intelligence community believe they can do whatever they want, regardless of the laws Congress passes, so long as they can convince one of the judges appointed to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to agree. This isn’t the rule of law. This is a coup d’etat.

Leahy’s bill allegedly will tighten up the House bill somewhat, creating a “special advocate” for liberty at the FISA courts, and limiting the NSA from vacuuming up data from an entire zip code or all the records from a communications service provider. It also declassifies some of those FISA court orders which have remained sealed and protected from public view. In its tentative support for Leahy’s new offering, Nadia Kayyall of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), said,

The legislation may not completely end suspicionless surveillance … it allows the NSA to get a second set of records (a second “hop”) with an undefined “direct connection” to the first specific selection term.

Because the “direct connection” standard is vague, the government may seek to construe that phrase to mean less than reasonable suspicion.

Translation: The NSA, under Leahy’s new stronger, tighter, more restrictive language, may continue to do whatever it pleases in collecting and storing for later use all private communications from Americans.

Leahy’s bill will probably never see the light of day in this congress and will have to be reintroduced in the next session if anything is to be done to rein in the NSA’s collection of data. In the meantime, the NSA’s vacuuming of innocent Americans’ private communication continues unabated.

 

 

Brooklyn Congresswoman “Threatened” by GOA’s Larry Pratt

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, July 25, 2014:

English: Larry Pratt at a political conference...

Larry Pratt at a political conference in Reno, Nevada.

Following publication of a blatant hit piece by Rolling Stone on Gun Owners of America (GOA) Executive Director Larry Pratt on July 14, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), representing New York City’s boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn, felt personally threatened, and called the cops. Maloney’s staff called the Capitol Police and the House sergeant-at-arms, Paul Irving, to say that Pratt’s comments published by Rolling Stone could be taken as a

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Review: America: Imagine a World Without Her (book and film)

This review first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, July 24, 2014:

Statue of Liberty

Dinesh D’Souza’s movie America: Imagine the World Without Her, co-produced and directed by John Sullivan and Gerald Molen, is based on his book with the same title and, like his previous offering, 2016: Obama’s America, is filled with nuggets of pure gold. However, just like his previous effort, it takes some effort to mine them and to separate them from the iron pyrite — fools’ gold — that often misleads and distracts the reader and viewer.

His book was released in early June and its initial popularity was unintentionally enhanced by Costco’s decision to pull the book from its stores followed by its awkward reversal to restore it to those same stores. D’Souza’s first film was the second-highest grossing political documentary of all time, while his present effort, released over Independence Day weekend, is already in seventh place, and climbing.

His distractions begin with his title. At no time in either his book or his movie does he answer the question of how the world would look without America’s influence. His first chapter is inaccurately titled as well: Suicide of a Nation. A suicide is self-inflicted, a deliberate purposeful effort to end one’s life. This title assumes that the average American is deliberately immolating his country by ignoring his responsibility as an informed voter in a constitutional republic.

D’Souza quickly corrects that initial idea, however, by focusing his attention on both the myths and the machinations of the disciples of destruction who are deliberately weakening the country by deceiving those voters. D’Souza might have titled his book America: Imagine a World Without Saul Alinsky and Howard Zinn, but that probably wouldn’t have garnered the audience or the coveted A+ rating it received from CinemaScope.

There are other difficulties that need to be exposed before this review can begin in earnest. Underlying D’Souza’s work is the assumption that Progressives want to punish America for its alleged theft: for its stealing of land from Mexico and Native Americans, for its eternal meddling in the Middle East to secure its oil, for its co-opting of the labor from its slaves in the 19th century, for its looting of resources from poor countries around the world. At no time, however, does D’Souza acknowledge the real purpose behind efforts to bring down America’s standard of living: to comfortably submerge the United States into the New World Order. There is no mention of the influence of foundations such as Ford, Carnegie, or Rockefeller. The world-government-promoting Council on Foreign Relations garners not a single reference in either the book or the movie. Thus, the “punishment” meme is a distraction away from the Progressives’ real intentions.

D’Souza repeats the myth that the Civil War was fought primarily to end slavery, and that Obama absorbed most of his colonialist-oppressive worldview from his father, when instead it came from hard-core communist Frank Marshall Davis. D’Souza claims that America is the “first country in history to be based on invention and trade” without any explanation as to why. He fails to explain the vital and fundamental roles the rule of law, enforcement of contracts, private property, and especially that of a limited government that allowed people to write their own ticket to their futures.

That being said, there is much useful for those involved in the freedom fight, including responses to claims made by Progressives that America is guilty of massive theft and needs to be punished. Early on he makes clear his intentions and purposes:

I intend to turn the progressive critique on its head. [Progressives] are not on the side of the ordinary citizen, because their policies lead to stagnation, impoverishment, indebtedness, and decline — all in evidence today.

It is progressives who rely on government seizure and bureaucratic conquest to achieve their goals and increase their power….

I intend to blow the whistle on these people, starting with Obama and continuing with Hillary Clinton and the whole progressive menagerie.

For instance, he rebuts the claims that America stole vast territory from native Americans without remuneration or guilt:

The Indians have gotten a bad deal. At the same time, we should be clear about what the alternatives are.… You say, “Give us back the Black Hills,” You point out that there is uranium and other minerals in those hills, and now that land is worth a fortune. Once again, no Indian tribe knew how to mine uranium and no Indian tribe knew what to do with uranium if they had it.

Other Americans have added value to the Black Hills by figuring out how to tap its resources, and now the Indians want the land back so they can take advantage of what others have figured out how to do.

He dismisses claims that America stole Mexican territory:

After the [Mexican-American War ended in 1848], the United States immediately recognized as valid the property rights of Mexicans who were now part of U.S. territory. The change was not in any individual’s land ownership but in the fact that people who were once Mexicans now became Americans.

While progressives deplore American aggression … what we do know is that the vast majority of Mexicans who ended up on the American side of the border, following the Mexican War, never attempted to return to Mexico. And neither have their descendants.

His response on the big screen is even more convincing, showing that following the war the United States essentially owned all of Mexico, but gave half of it back. It also paid $15 million to the government of Mexico and assumed some $3 million of debt that government owed to American citizens. So much for colonialism, according to D’Souza.

As far as slavery is concerned, D’Souza was equally candid:

Did America owe something to the slaves whose labor had been stolen? … That debt … is best discharged through memory, because the slaves are dead and their descendants are better off as a consequence of their ancestors being hauled from Africa to America.

He enlists the help of Muhammad Ali to make his point. As D’Souza noted in both his book and movie, following one of his most famous fights in the 1970s held in Zaire, Ali was asked: “Champ, what did you think of Africa?” Said Ali: “Thank God my granddaddy got on that boat!”

D’Souza also makes a compelling point by bringing to light some history that Progressives ignore: that there were black slave owners oppressing their slaves in addition to white owners.

He successfully enlists the help in both his book and the film of Alexis de Tocqueville, who highlighted his astonishment as he observed the American experiment in person in the early 1800s. He noted that people considered themselves equal to everyone else, that it was a voluntary society where people helped other people, and no one ran to the government for assistance. De Tocqueville considered the Christian religion as foundational to political freedom while noting that slavery degrades the work ethic: It makes slave owners lazy, as well as the slaves, as neither has the incentive to engage in work.

Another of D’Souza’s nuggets is his revelation that the first female millionaire in the United States was black: Sarah Breedlove, otherwise known as Madam C. J. Walker, the founder of Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company, a maker of beauty and hair products for black women. In a lengthy clip, D’Souza had a black actress play the part of Breedlove in encouraging other black women to get involved in her company. It was something right out of an Amway recruiting presentation! Over and over again, Breedlove, born a slave but emancipated in 1865, reiterated the American promise: Given the opportunity, anyone in America can make their own future.

D’Souza spent the balance of the 100-minute long film exposing two of the prime movers behind the Progressive lies, Howard Zinn and Saul Alinsky. Zinn, a hard-core communist, authored A Peoples’ History of the United States which has sold more than two million copies and is required reading at colleges across the land. Zinn described his goal in writing it elsewhere as “not a revolution in the classical sense of a seizure of power, but rather from people beginning to take power from within the institutions.”

D’Souza outed Saul Alinsky in two riveting revelations. The first of these was Alinsky’s devotion to Lucifer as the first radical, dedicating his book Rules for Radicals to him:

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer

The second was D’Souza’s revelation that Alinsky was mentored in his youth by Frank Nitti, best known as Al Capone’s “enforcer” and later the front man for the Chicago Outfit following Capone’s incarceration. Alinsky learned firsthand from Nitti just how extortion worked thanks to Nitti’s vast experience in prostitution, gambling, control of labor unions, and blackmailing of the Hollywood film industry.

D’Souza traced the links in his film from Zinn and Alinsky to Obama and Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately the flow charts briefly shown on the screen weren’t reproduced in his book, but his intention is clear: Obama is a disciple of Alinsky who was a disciple of Nitti, all of whom are disciples of the Great Deceiver Himself.

For those not involved in the freedom fight, the book and the movie on which it is based might be a bit much to digest in one sitting. Happily, evidence and proof is available not only in the copious notes provided by D’Souza for each chapter, but also from The John Birch Society (jbs.org).

In this reviewer’s opinion D’Souza has created a good work, despite its flaws, and will help those long involved in that fight with new insights, new revelations, and new responses to old tired charges that America was built on theft.

 

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D’Souza Should have Named it America: Imagine a World Without Zinn and Alinsky

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, July 23, 2014:

Saul Alinsky

Saul Alinsky

After viewing the movie and reading the book entitled America: Imagine a World without Her, one is inclined to suggest a new title. For starters, D’Souza, the author and producer of his first film 2016: Obama’s America, never explains what the world would look like without America’s presence. That is left up to the reader and viewer. He starts off badly, as well, naming his first chapter Suicide of Nation. This presumes that American citizens are doing themselves in deliberately, with malice aforethought.

But, as D’Souza shortly points out, that is hardly the case. There are evil forces afoot attempting to

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Tennessee Restaurant Welcomes Guns — Holstered “Unless Need Arises”

 This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 21, 2014:  
Colt clone in 45 cal. with Fastdraw Holster

Colt clone in 45 cal. with Fastdraw Holster

When Sharma Floyd, owner of Shiloh Brew and Chew in Maryville, Tennessee, read about a shooting at a convenience store in North Carolina that had posted a sign on its front door banning guns on the premises, she considered it both a warning and an opportunity:

They had put up a sign that said “No Weapons Allowed” and they were robbed at gunpoint two days later. The … store manager was shot.

And that got me thinking.

First, she determined that, while she herself doesn’t own a gun, her customers certainly had a right to do so if they wished. Second, she had lost some business to a large group of motorcyclists “because they thought I didn’t allow weapons. But I believe it’s ok to carry as long as you have a permit.”

Third, she decided how best to make her position clear. She posted the following sign:

 

 

Guns are welcome on premises.

Please keep ALL weapons holstered unless need arises.

In such case, judicious marksmanship is appreciated!

Thank you. Shiloh Management.

Almost immediately she began to get not only positive feedback but also a boost in business:

I can honestly say I have gotten way more support than the one person who really gave me a lot of grief over it.

I have had so many customers take pictures of the sign, ask to meet me in person, and thank me.

Perhaps without knowing it, Floyd borrowed the language for her sign from Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado, owned by Lauren Boebert. Boebert posted her sign months earlier, and business grew so much that it caught the attention of the Daily News, USA Today, and Denver’s 9News. Boebert goes one step further: Her waitresses openly carry while on duty, and they’re trained to protect themselves if necessary. When asked if this was just for show, Boebert was firm in her denial: “[The guns are] real and they’re loaded and we know what we are doing. I fear for anyone who tries to rob us.”

She added:

We encourage [carrying] and customers love that they can come here and express their rights.

This country was founded on our freedom. People can come in carrying their gun, and they can pray over their food.

Her establishment even offers gun safety classes once a month for those customers who don’t carry, but want to.

Over the last year a few major chains have been targeted (pun intended!) by anti-gun groups for allowing their customers to carry while shopping, drinking coffee, or eating, with modest success. Target, Starbucks, and Chipotle have each announced that they “respectfully request” that those who carry guns leave their sidearms outside. In each case the language of the announcements was carefully crafted so as to offend as few people as possible. This example from Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, will suffice:

In recent months, Starbucks stores and our partners who work in our stores have been thrust unwillingly into the middle of this debate. That’s why I am writing today with a respectful request that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outside seating areas.

In each case it was a “request” and not a “demand,” leaving the option to carry open to their customers, or to shop elsewhere. As noted elsewhere, this is perfectly consistent with all freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

Some have started having regrets over making such requests. Just a month ago, Jack in the Box restaurants announced its “preference” that customers leave their firearms outside:

Creating a warm and inviting environment for all of our guests and employees is a top priority for Jack in the Box. The presence of guns inside a restaurant could create an uncomfortable situation for our guests and employees and lead to unintended consequences.

While we respect the rights of all our guests, we would prefer that guests not bring their guns inside our restaurants.

The irony of that request was made clear within days at one of their stores in Houston. Customers and employees were placed into “an uncomfortable situation” with “unintended consequences” when four thugs who didn’t get the memo entered the restaurant with guns drawn and forced the customers and employees to give up their wallets and purses. What’s more, this was the third armed robbery at a Jack in the Box restaurant since the company’s announcement. Perhaps thugs can read, after all?

The vast majority of restaurant chains, however, have decided not to touch the issue, granting local franchisees the power to make a decision in line with state laws. According to CNBC, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin-Robbins, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and LongHorn Steakhouses remain “gun friendly” in states that allow them to be so. In addition, TGI Friday’s, Subway, and Cheesecake Factory also allow customers to carry concealed if they so desire.

Pro-gun groups are springing up to help gun owners find restaurants that are friendly. There’s the Tennessee Firearms Association (TFA), whose members have canvassed most of western Tennessee and confirmed that Olive Garden, Lonestar, Picasso’s, Chili’s, O’Charley’s, Red Lobster, and Red Robin all are happy to seat gun owners and greet them with a smile.

There’s Brian Crosswhite, the owner of Cajun Experience in Leesburg, Virginia, who has just opened a website — 2Amendment.org — with the intention of having gun-friendly businesses sign up and receive a “2AO – 2014” sticker for their front door. In addition, gun owners are able to use an iPhone app to find local establishments friendly to their interests.

Crosswhite is also taking advantage of the current furor over guns in restaurants by offering his customers an “Open Carry Wednesday” where those with permits get 10-percent off regular menu prices.

Leave it to entrepreneurs to see an advantage and press forward with it. Whether with clever signage, stickers, apps, or just plain word-of-mouth, restaurateurs are taking advantage of the free market to continue to serve their customers. The current debate is only helping things along.

 

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The New Third Rail: Cutting Government Spending

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 14, 2014:

 

Historical government spending in the United S...

Historical government spending in the United States from 1902 to 2010

Back in February the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the deficit for the 2014 fiscal year would be $514 billion, or about 3 percent of the total economic output of the country. Since this was a nearly 27 percent drop from last year, the implication is that all is well, nothing to see here, move along please. After all, the perception has been that the White House has been spending money faster than at any time in history, running up deficits and the national debt to staggering levels. Half a trillion? Is that all? Pocket change!

Greg Valliere, the chief political strategist for the Potomac Research Group, said at the time that this guaranteed that there would be no pressure for any sort of entitlement reform this year. Jack Lew, Obama’s Treasury Secretary, said the numbers bought some time: “We have a little time to deal with the long term.”

Last week both the White House and the CBO revised downward even further the expected deficit, with Obama taking full credit for the result:

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Texas 7, California Nothing

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 9, 2014:

Moving Day.

Moving to Texas from California

One would think the good doctor is running for Congress from Texas, but he’s not. He’s running to boot a hard-left Democrat who’s been representing the 24th District in California for 15 years by touting all the good things Texas has been doing compared to California. In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Brad Allen, a pediatric heart surgeon from Paso Robles, wrote:

As a Californian, I am pained to say that three of the nation’s five fastest-growing cities – and seven of the top 15 – are in Texas.

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Texas Beats California: No Income Tax, Booming Economy, Friendly Folks

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, July 8, 2014:

texas our texas

Texas, Our Texas!

Following Toyota’s announcement April 28 that it would be consolidating its three American business headquarters and moving them from California to a new $300-million campus in Plano, Texas, the debate over why has heated up once again. Toyota follows Occidental Petroleum (which is leaving Los Angeles for Houston, after being there for a hundred years), Raytheon (which is moving its El Segundo headquarters to McKinney, Texas), and Legal Zoom (the largest legal-issues website in the world, which has already moved from Los Angeles to Austin). In the past 18 months more than 50 companies have made the same decision to move from California to Texas.

Some say it’s because of the lower cost of living in Texas. The cost of living in Plano is about a third lower than in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area where Toyota is currently located. As calculated by the Dallas-based conservative think tank National Center for Policy Analysis, “People of all incomes will save in Texas,” according to Pamela Villarreal, a senior fellow at the institute. Some will save a little; others will save a lot by moving to Texas to keep their jobs with Toyota. As Villarreal explained, the calculation takes into account property taxes “which are pretty high in Texas” — about twice what they are in California for equivalently priced homes. Once real estate taxes are factored in, a single woman in Texas making $75,000 a year will have about $14,000 more in discretionary income than she would if she lived in California, but married workers making $150,000 a year who move from California to Texas would not see as dramatic a jump in discretionary income.

The Manhattan Institute says it makes sense for California companies to make the move to Texas, owing to California’s high taxes, oppressive regulations, expensive electricity, union influence, and the high cost of labor. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the cost per kilowatt-hour for commercial establishments in California is 13.11 cents while it’s only 8.2 cents in Texas — a saving of almost 40 percent. For industrial users, the savings are even greater: 10.72 cents per KWH in California versus just 5.86 cents in Texas. That cuts a heavy user’s energy bill in Texas nearly in half. Advantage: Texas

The advantage enjoyed by Texas is reflected in the states’ comparative economic growth rates: nearly four percent last year in Texas versus half that in California. In job growth, Texas regained the jobs it lost during the Great Recession by May of 2011 while California just made it back to even by May of this year — a three-year difference in favor of Texas. Since May 2011, Texas has added more than a million new jobs, while California has added barely 25,000 new jobs since this past May. Advantage: Texas

According to the blog 24/7 Wall Street, Texas ranks eighth among the country’s most quickly growing states with GDP growth jumping by $1.5 trillion in 2013. Its population continues to grow as well, with unemployment below the national average. California is well off the pace. Advantage: Texas

Bradley Allen, a pediatric heart surgeon in Paso Robles, just announced his candidacy for Congress in California’s 24th district, and in the process noted the difference between California and Texas in an opinion article at the Wall Street Journal: “Texas has no state income tax, while California’s 13.3% marginal rate is the highest in the country. Electricity rates are about 50%-88% higher compared to Texas due to the Golden State’s renewable-energy mandate, and its gas is 70-80 cents per gallon more expensive because of taxes.” Advantage: Texas

Allen’s opponent is incumbent Lois Capps, who sports a dismal Freedom Index rating of just 21 out of 100 on constitutional issues. Out of California’s 53 congressional districts, 18 of them have FI ratings of 20 or lower, while just one has an FI rating of 80 or higher. In Texas, by contrast, just three representatives have a rating of 20 or less out of the state’s 36 districts, with one, Rep. Steve Stockman, holding an FI rating of 95. Advantage: Texas

One of the best measures of the difference between the two states is just how much a Californian would have to pay to move his family to Texas. In November 2012, a Californian living in San Francisco would pay $1,693 to rent a 20-foot U-Haul truck and drive it San Antonio. On the other hand, a Texan in San Antonio moving to San Francisco would pay just $893 for the same truck. (Since then the numbers have become even more favorable: A Californian moving his family on August 1 from San Francisco to San Antonio would have to pay $1,890 for the same truck while a Texan moving the other way would pay only $737.) Advantage: Texas

However, David Horsey, writing for the Baltimore Sun, noted that Californians moving to Texas will leave an awful lot behind:

California has Silicon Valley and Hollywood. Texas has oil and gas.

California has Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi. Texas has Ted Cruz and Louie Gohmert.

In California, billionaires get taxed more to pay for programs for the poor. In Texas, billionaires get to keep their money, and the poor go without health care.

[California Governor Jerry] Brown got voters to approve a tax hike to balance the budget and fund education. [Texas Governor Rick] Perry balanced the budget by slashing spending on education.

In lots of places in California, it’s tough to live on a middle class family budget. In lots of places in Texas, it’s hard to live outside a church-going, football-loving, white, heterosexual lifestyle.

Absence of snarky, politically correct, bitter liberals. Advantage: Texas.

 

Obama: A Law unto Himself

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, July 2, 2014:

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Events of recent months have clearly revealed Barack Obama for what he is: a revolutionary progressive determined to change the United States into a fascist system of controls over every aspect of a citizen’s life. In spite of a recent series of events that would have humiliated and shamed a less committed totalitarian into silence and withdrawal, Obama instead has pressed on with his agenda.

On Saturday, in his weekly press conference, Obama announced that he was taking things into his own hands:

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Obama to “Go It Alone” on Immigration Reform

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, July 1, 2014:

 

English: The logo of U.S. Citizenship and Immi...

Speaking at the White House Rose Garden on Monday, President Obama said that because of the House’s refusal even to consider last year’s Senate bill on immigration reform (informally called “pathway to citizenship”), he is going to do it on his own:

I don’t prefer executive action. I prefer permanent fixes to the problems we face. I would love nothing more [than] for bipartisan legislation to be put on my desk so I can sign it. I take executive action only when we have a serious problem and when Congress chooses to do nothing.

In this situation, the failure to pass a darn bill is bad for security, the economy, and the future. So while I will continue to push House Republicans to drop the excuses and act. Americans cannot wait forever.

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Colorado Gun Laws Constitutional, Says U.S. District Judge

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, June 27, 2014:

In Search of the Second Amendment

On Thursday, a federal judge upheld Colorado’s new gun-control laws that mandate background checks for all gun sales and limit magazine capacity to 15 rounds. U.S. District Chief Judge Marcia Krieger issued her 50-page ruling on the 2013 laws after a two-week civil trial in late March and early April in Denver.

The lawsuit was originally filed by plaintiffs including sheriffs, gun shops, outfitters, and shooting ranges. Krieger ruled last year that the sheriffs could not sue the state in their official capacities but they could join the lawsuit as private citizens.

In her ruling, Judge Krieger (who was appointed to the position in 2001 by then-President George W. Bush) made clear from the beginning that she wasn’t going to rule on whether or not the new laws made sense:

A court does not act as a super-legislature to determine the wisdom or workability of legislation. Instead, it determines only whether legislation is constitutionally permissible….

The judge just only compares the public policy adopted by the legislature against the constitutional minimums that protect individual rights….

This Court will not express a qualitative opinion as to whether a law is “good” or “bad,” “wise” or “unwise,” “sound policy” or a “hastily-considered overreaction.”

After determining that most of the plaintiffs had standing to sue, she focused her attention on the impact that limiting magazine capacities would have on both criminal shooters and law-abiding citizens:

Plaintiffs argue that by limiting magazines to 15 rounds or less, this statute impairs an individual’s Second Amendment “right of self-defense.” Colorado reflexively responds that because people can still defend themselves, no Second Amendment right is impaired.

She then notes that the offending laws do not directly regulate firearms at all, but only the size of the magazines that feed them:

Because [the magazine limit law] regulates only the number of rounds in a magazine, it does not affect whether the semiautomatic firearm can be used, or even whether it can be used in a semiautomatic mode. It only affects how often it must be reloaded.

She said the scope of the law is universal but its impact is not severe enough to render it unconstitutional:

This ban applies to every person in Colorado, in every venue, and for every use, including self-defense inside and outside of the home.

It impacts a large number of semiautomatic firearms, both handguns and rifles. Viewed in this light, the scope of the statute is broad, and it touches the core of an individual right guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

But because its impact on that right is so minor, the judge said, she overlooked it as any kind of impediment to the government’s overriding interest in “public safety”:

Despite such broad scope, however, the statute’s impact on a person’s ability to keep and bear (use) firearms for the purpose of self-defense is not severe….

Thus, this statute does not prevent the people of Colorado from possessing semiautomatic weapons for self-defense, or from using those weapons as they are designed to function. The only limitation imposed is how frequently they must reload their weapons.

She decided that the “pause” (when a criminal shooter runs out of ammunition during an attack in order to reload gives his victims time to run away and hide while giving more time for armed officials to intervene) was a distinct advantage of the new law. She failed to mention that the alleged invented shooter in her scenario wasn’t likely to limit himself under the new law. Instead, she concentrated on how limiting magazines to 15 rounds would scarcely impact an honest citizen’s ability to defend himself: “No evidence presented here suggests that the general ability of a person to defend him or herself is seriously diminished if magazines are limited to 15 rounds.”

Besides, she wrote, most “incidents” involved criminals intending mayhem are resolved without any shots being fired:

First, the defensive purpose of firearms is often achieved without shots being fired whatsoever. Mr. [Massad] Ayoob [an expert witness called for the plaintiffs in the case] testified that, often, merely the defensive display of a firearm is sufficient to defuse the threat….

In these types of circumstances, a restriction on a magazine size in no way diminishes the ability of the firearm user to defend him or herself.

Therefore, wrote the judge, the modest infringement of a Second Amendment right is acceptable:

The Court finds that although [the law limiting magazines to 15 rounds] burdens the operation of semiautomatic weapons, the burden is not severe because it does not materially reduce the ability of a person to use a semiautomatic firearm for self-defense, not does it reduce the effectiveness of self-defensive efforts.

One wonders if our nation’s Founders would be impressed with the argument that infringements of the Second Amendment are allowed because they are modest.

Krieger made short work of another complaint, that background checks required in all private transactions are unconstitutional. She noted that the plaintiffs didn’t really make that argument at all, but instead focused on temporary transfers being hampered unnecessarily:

Plaintiffs do not argue that requiring background checks for the private sale of firearms is unconstitutional. Rather, they focus their challenge on the effect of the statute on temporary transfers [i.e., loans] when ownership of the firearm does not change.

But since the Second Amendment and other court rulings have failed to address the issue of such temporary transfers of a firearm from an owner to a borrower, therefore it doesn’t count:

It is not at all clear that the Second Amendment prevents the government from restricting the ability of persons to acquire firearms via temporary loans from others….

Logically, if the government can lawfully regulate the ability of persons to obtain firearms from commercial dealers, the same power to regulate should extend to non-commercial [private] transactions, lest the loophole swallow the regulatory purpose.

Upon learning of the decision, the plaintiffs had plenty to say about it. The Colorado State Shooting Association, one of the plaintiffs in the suit, called it “disappointing on many levels” and asserted that the ruling missed the whole point concerning the Second Amendment:

The significance of the Second Amendment as a core portion of the Bill of Rights and its importance has virtually no reference in the decision. Most noteworthy was the court’s focus on the important government interest at hand while ignoring the complete absence of support for [it] in the legislative record.

Weld County Sheriff John Cooke, a leader among the plaintiffs, added:

While we respect the judge’s ruling today, we believe that it is plainly wrong on the law and on the facts….

[The laws] are still unenforceable. And that is borne out in that there has not been one arrest on these two laws to date.

The ruling was not without its supporters, however. State Senator Mary Hodge, a Democrat from Thornton and a sponsor of the bills, remarked:

This is public safety. Having people have to pause to reload [during a mass shooting] saves lives. These school shooters, for the most part, did not know how to reload their weapons, so this limit on large-capacity magazines is good.

Eileen McCarron, head of the anti-gun Colorado Ceasefire Capitol Fund, said the lawsuit was a waste of time and money:

This was a politically motivated lawsuit that has been grasping at straws from day one. These laws are reasonable protections against gun violence that many states have adopted and have repeatedly passed the test of constitutionality.

And Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, whose office defended the laws, said he was just doing his job:

Like Judge Krieger, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office has never asserted that the laws in question are good, wise or sound policy. As it does in all cases, the AG’s Office has fulfilled its responsibility to defend the constitutionality of the Colorado law[s] in question. The Attorney General’s Office fully expects the case to be appealed and looks forward to final resolution of the issues as soon as possible.

If left to stand upon appeal, Judge Krieger’s ruling illustrates just how our fundamental rights given by God and guaranteed by the Constitution are lost: an inch at a time. Krieger, in her ruling, failed to address the word “infringe,” which could have shed more light on the rights she was allowing to be compromised. “Infringe” means to violate, transgress, encroach, or trespass. The Latin root infringere means “to break” or “weaken.” In that light, the laws just ruled constitutional by her court remain unconstitutional after all.

One awaits the appeal with eager anticipation.

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Lawsuit to be Filed Against Teacher Tenure rules in New York

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, June 26, 2014: 

 

Classroom in the Afternoon

Classroom in the Afternoon

Following the widely hailed victory over California’s egregious teacher tenure rules in court earlier this month, another group is bringing suit in New York to challenge similar rules. Called the Partnership for Educational Justice, it has enlisted pro bono efforts from Jay Lefkowitz, a skilled and capable litigator with previous victories against teacher unions under his belt.

The lawsuit will challenge laws that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu ruled to be unconstitutional in California, namely,

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Establishment Republicans Secure Leadership roles Following Cantor’s Defeat

English: Official portrait of Congressman Kevi...

English: Official portrait of Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA22) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Almost immediately following the surprise defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor the Republican Party moved quickly to fill his slot with clones of Cantor: Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) who will take McCarthy’s spot. The change will take place when Cantor officially relinquishes his seat in July 31.

The media was full of references to “conservative” in describing the two new faces, including The Hill which referred to the “conservative Rep. Steve Scalise to replace McCarthy as majority whip” while noting his chairmanship of the “conservative Republican Study Committee” which he used “as a springboard to the party leadership position.” The Hill only made passing reference to the “handful of members who have long opposed Boehner and his leadership team.”

The Washington Times concluded that all is well now that the leadership of the House remains firmly in control of establishment Republican figures:

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House Investigator Issa Subpoenas Lois Lerner’s hard drive

Rose Mary Woods (1917-2005), Richard Nixon's s...

Rose Mary Woods (1917-2005), Richard Nixon’s secretary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Earlier this week Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, subpoenaed the hard drive from Lois Lerner’s computer that allegedly crashed – along with those of six other IRS personnel – in August 2011. He wanted everything, including “all hard drives, external drives, thumb drives and computers” plus “all [other] electronic communications devices the IRS issued to Lois G. Lerner.”

When asked about the matter, an IRS “spokesman” told Politico:

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.