11 September 2010
15 August 2010
10 August 2010
By John R. Lott Jr. as posted on Big Government.com
People walking the streets armed with guns must be dangerous, right? The Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center keep claiming that even those individuals who have legally obtained permits to carry concealed handguns are extremely dangerous. With millions of Americans already having been issued such permits from the various states, this is an important issue.
The gun control organizations have frequently made these claims in the press. The Associated Press articles by Erik Schelzig and by Jim Abrams have given extensive, uncritical coverage. Members of the gun control organizations have made these claims unchallenged on such places as Fox News and on the Huffington Post. But the gun control advocates inaccurately describe many shooting cases, choosing to ignore that the majority of incidents involve people properly defending themselves.
Over the past three years, the number of active permit holders in the United States has gone from about 5 million to more than 6.2 million today. The numbers issued by the state regulatory agencies show time after time that these permit holders abide by the law.
Take Florida, which currently has the most concealed handgun permit holders in the country and is one of the two most populous states with right-to-carry laws. Between Oct. 1, 1987, and May 31 this year, permits had been issued to 1.8 million people. On average, the permits had been held for quite a long time, well over 10 years. For all those individuals across the more than 22 years of legal carry, there were only 167 cases where the permit was revoked for a firearms related violation, or about 0.01 percent of permit holders. While the state doesn’t provide a precise breakdown of the reason for those revocations, the vast majority were apparently for people who accidentally carried their concealed handgun into a gun-free zone, such as an airport or school.
Throughout the past 30 months, beginning January 2008, only three additional permit holders have had their permit revoked for a firearms-related violation. With more than 739,000 active permit holders, that is an annual revocation rate of 0.00017 percent.
In sharp contrast, the Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center portray Florida as Ground Zero for problems with concealed handgun permit holders. They boldly assert that 17 Florida permit holders have “killed” people with their guns over the past three years and that this one state by itself accounts for 17 of the 96 “killer” permit holders nationwide. The other 79 cases are scattered across 26 other states, with no other state accounting for more than 10 cases. Florida is also said to account for 2 of the 7 cases where permit holders are said to have killed law enforcement officers.
So what is the evidence? The gun control groups don’t actually point to actual court cases. They look at news stories and selectively report what is reported in those stories. For Florida, there are eleven “pending cases.” The gun control groups assume that anyone involved in a shooting will be convicted. Indeed, in 7 of the 11 cases no one was even charged with a crime. Three cases involved suicides, and three had convictions for some type of offense. (See this link for a detailed presentation of sources.)
But there is something that the gun control advocates conveniently omit: When a permit holder uses a gun defensively and kills an attacker in a public place, the police often arrest them. Typically, he will later be released, but the police must first investigate what happened. The police can’t just take the shooter’s word for it that they used the gun defensively.
Take the four pending cases where charges were filed, two of which involved the “killing” of law enforcement.
– Humberto Delgado, Jr. was charged with the death of a police officer. Delgado obviously engaged in a horrible crime, but there is one major problem with the stories as presented by the gun control groups. He also was charged with carrying a concealed firearm. If he had a concealed handgun permit, he obviously couldn’t have been charged with this crime. Delgado was just your typical criminal, who didn’t have a permit, who killed a police officer.
– James Wonder was charged with the death of an off-duty Customs and Border Protection Agent Donald Pettit. Pettit is said to have engaged in road rage against Wonder and then followed Wonder’s car into a Post Office parking lot solely to continue harassing Wonder. Pettit had over shot the parking lot and had to circle back to go into it. He had no intention to do business with either the Post Office or any other nearby business. Pettit was clearly the aggressor in the situation. The Sun-Sentinel newspaper wrote on August 29, 2008: “local lawyers said [Wonder] may be able to make a strong claim under Florida law that he was within his rights to shoot Pettit.” One measure of the severity of the case is that Wonder was released on a very minimal bond of $10,000. Neither the Brady Campaign nor the Violence Policy Center noted these points in their discussion of the case.
– Gabriel Mobley shot two people outside a bar, and the gun control groups’ discussions fail to mention the defensive nature of Mobley’s actions. A friend of Mobley’s had an argument with two other men in a bar. Mr. Mobley separated the men, but the two waited outside and Mobley’s lawyer, Richard Della Ferra, told me that they pounced on Mobley and his friend as soon as they left the bar. Witnesses saw one of the two attackers throw a punch that shattered the friend’s eye socket. Mobley says that he shot when he thought one of the two men was reaching for a weapon, and police found the DNA of one of the men on a steak knife at the scene.
– On January 7, 2008, Adam Hill was accused of accidentally firing his gun, the bullet fatally striking a friend while the friend had visited Hill to use his washing machine. Since the case has yet to go to trial, the law office that is representing Hill was unwilling to discuss the case, but they did say that the news articles did not accurately represent what had happened in the case. The law office representing Hill in his legal case emphasized to me in a telephone discussion that news articles on these cases can be quite misleading because defense lawyers warn their clients not to talk to others about their case, including the press.
Two of the three convictions in Florida are quite different than what gun control groups represent. One involved a boyfriend who accidentally shot his girlfriend when he was showing her how to use a gun in her home. There was no evidence of arguing or any disagreement. In another case, the issue was whether the permit holder had done enough to avoid the confrontation. A convicted felon confronted the permit holder. According to newspaper accounts, even the prosecutor acknowledged: “Kallenbach was in some way defending himself during an escalating altercation between the men caught on the security video” and that “People can look at that tape and interpret it two or three different ways.”
While this discussion focuses on Florida, the just released third edition of More Guns, Less Crime provides a detailed analysis for all states from 1990 to July 1, 2008. In state after state, permit holders are extremely law-abiding. In Arizona, there were 99,370 active permits as of December 1, 2007. During 2007, 33 permits were revoked for any reason — a 0.03 percent rate. In Texas, there were 288,909 active permit holders. Of these, 160 were convicted of either a misdemeanor or a felony, a rate of 0.05 percent. That is about one-seventh the conviction rate in the general adult population, and the convictions among permit holders are for much less serious offenses.
I went to some other cases from the gun control groups after July 1, 2008. In two of the other five killings involving law-enforcement, it also appears as if the person who fired a gun didn’t have a concealed handgun permit. In one case, in Pennsylvania, Christina Korbe fired a shot killing a police officer when police raided her home. The police were serving an arrest warrant on her husband, and she didn’t know it was the police who were breaking into her home, and she was concerned about the safety of her two children, ages 4 and 10.
The Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center evaluate the benefits of concealed handgun laws based solely on the claimed costs — they don’t compare the cases where defensive uses occurred to the bad things that happen, but only count what they claim are the bad cases. They ignore lots of amazing defensive gun use cases. But even more bizarrely, they count legitimate self-defense cases as bad events even when no charges are filed or the permit holder is later exonerated.
08 August 2010
06 August 2010
By Vin Suprynowicz
Mayor defends gun law with bayonet? As an 80-year-old Korean War veteran, his wife and great-grandson slept in their home in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago just before dawn on May 26, a would-be burglar broke in a basement window, crawled over some discarded paint buckets, and made his way up winding stairs to an enclosed porch.
The intruder tried the knob of the locked door that led to the first-floor apartment. He then turned to the oversized glass window of the 80-year-old's bedroom, pulled out his gun and fired, police and family say.
But just as the man got off a second round, the homeowner, who had a handgun of his own, fired a single shot, killing the intruder.
"He missed, (but) my daddy didn't," said the 80-year-old's son, Butch Gant, who lives upstairs.
"My father had no choice. It was him or the other guy."
The shooting came as the U.S. Supreme Court was expected to rule by the end of June on Chicago's decades-old ban on possessing handguns. During oral arguments in March, the court's majority appeared to lean toward striking down the city ordinance. That means they're expected to rule—again—that residents have a constitutional right to keep a handgun at home.
(How many times do they have to issue the same ruling before it's assumed to apply in every American city? Don't ask me.)
Chicago police have long aggressively tried to disarm the law-abiding public, saying firearms are the principal weapons used in murders and gang violence.
But the Chicago Tribune reported many in that city echoed the feelings of the victim's family that if he hadn't been armed, the encounter could have ended in their deaths.
"He saved our lives," the man's wife, 83, who had been asleep with her husband when the window shattered, told the Tribune.
Police let the Korean War veteran, who walks with the aid of a cane, go without filing immediate charges because it appeared he acted in self-defense, according to police sources.
But they took away his handgun, which he had bought after being robbed just six months earlier, vowing not to be a victim again, his family said.
The dead intruder was later identified by his family as Anthony "Big Ant" Nelson, 29, on parole since December following a three-year prison sentence for a drug conviction. Nelson had a 13-page rap sheet that includes a number of drug and weapons convictions dating to 1998, according to police and court records. He lived less than a mile from where he died.
If gun laws could do any good at all, surely they'd block ex-cons with 13-page rap sheets from going armed.
"They did the right thing," said neighbor Audrey Williams, 75, of the shooting. "If anyone tried to come in on me, I'd do the same thing." Ms. Williams described the assaulted family—whose names were withheld by police as crime victims—as "sweet people who don't bother anyone."
"How are we going to protect our homes without guns?" asked Gant, the son. "That gun law should be abolished."
Fortunately, thanks to the Illinois legislature's override of indicted Gov. Rod Blagojevich's veto of state Senate Bill 2165 in November, 2004, the Army veteran should not face prosecution, report Alan Gottlieb and Dave Workman of the Bellevue, Wash.-based Second Amendment Foundation.
That was the "Hale DeMar" act, which protects homeowners who shoot in self-defense even if there's a local ordinance against handgun possession.
DeMar shot a burglar in his Wilmette home and was initially charged for violating that community's handgun ban, but public outrage forced the Cook County prosecutor to drop the charge.
"The question remains in this case whether the old gentleman will get his gun back from the police when the investigation is completed," Gottlieb and Workman note.
Shortly before this latest incident of righteous self-defense, at a May press conference, Mick Dumke, a reporter from the alternative weekly Chicago Reader, asked Chicago Mayor Richard Daley what should have been an obvious question, reports our friend John Lott at the National Review Online.
"Since guns are readily available in Chicago even with a ban in place, do you really think it's been effective?" the reporter asked.
Daley's response "wasn't very helpful," Lott, an economist, reports. "Picking up a very old rifle with a bayonet that had been turned in during one of Chicago's numerous gun buybacks, Daley blustered: 'Oh, it's been very effective. If I put this up your butt, you'll find out how effective it is. ... This gun saved many lives—it could save your life.'"
Reporters greeted Daley's outburst with a moment of stunned silence. But it wasn't Daley's answer that was important, Lott points out. "The novelty is that a reporter actually questioned Daley on whether the gun ban had failed."
Even mainstream television news is questioning the gun ban. A broadcast on Chicago's CBS-TV in May noted:
"They are law-abiding citizens in Chicago, but they are so worried about their own safety, they say they might have to break the law. The last straw was the death of Chicago Police officer Thomas Wortham IV last week. That has some African-American families in Chicago considering doing something they never would have done before: carry a pistol. CBS 2's Jim Williams reports he grew up among those families and he's never (seen) anything like it. Many Chicagoans have been upset for some time about violence here, but Wortham's murder has touched a raw nerve in the black community. Now some want to do more than simply call 911 or march for peace in the streets. They want their own gun...."
Gun ban supporters often argue their city-by-city efforts have failed to reduce crime because of the ease of getting guns in nearby jurisdictions,. Lott pointed out in a separate piece for FoxNews.com on May 25.
"Yet, even in island nations such as Ireland, the U.K., and Jamaica-all of which have imposed bans-their easily defendable borders and lack of obvious neighbors haven't stopped drug gangs from getting either drugs or the guns that they use to protect their valuable product.
"Do gun bans really stop criminals from getting guns? Americans need not look no further than the massive gun battle with armed gangs fighting police and soldiers that took place in Kingston, Jamaica today,î Lott noted. "At least 30 people were killed in the fighting. It is a huge number for a small island nation of fewer than 3 million people, but unfortunately murder is so common in Jamaica that these murders won't even be noticed in the annual crime numbers."
Jamaica wasn't always such an extremely violent country. Jamaica experienced large increases in murder rates after enacting a handgun ban in 1974. In fact, Jamaica's murder rate hasn't sunk below 10 murders per 100,000 people since the gun ban went into effect.
Taxi driver Derrick Bird drove his vehicle on a shooting spree across a tranquil stretch of northwest England on June 2, methodically killing 12 people and wounding 25 others by shooting each of them in the face with a shotgun, before turning the gun on himself, officials said.
The rampage in the county of Cumbria was Britain's deadliest mass shooting since 1996.
None of the victims had any chance to defend themselves, because England has banned the possession of handguns for self-defense. (Even rural farmers need to state a "reason" to be allowed to keep a shotgun.)
Maybe the cantankerous cabbie's victims were supposed to dash home to grab a bow and arrow (or have those been banned, too?)
The body of the suspected gunman, 52-year-old Derrick "Birdie" Bird, was found in a wooded area near Boot, in England's scenic Lake District. Police said two weapons were recovered.
Eight of the wounded were in hospitals, three in critical condition, as of the next day. Home Secretary Theresa May told the House of Commons on June 3 the British government would wait until police had finished investigating the deadly attacks before debating whether UK gun laws needed to be..."
Wait for it...
"needed to be tightened," the Home Secretary said.
What are they going to take away from law-abiding prospective English murder victims next ... scissors?
Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the daily Las Vegas Review-Journal, and author of Send in the Waco Killers and the novel The Black Arrow. See www.vinsuprynowicz.com/.
04 August 2010
THE WINNER: Attorney General Eric Holder
REASON: Failure to protect voters rights in this country. Voting is the only non-violent recourse citizens have to control this Republic. Mr. Holder is doing everything in his power to control this. Two actions in particular include his decision to ignore the Black Panther Voter Intimidation Case, and the choice to ignore the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act. Anything for his boy Obama to win a second term.
02 August 2010
With the mid-terms looming large in a year where incumbents are expected to take a beating at the polls many Democratic candidates are favoring gun rights, aiming to win endorsements or positive ratings from pro-2nd amendment groups.
University of New Hampshire Professor of Politics, Andrew Smith, says Democrats started moving away from a strong anti-gun stance in the 90's when many in the party blamed the issue on massive political losses in Congress.
"I think it started with the 1994 elections where a lot of Democrats believe it was the NRA involvement in that election which caused the Democrats to lose the House and the Senate. So they backed off that issue," said Smith.
The National Rifle Association, by far the most powerful pro-gun lobby in the country, spends massive amounts of money to protect the right to bear arms, donating cash to candidates and political action committees. While Republicans receive the majority of the organizations endorsements and money, over the last 10 years, the NRA has dramatically increased funding for Democratic candidates.
"I think finally the message hit home that it's bad politics to be on the wrong side of the 2nd amendment at election time and I think you see that reflective in what's been happening on this issue amongst Democrats in Washington, DC and state legislatures around the country." said Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association.
"Gun ownership in the country amid labor unions folks runs from a low of 48% in California to a high of 60, 70, 80% in states like Missouri, Tennessee, West Virginia. In the 2000 election, half of those union members had a firearm in their home voted for George Bush over Al Gore based on the gun issue and that cost Al Gore the presidency."
According to the center for responsive politics, a non-partisan group that tracks political spending, during the 2002 election cycle the NRA put 8% of their federal campaign contributions toward Democrats. This election cycle, they've received 26% percent.
Though the NRA has yet to release many key endorsements heading into the fall elections some major races could be affected when the word comes down. In the midst of a tough re-election campaign, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could get a boost as the NRA considers endorsing him.
In Indiana, Democratic Senate candidate Brad Ellsworth, a former sheriff, may win the organization's endorsement over Republican Dan Coats.
The slow political shift has frustrated some Democrats that have long fought for tougher gun laws, like New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, who's husband was killed in 1993 when a gunman randomly fired into a commuter train. She wishes fellow Democrats would fight the pressure exerted by the pro-gun lobby.
"They've been very open about saying... 'Carolyn, if the NRA comes against a bill, I gotta vote with the NRA.' They're not going to take that chance. I understand that," said McCarthy of her Democratic colleagues. "Does it bother me? Of course, it bothers me because I'm not trying to take away anyone's right to own a gun."
Depending on where a given candidate hails from, gun rights can be a major issue.
Take the "Live Free or Die" state of New Hampshire where hunting is popular and the 2nd amendment has long been prioritized as a critical personal liberty.
"It's a freedom issue and that's what this is about," said Mitch Kopacz, president of Gun Owners of New Hampshire. "It's the canary in the cage if you will, the firearms... for free speech and other issues. If we have firearms we still have the rest of our rights."
While a contingent of voters will cast ballots strictly adhering to which candidate supports firearm freedoms, many others will prioritize other matters.
"Because the economy is bad and when the economy is bad all other issues get pushed to the side, including the issues about guns," explains Smith. "So I think what you're seeing with Democratic candidates is that the party has moved away from that more doctrinaire position against 2nd amendment rights."
I remember s few Supreme Court nominies who where "pro-gun". I also saw how they voted in both the Keller and McDonald cases. I advise caution when a Dem with an anti-gun record becomes concerned for our gun rights all of a sudden. Yes, there are a few genuine pro-gun Dems out there. Just do your homework before you vote. If they have a pro-gun past, then they may be pro-gun. If they were pitching support for another "assault weapons" ban, then preach the virtues of the Second Amendment today, be skeptical. Remember the tale of the scorpion and the turtle.
31 July 2010
The United Nations is holding secret closed meetings to work out a global arms trade treaty. The agreement, which could be finished by 2012, is a threat to Americans' Second and First Amendment rights.
"Some type of micro-stamping regulations seems all but inevitable. It is very, very likely," the Heritage Foundation's Theodore R. Bromund, who tracks the U.N., told The Washington Times. "Restrictions on trade between private individuals are somewhat less than 50-50, but you surely can't rule that out. Some kind of gun registration and licensing system is an extremely likely probability." Registration proposals cover guns as well as individual rounds of ammunition.
The Obama administration strongly supports the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty and no doubt will use the process to push for gun-control regulations that it can't get through Congress otherwise.
A lot of baloney is floating in Turtle Bay. Gun registration is being promoted despite evidence that the costly bureaucratic system has been a complete failure in solving any crimes or stopping criminals from getting access to guns everywhere it's been tried. "None of these treaties have a relationship to reality," Mr. Bromund explains. "Terrorists are still going to have access to guns because governments give them guns, and they are still going to be able to give them guns." As an example, he pointed out, "The FARC fighting in Colombia get their guns from Venezuela."
As with everything that goes down at the U.N.'s headquarters on Manhattan's East River, America will pick up a disproportionate share of the tab to implement the treaty, with all those countries considered most "in need" taking another free ride. This is counterproductive even without the usual fraud and waste that hobble U.N. programs.
Gun rights aren't the only thing would-be globocops are targeting in the treaty. There is a U.N. discussion paper advancing "the reduction of violence in the media and in video games" as well as "sustained efforts at reeducation and reorientation of [member state] citizens." Whatever the plan, that can't be good for the First Amendment.
Any U.N. Arms Trade Treaty will undermine freedom around the world. The right to bear arms is an individual's protection against oppression anywhere. It took herculean efforts by George W. Bush's administration to thwart this U.N. power grab a few years ago. Unfortunately, we now have a left-wing White House working to make this dangerous treaty a reality.
© Copyright 2010 The Washington Times
29 July 2010
About four brigades' worth of American military personnel lost the right to have their votes count in the 2008 elections.
It now appears that the Justice Department is willing to allow many of the same 17,000 Americans fighting for us overseas to be disenfranchised once again in November. Congress and the Defense Department need to step in to ensure this doesn't happen.
Military Voter Protection Project Director M. Eric Eversole accused his former employer, the Justice Department's Voting Section, of encouraging states to use waivers to get around a law Congress passed last year to address the problems with overseas voting. The statute requires that states mail absentee ballots to military personnel at least 45 days before an election, ensuring there is sufficient time for them to reach far-flung locales and be returned by Election Day. Waiving the law effectively denies a state's soldiers, sailors and airmen the ability to exercise the most basic right of citizenship.
Sen. John Cornyn brought up Mr. Eversole's charges in a meeting Wednesday with Defense Department officials responsible for ensuring military voting rights. The Texas Republican was one of the two lead sponsors of the legislation in question.
"I was very encouraged by what the Defense Department is doing in terms of marketing the new system to military and civilian personnel overseas," Mr. Cornyn told The Washington Times, singling out Clifford L. Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, for praise. "But the bureaucracies at both the federal and state levels are agonizingly slow. And I am concerned with the process by which waivers are being granted. I want to make sure [states] aren't being granted permission not to comply with federal law."
The authors of that law intended that the waivers be used in limited circumstances and only when other measures are taken to ensure the ballots are counted on time. "I want to make sure there is not a presumption that [states] don't have to comply," Mr. Cornyn explained. Because Defense officials show deference to the legal advice provided by the Justice Department, the waiver recommendations are troubling and deserve a full and complete investigation. Mr. Cornyn urged at a minimum that Justice officials require that states provide full transparency for all waiver applications, placing the relevant documentation online for public review.
Experts agree that the 45-day requirement provides a reasonable amount of time both for states to print ballots and for military personnel to return them in time for counting. Deviations from this new system should be extremely rare and subjected to close scrutiny. Unless that happens, the reasons for suspicion regarding the Justice Department's actions will be legion.
© Copyright 2010 The Washington Times, LLC.
28 July 2010
The Department of Justice is ignoring a new law aimed at protecting the right of American soldiers to vote, according to two former DOJ attorneys who say states are being encouraged to use waivers to bypass the new federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act.
The Department of Justice is ignoring a new law aimed at protecting the right of American soldiers to vote, according to two former DOJ attorneys who say states are being encouraged to use waivers to bypass the new federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act.
The MOVE Act, enacted last October, ensures that servicemen and women serving overseas have ample time to get in their absentee ballots. The result of the DOJ's alleged inaction in enforcing the act, say Eric Eversole and J. Christian Adams — both former litigation attorneys for the DOJ’s Voting Section — could be that thousands of soldiers' ballots will arrive too late to be counted.
"It is an absolute shame that the section appears to be spending more time finding ways to avoid the MOVE Act, rather than finding ways to ensure that military voters will have their votes counted," said Eversole, director of the Military Voter Protection Project, a new organization devoted to ensuring military voting rights. "The Voting Section seems to have forgotten that it has an obligation to enforce federal law, not to find and raise arguments for states to avoid these laws."
Adams, a conservative blogger (www.electionlawcenter.com) who gained national attention when he testified against his former employer after it dropped its case against the New Black Panther Party, called the DOJ’s handling of the MOVE Act akin to “keystone cops enforcement.”
“I do know that they have adopted positions or attempted to adopt positions to waivers that prove they aren’t interested in aggressively enforcing the law,” Adams told FoxNews.com. “They shouldn’t be going to meeting with state election officials and telling them they don’t like to litigate cases and telling them that the waiver requirements are ambiguous.”
The MOVE act requires states to send absentee ballots to overseas military troops 45 days before an election, but a state can apply for a waiver if it can prove a specific "undue hardship" in enforcing it.
Sen. John Cornyn,R-Texas – who co-sponsored MOVE – wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on July 26 saying he is concerned that the Department of Justice is allowing states to opt out of the new law. Click here to read the letter.
“Military voters have been disenfranchised for decades, and last year Congress acted," Cornyn said in a statement to FoxNews.com. "But according to recent information, the Department of Justice has expressed reluctance to protect the civil rights of military voters under the new law. All our men and women in uniform deserve a chance to vote this November, and the Obama administration bears responsibility for ensuring that they have it.
“For far too long in this country, we have failed to adequately protect the right of our troops and their families to participate in our democratic process. The MOVE Act was supposed to end this sad history. The right to participate in democratic elections is fundamental to the American experience.”
In his letter to Holder, Cornyn cites minutes from the 2010 winter meeting of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), during which Rebecca Wertz, deputy chief of the DOJ's voting section, told state election officials that the legislative language regarding waivers is not completely clear. Wertz described the provisions of the law as “fairly general” and “somewhat of an open question as to what type of information” a state needs to submit in order to for their waiver application to be granted. She said it was also unclear whether waivers are for one election only, or if they apply to future elections.
According to the meeting's minutes, obtained by FoxNews.com, Wertz also said “that the DOJ is working to find effective ways to disseminate any information guidance that can help states with different questions about MOVE interpretation. She invited questions and dialogue from states, and said that litigation is always the last resort.”
Cornyn wrote, “If these are the positions of the DOJ, then they fly in the face of the clear statutory language, undermine the provisions in question, and jeopardize the voting rights of our men and women in uniform.”
He said the language of the law makes it clear that there is no ambiguity when it comes to states' eligibility for being granted a waiver, and that the statute does not leave room for the Justice Department to decide whether to enforce its requirements.
“If a state is not in compliance with the statute, there is little room for “dialogue” or negotiation, and the Voting Section should take immediate steps to enforce the law and safeguard military and overseas voting rights, including pursuing litigation whenever necessary,” Cornyn wrote. “The comments by the DOJ official, as reported in the NASS minutes, appear to ignore Congress’ clear legislative language and could facilitate the disenfranchisement of our men and women in uniform.”
Cornyn, who discussed Eversole’s allegations at a meeting with Defense Department officials last week, called for Holder to immediately provide guidelines to state election officials; to ensure that states are required to abide by the law; and to provide Cornyn himself with a state-by-state breakdown of which states have already applied for waivers and which are expected to be in noncompliance with MOVE in the November midterm election. He also called for full transparency in the waiver process.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, Xochitl Hinojosa, declined to comment, other than to say Cornyn’s letter is being reviewed.
FoxNews.com obtained waiver applications submitted by Washington and Hawaii.
Defense Department spokeswoman April Cunningham told FoxNews.com that New York, Delaware, Maryland, Alaska and Virgin Islands had also applied for waivers. (Cornyn's co-sponsor for the MOVE Act was New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat.)
“The voting section has taken this haphazard approach to enforcing military voting law,” said Eversole. “The voting section is asserting itself into statute to make a statute that’s not ambiguous, ambiguous. Can you imagine any other agency giving prospective defendants advice like this?”
“Everybody in Washington knows it doesn’t matter how good the law is; it comes down to who’s enforcing it,” said Adams. “This stuff should be transparent and online for the citizens of these states to comment on, the fact that it's being done behind closed doors tells you everything you need to know about how it will affect the voters.”
Adams and Eversole separately pointed out that the DOJ’s website lacks any mention of the MOVE Act. In fact, the section on military voting includes the outdated and nonbinding 30-day recommendation for sending out ballots. There is no mention of the the current 45-day mandate.
But the DOJ's online voting section includes a detailed section devoted to helping felons learn how get their voting rights back.
“It is just offensive to most Americans that we can send soldiers to the front lines but they can't vote,” said Eversole. “This is an issue that tugs at the heartstrings of America and people can’t understand why we can’t get that right. This is something we have to get right. We should be fighting as hard for their rights as they’re fighting for ours.”
27 July 2010
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Fairfax, Va. -- The National Rifle Association is supporting a lawsuit against Mayor Richard Daley and the City of Chicago's newly adopted gun control ordinance, which violates the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicago. Last Friday, the City Council rushed through passage of this ordinance in response to the Court's June 28th decision rendering Chicago’s draconian handgun ban unconstitutional.
“The Supreme Court has now said the Second Amendment is an individual freedom for all. And that must have meaning,” said Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association. “This decision cannot lead to different measures of freedom, depending on what part of the country you live in. City by city, person by person, this decision must be more than a philosophical victory. An individual right is no right at all if individuals can’t access it.”
Just four days after the Court struck down the nearly 30 year-long handgun bans in Chicago and Oak Park, Mayor Daley and the City of Chicago enacted the most restrictive anti-gun ordinance in the United States. In the words of Corporation Counsel Mara Georges, the top attorney for the City: “We've gone farther than anyone else ever has.” The so-called “Responsible Gun Ownership Ordinance” provisions include: a prohibition on all gun sales inside the City; a prohibition on possession of firearms for self-defense outside the “home” -- even on a patio or in an attached garage; a prohibition on more than one assembled and operable firearm in the home; and a training requirement to obtain a Chicago Firearm Permit. However, range training would be impossible since it will now be unlawful to operate a shooting range inside city limits.
“The Supreme Court told Mayor Daley and the City of Chicago that it has to respect the Second Amendment. By enacting this ordinance, their response is 'Make Us',” said Chris W. Cox, NRA chief lobbyist. “The NRA will not rest until Chicago's law-abiding residents can exercise the same freedoms that our Founding Fathers intended all Americans to have.”
Recent statements from some of Chicago's city officials reflect their complete lack of respect for the Supreme Court decision. Alderman Daniel Solis stated, “the decision made by the Supreme Court is not really in the best interests of our citizens.” Alderman Sharon Denise Dixon denounced what she called the Court’s “blatant… misreading of the law.” And another city council member even went so far as to say, “[w]e’re here today because of their poor judgment."
The case is Benson v. City of Chicago.
I HOPE this case can be determined BEFORE those two communists are confirmed for the Supreme Court.
23 July 2010
22 July 2010
A clear pattern of behavior has emerged over the last 16 months. According to liberals, if you disagree with their thinking, and if you disagree with the Obama administration, you are not only wrong, you are a “racist.”
The latest strike by the left comes from the NAACP, which has resolved that the tea party movement is inherently “racist.” At its most simple, this is a direct attack on the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans.
The NAACP has long history of liberalism and racism.
If you are a conservative — including a conservative African-American — there is no room for you at the NAACP. If you have opinions that differ from the NAACP and the liberal establishment, and if you are African-American, you are an “Uncle Tom,” a “negro,” “not black enough” and “against our people.”
In other words, the NAACP fancies itself the thought police for millions of black Americans. Disagree with them and you will be ostracized and attacked. You will be subjected to public humiliation and racist commentary from NAACP leadership. The message is clear: Toe the line or pay the price.
But the NAACP does not stand alone in this regard. The left has a long history of using the race card. It has been pulled on people across the political spectrum.
President Bill Clinton was smeared as a racist by the Obama campaign when Hillary Clinton was running for president. It seems that anyone who disagrees with the far left, socialist policies of Barack Obama and the current administration is subject to the heavy hand of the race card.
This card is generally played when all else has failed. It was inevitable that it would eventually be used aggressively against the tea party movement.
First, members of the tea party movement were called disgruntled voters, then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said our movement was nothing more than "astroturf" and laughed us off as a flash in the pan that would disappear overnight.
Next the Democratic National Committee relased an ad calling us an “angry mob.” Now, we’re being called racist.
All these attacks have failed because they are untrue and the American people know it.
According to recent polling, more than 49 million people are active members of the tea party movement (Winston Group, April 1, 2010). More than 145 million people say that the tea party movement is a good thing for America (Rasmussen, June 2, 2010).
The Obama White House and liberal interest groups are hitting the panic button as they read weekly polls showing diminishing support for their radical big government issue agenda, and a weariness for the politics of division.
Like all movements, the tea party has its fringe. President Barack Obama’s domestic terrorist friends from the 1960’s anti-war past never represented the Americans of good conscience who opposed the Vietnam War. In a similar vein, the racist posters of a few at a Tea Party rally do not represent the feelings or behavior of Americans who believe in this movement.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be proud of this movement. He dreamed of a colorblind society. The tea party is a truly post-racial movement. Based strictly around the three simple principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free market capitalism, the movement is uninterested and uninvolved in the politics of race.
We are freedom loving Americans who have come together to express outrage against a government no longer of, for and by the people. Standing together as brothers and sisters in the fight to return America to its founding principles, skin color, religion, social status and even political party affiliation are irrelevant to the people involved in this movement.
These are the facts. And these facts have already withstood 16 months of liberal media scrutiny and bombardment.
Wednesday, the NAACP is again bringing up the completely falsified charges of racial epithets hurled at members of Congress during the debate leading up to the passage of Obamacare. Widely reported as fact by the liberal media, even an offered reward of $100,000 to anyone who could provide documentary evidence proving the charges could not coax videotape, audiotape or a single witness out of a crowd of thousands present on Capitol Hill that day.
The race card played again; and once again discarded by the American people.
When Kenneth Gladney, a black conservative activist was brutally beaten by SEIU thugs at a protest outside of Rep. Russ Carnahan’s (D-Mo.) office, the NAACP and the liberal left refused to intervene. To the contrary, at an NAACP press conference in St. Louis in May, Gladney was referred to as a “Negro,” an “Uncle Tom,” and someone not worthy of the protection of the NAACP, because he’s working for the “other side.”
The NAACP has defended the thugs who beat Gladney. At the press conference, money was raised for the defense of the “brothers.”
At Tea Party Patriots we will continue to condemn the fringe elements of the movement and any expression of racism or bigotry. We sincerely hope that the Obama While House, the NAACP, and the liberal left will follow our lead and do the same in their own ranks.
18 July 2010
After a Sunday afternoon chase, police shot and killed the man believed to have kidnapped and murdered a four-year-old boy over the weekend, Mineral Wells Police Chief Mike McAllester confirmed.
Police believe Arturo Pacheco-Barrera, 23, kidnapped Salvador Briones Jr. Friday and demanded a $15,000 ransom from the family. He killed the boy and dumped his body 12 hours later, police believe.
This triggered a manhunt throughout Palo Pinto County involving state, local and federal agencies, which culminated in a Sunday afternoon chase.
Police tracked down Pacheco-Barrera to a private field off Dobbs Valley Road. Police said he was armed and shot by two officers after he refused to drop his weapon.
Police found the boy's body late Friday night near an abandoned house on the 3600 block of N. Highway 281.
"The way this thing ended was tragic the way it started was tragic," McAllester said. "Nobody's a winner with this one."
Officials did not issue an Amber Alert as they typically would as to not alert Pacheco-Barrera, who was a family friend, of the manhunt.
"Typically, Amber Alerts are for abductions where you have a known suspect and known vehicle and possible direction of travel," McAllester said. "That wasn't the case here."
But Pacheco-Barrera remained on the loose until Sunday. He was treated as a witness rather than a suspect so investigators could obtain more information about the case. He allegedly told investigators that he had an accomplice with him before guiding them to where he dumped the boy's body.
After locating the body, authorities said they transported him to his home to recover more evidence. He then evaded police officers until Sunday, when a tip alerted officers to his location.
"A citizen from Palo Pinto County about seven miles south of town called the sheriff and said a Hispanic male was seen on her property climbing her fence," McAllester said. "He was wearing a backpack and his general description matched that of what we were looking for."
After learning of Briones Jr.'s death, the boy's parents had to be hospitalized and sedated because of their intense grief.
"I hope they catch him," family member Linda Ramirez said Saturday. "I hope they catch him and he's going to pay. God's up there and he's going to take care of him. No child deserves that; none."
Police believe Pacheco-Barrera entered the home through a back door around 9 a.m. Friday. He took the boy while he slept, wrapped in a blanket.
His mother was asleep with her newborn child in another room of the house. Ramirez said Barrera was familiar with the outlay of the house, and often helped with renovations.
Residents said they felt suddenly unsafe, and many said they were leaving town until police found Pacheco-Barrera.
"We want to know what's going on," mother of six and Mineral Wells resident Raeann Lee said Saturday. "We don't feel safe anymore. Used to be able to sleep with your doors unlocked, now you can't."
Briones Jr. had an older brother, an older sister and a three-week old sister. The official cause of his death is pending autopsy results from the Dallas County Medical Examiner.
"His birthday was next month, he was going to start school," Ramirez said. "He didn't even get a chance to start school."
The Texas Rangers are now investigating the case and whether there was a second suspect involved. The two officers who fired the shots are on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
MINERAL WELLS, TX — As of Sunday morning there was no new information concerning the search for suspected child kidnapper and killer Arturo Pacheco-Barrera.
The 23-year-old Mineral Wells man is believed to have abducted 4-year-old Salvador Briones Jr. from his home in the 700 block of S.W. 4th Avenue early Friday morning. The child's body was found between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Friday on the property of a vacant residence in the 3600 block of U.S. Highway 281 North.
The child's father, Salvador Briones, told police he had received a phone call after leaving for work Friday morning telling him his son had been abducted, with the caller demanding a $15,000 ransom for the child's safe return.
In an interview heard on KRLD-AM radio, Lt. Brad Belz admitted police had Pacheco-Barrera in custody. It was about four hours after the child's body was found that Pacheco-Barrera was able to flee officers while they were searching a residence in the 1800 block of S.E. 12th Street.
"We had him in custody but he was able to escape," Belz told the Dallas radio station.
A report on WFAA-TV says "investigators" reported Pacheco-Barrera had given himself up and led police to the boy's body then later escaped while police and SWAT team members were looking for evidence at the southeast Mineral Wells residence.
Police then issued a Code Red alert to residents in southeast Mineral Wells. A manhunt ensued through midday Saturday that included a police command post established in the parking lot of Church of God at Mineral Wells.
Police said Pacheco-Barrera should be considered extremely dangerous. Anyone with information about the suspect's whereabouts is asked to call 911.
Pacheco-Barrera is described as a Hispanic male standing 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighing 190 pounds. He was last seen wearing a dark blue Polo-style shirt, blue jeans and brown leather boots.
Mineral Wells police have largely declined to answer questions or discuss the case with the Index. Police Chief Mike McAllester's only public comments so far came Friday afternoon when he said "we are investigating an alleged kidnapping." He said he could not comment further.
Law enforcement officials never issued an "Amber Alert" for the child Friday.
The case comes on the heels of what is now a nearly two-week search and investigation into the disappearance of Shonda Townsend, 19, of Gibtown, last seen leaving a Mineral Wells residence on U.S. Highway 180 West around midnight July 5. Her gray Toyota Camry was found about six hours later in the 800 block of S.E. 3rd Avenue. Activity on her cell phone ended about 2 a.m. that morning. There has been no trace of her since, and police appear to have few leads.
My prayers to this family who suffers. There will be a special place for this killer in hell. I would encourage all civic minded folk out there to smash this man on sight.
17 July 2010
A federal judge has strongly chided an Iowa sheriff for denying a gun permit to a government watchdog and anti-abortion advocate who some community members considered “weird.”
It was wrong for Osceola County Sheriff Douglas Weber to deny Paul Dorr, an Ocheyedan father of 11 home-schooled children, a permit that would allow him to carry a concealed weapon, according to a court opinion issued Wednesday.
“The court finds a tsunami, a maelstrom, an avalanche, of direct, uncontroverted evidence in Sheriff Weber’s own testimony to conclude beyond all doubt that he unquestionably violated the First Amendment rights of … Paul Dorr,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Mark W. Bennett of the Northern District of Iowa.
The judge continued: “This is a great reminder that the First Amendment protects the sole individual who may be a gadfly, kook, weirdo, nut job, whacko, and spook, with the same force of protection as folks with more majoritarian and popular views.”
The Dorr case, filed in October 2008, inspired some grassroots activists to push for changes in the state law that gives Iowa sheriff’s almost unlimited discretion to deny weapons permits.
After intense lobbying from Iowa gun rights advocates and the National Rifle Association, state lawmakers earlier this year approved legislation that spells out a narrow list of reasons why a sheriff can deny a permit. The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2011.
In his ruling Wednesday, Bennett ordered the Osceola County sheriff to immediately issue Dorr a nonprofessional permit to carry a weapon.
The judge also ordered Weber to successfully complete a court-approved course on the United States Constitution within the next five months.
“In denying (Dorr) a concealed weapons permit, Sheriff Weber single-handedly hijacked the First Amendment and nullified its freedoms and protections,” Bennett wrote.
Weber, a Republican who has been either a deputy or a sheriff in Osceola County since 1979, has long known the Dorr family, court documents state.
“Through the years, Sheriff Weber heard comments about (Dorr) which related to him being ‘weird,’” court documents state. Weber also believed there were people in the county who were afraid of him.
Dorr has been arrested and convicted multiple times for a variety of non-violent offenses connected with protests at abortion clinics – such as blocking doors and praying, court records state.
His anti-abortion activities with a group called Rescue the Perishing stretched into South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Georgia and Virginia, records show.
Dorr has also written letters to the editors of newspapers and distributed flyers.
In spring 2007, Dorr made an open records request for information on the compensation and duties of the deputies in the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.
He received the sheriff’s policy and procedure manual, but he was “also provided with a large bill for the copies,” the judge stated.
Dorr was billed for 90 minutes of photocopying, plus a fee of 10 cents per page for more than 200 pages of documents, court records state.
Dorr successfully obtained a gun permit from the late 1990s to 2006. Weber was sheriff for two of those years.
But in July 2007, Weber turned him down. Weber wrote on the denied application: “Concern from Public. Don’t trust him.”
Weber testified that after Dorr began to work with a group that challenged the county budget: “People started talking about it saying things like, ‘Oh, that guy’s a nut job. Oh, that guy’s whacko.’”
Dorr said he applied for the ability to carry a weapon because he supplemented his income by selling balloons along a parade route in Sioux City. This required him or his relatives to carry as much as $1,500 in cash in fanny packs.
In 2008, one of Dorr’s sons, Alexander, applied for a permit, saying he helped with the balloon business and had gotten death threats connected to his family’s anti-abortion advocacy. Weber denied the son’s permit and informed Dorr that he would deny any further applications from him.
Both Alexander and Paul Dorr believed Weber’s denials of their applications were the result of their advocacy against county spending, court testimony shows.
The judge agreed.
“Dorr was denied a permit precisely because Sheriff Weber believed that his free speech rights offended the majority of voters in Osceola County,” Bennett wrote in his ruling.
Dorr’s son, Alexander, also sued, but Bennett ruled Wednesday that Weber didn’t retaliate against Alexander Dorr for exercising his First Amendment rights to free speech.
Both Dorrs waived their claims to punitive damages.
15 July 2010
The Winner: Chicago City Council
The Reason: Illegally circumventing McDonald v. Chicago by passing outrageous regulations, ignoring the fact that possessing a handgun is a RIGHT before and after this historic Supreme Court ruling.
These regulations include:
-- Limits the number of handguns residents can register to one per month and prohibit residents from having more than one handgun in operating order at any given time.
-- Requires residents in homes with children to keep handguns in lock boxes or equipped with trigger locks.
-- Requires prospective gun owners to take a four-hour class and one-hour training at a gun range. They would have to leave the city for training because Chicago prohibits new gun ranges and limits the use of existing ranges to police officers. Those restrictions were similar to those in an ordinance passed in Washington, D.C., after the high court struck down its ban two years ago.-- Prohibits people from owning a gun if they were convicted of a violent crime, domestic violence or two or more convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Residents convicted of a gun offense would have to register with the police department.
-- Calls for the police department to maintain a registry of every handgun owner in the city, with the names and addresses to be made available to police officers, firefighters and other emergency responders.
13 July 2010
A new survey shows that Americans, on average, are growing more patriotic. Among some predominantly liberal groups, however, patriotism is on the decline, and the gap between the left and the American public is widening. The two sides of the chasm reflect two distinct views of the United States.
The USA Today/Gallup poll conducted in mid-June shows that 32 percent of Americans describe themselves as "extremely patriotic," the highest number in the reported data, up from 19 percent in 1999. The 2010 total represents an 8 point increase since the January 2002 survey, which was the first after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The most patriotic groups of Americans are Republicans at 52 percent, conservatives at 48 percent and those over age 65 at 40 percent. The least patriotic are Democrats (20 percent), liberals (19 percent) and those aged 18 to 29 (22 percent).
The most patriotic groups have seen double-digit increases in "extremely" patriotic sentiment since 2005, while the least patriotic groups have flat-lined or declined. When it comes to those with less patriotic fervor, among Democrats the percentages in the "somewhat" or "not especially" patriotic categories rose from 33 percent in 2005 to 37 percent, while among Republicans the number declined from 15 percent to 9 percent, with the "not especially" group being less than 0.5 percent.
The study notes that it is "particularly intriguing" that 42 percent of Democrats are satisfied with the direction the country is heading while a mere 7 percent of the more patriotic Republicans agree. This 34 percent difference mirrors the 32 point patriotism gap between the two major parties. But feelings of patriotism should not be confused with a sense of complacency. Patriotism scores declined in the early 1990s after the end of the Cold War when the country seemed more secure and the future was less in doubt.
The recent resurgence of patriotic sentiment is better viewed as a measure of concern over the direction the country is taking. As with the Minutemen in 1775, today's patriots are responding to a call to action. Among some quarters on the left, the expression "patriot" is synonymous with the Tea Party movement, which they consider reactionary and racist. This may explain in part why liberals are less willing to describe themselves as patriotic.
The patriotism issue broadly parallels the battle lines of the culture war. Those brought up in an educational system in which the United States is portrayed negatively - as the country of slavery and segregation, of unjust wars, environmental pollution, evil capitalism and all manner of oppression - have no particular reason to be patriotic. To these people, Michelle Obama's position rang true when she said in February 2008 that, "for the first time in [her] adult lifetime" she was "really proud of [her] country." There was no reason to be proud of America before the Obama ascendance. Likewise, candidate Barack Obama's promise to "fundamentally transform" the United States was an exciting message to those who viewed America as a morally bankrupt, internationally despised country with a despicable history.
To those who hold a competing image of the United States - as a shining city on a hill, as the font of freedom, as a country of faith, hope and charity, as the product of a divine plan, as the defender of democracy and the last best hope of mankind - this vision needs no fundamental transformation. The rising tide of patriotism is a response to the assault on these American ideals, a defense of the dream of the first new nation founded in liberty. Patriotic Americans are not yet ready to give up the fight.
© Copyright 2010 The Washington Times, LLC
So what they are saying is that the Left is becoming more un-American?
11 July 2010
While there is plenty of talk and rhetoric proclaiming all that is "Constitutional" or "Unconstitutional", when we examine and recognize that document which more than any other represents the soul of America, we find that document is: The Declaration of Independence.
With the simple preface, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness", the novel idea of constructing government solely as best servant to the People and their God given privileges was born.
Because of the Declaration, and specifically this prefatory clause, the United States has developed a whole philosophy of thought called "American Exceptionalism".
This philosophy is what makes us special, different from any other nation on earth, and dare I say...
To the chagrin, of our current Commander in Chief, better is not better at all. In fact, better, a.k.a. American Exceptionalism, in the mind of our exalted leader, is arrogance.
To think, that we individuals might strive for excellence, driven by nothing other than our own will and the Providential opportunity with which we are presented is obscene to those like Obama who embrace a Statist ideology.
At his core, the Statist is a parasite who requires a subjugated public to advance himself. Unlike the rugged individualist who advances by grit and determination, the Statist assembles his power through propaganda that pits those rugged individualists in society who have achieved, against the sloth groups who have been convinced that achievement is an accidental occurrence falling upon those who have been "lucky".
Out of this thinking is bred a whole line of thought that has undermined our Founders vision for America and has convinced our populace that the Constitution is a "living, breathing" document which must be tempered by the populist mood of the age.
And of what character is this mood which is now arbiter and driver of public policy in America?
Schizophrenic, ignorant, sanctimonious, and dishonest are adjectives which come to mind.
It would seem, if we could apply contemporary American views and compare them to the theme of the foundational clause upon which our whole government has been built we ought to be able to find a congruence of understanding.
We hold these truths to be self-evident,
These truths are unarguable, anyone from any walk of life, regardless of background, social or economic class, educated or uneducated would agree on undeniable fundamental truths. What are fundamental truths? Do all our inhabitants agree about them?
that all men are created equal,
declaring us all subject to the same unarguable truths, the same rule, and the same law. No individual or group would be afforded any more or any less in the eyes of our law; ergo, it is not by accident that Lady Justice adorns a blindfold when ascertaining weights on a balance scale.
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,
That separation of Church and State thing kind of falls apart right here. Unalienable meaning that they cannot be taken away, and that we are endowed by our Creator—God, specifying exactly who endowed us with our Rights. It is not a stretch to infer government's only role here is to protect what God has provided. Do all American's believe this? Is this the contemporary understanding of "Constitutional"?
that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
While the Founders were content to allow us to use our imagination in interpreting what unalienable rights we were endowed with, they wrote down a couple to make sure we got onto the right track. Our most important rights were listed, and it is not by accident that Life was put first.
The order of rights was listed in a prioritized manner exalting Life the supreme right, and should any Right conflict with another, the latter would yield to the former.
If a mother felt pregnancy was in some way threatening to her Liberty, her baby's right to Life was, in the scheme of things, of such priority that mom's Liberty could be impinged for the duration of the child's term. Using the word "was" instead of "is" might seem offensive, however, in today's culture, do we respect this distinction? Is abortion today viewed as greater right than is Life?
Has Roe vs. Wade established a women's right to end her pregnancy at any point before a child's birth, for any reason? Have we not heard Senators and Representatives state that the "right to choose" is a Constitutional right?
Politicians love to invoke all that is "Constitutional" or "Unconstitutional" in support of their views or positions, but if we cannot even agree on the most fundamental right from our most fundamental document, how on earth can we intellectually interpret whether or not Arizona can or cannot ask someone who has broken a law if he/she is in this country legally or not?
Today the United States recognizes Constitutionality of the Constitution, based not at all upon the words of the document, but upon the urges and inclinations of those who have seized power by appealing to the largest voting bloc.
There is no such thing as a Constitutional right which cannot be readily overturned, and in the contemporary interpretation, our Declaration of Independence is...
09 July 2010
In case you are not aware, the Obama regime is formally challenging Arizona's legal right to protect itself from the Illegal Alien problem. Now since Obama has OUR tax money to fight Arizona with, this great state will need our help. PLEASE donate to the cause at the Border Security and Immigration Legal Defense Fund.
Must America’s founding principles be changed to meet the challenges of our age? Are we defined by a place and a people or by the shared principles we embrace and preserve?
In his farewell address, George Washington warned, “Toward the preservation of your government…it is requisite…that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles.” Celebrating our Declaration of Independence involves honoring our founding principles.
Thomas Jefferson affirmed, "What is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people? A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread. I own, I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy."
America stands for equal opportunity, not equal results. We prosper because citizens are free to create value instead of becoming burdens. But when President Obama works to “remake America” and tells Joe the Plumber of his desire to “spread the wealth around,” we wonder whether the property rights affirmed in our Bill of Rights are truly secure.
Benjamin Franklin warned, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety.” Espousing noble goals, liberals want to restrict peanuts on airplanes, determine what foods you can eat, and how much gas your car can use. Excessive regulations limit your liberty, choke our businesses, and explode the cost of government. Encourage safety, but value freedom even more.
John Adams asserted, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” George Washington added, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who would labor to subvert these great pillars…. Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.”
The separation of church and state in our Constitution is not there to protect Americans from religion but to protect Americans from the government. The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The intent was established in the U.S. Congressional Records in the summer of 1789 where it was stated that no one denomination of the Christian faith was to have precedence. “In God we trust,” but we want no one denomination defining who God is. Instead of zoning God out of our public life, our Founding Fathers celebrated faith’s value. They wanted freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.
Benjamin Franklin criticized England’s welfare entitlements of his time, “There is no country in the world in which the poor are more idle, dissolute, drunken, and insolent…. You offered a premium for the encouragement of idleness, and you should not now wonder that it has had its effect in the increase of poverty.” Franklin preferred “responsible” caring: "I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it…. Repeal that law (taxes), and you will soon see a change in their manners. Labor…will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them."
The American economy has served for over 200 years as the greatest anti-poverty program in human history because it encouraged work and discouraged idleness more than any other. America did this by guaranteeing its citizens the freedom to acquire property without being hindered by excessive regulations or redistribution policies. American “caring” shouldn’t be defined by the number of people “helped” by government but by how many no longer need it. Welfare’s purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.
No government check can match being touched and helped by local charities staffed by volunteers who care. When good works cease to be voluntary and “giving” through taxes becomes compulsory, charity gives way to confiscation and freedom to servitude.
Finally, George Washington reminded all in his first address to Congress, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” America, in order to defend its freedom and way of life, must continue to invest adequate resource to remain strong, progressive, and technologically sophisticated to match the enemies of our age. When politicians suggested limiting our standing army to 5,000 by law, Washington asked for an amendment to limit the size of the enemy to 3,000 troops.
Property rights, earned reward, individual responsibility, religious freedom, limited government, a strong military, and “we the people” empowered to turn liberty into our own version of the American Dream are what our Founding Fathers left as a legacy. In November, you’ll have the opportunity to define true north for the future of this great country. Pick your values compass wisely. Our future depends on it.
06 July 2010
By John Lott
With another closely decided 5 to 4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled today that state governments are not able to ban most Americans from owning most types of handguns. The court ruled that firearms are "essential for self-defense." The court found that if the Second Amendment indeed protects an individual right to own a gun, the notion that the government can't ban all handguns is the minimum protection the Constitution can offer.
Yet, just as with abortion, this is the first of what is likely to be a long string of court decisions.
The decision is an important win for Americans who want the right to self-defense, but the decision also indicates how many questions still must be answered.
When the “Heller” decision was handed down in 2008 striking down Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban and gunlock regulations, Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley predicted disaster. He said that overturning the gun ban was "a very frightening decision" and predicted more deaths along with Wild West-style shootouts and that people "are going to take a gun and they are going to end their lives in a family dispute." Washington’s Mayor Adrian Fenty similarly warned: "More handguns in the District of Columbia will only lead to more handgun violence."
Yet, Armageddon never arrived.
Washington’s murder rate has plummeted -- falling by 25 percent in 2009 alone. This compares with a national drop of only 7 percent last year. And D.C.'s drop has continued this year.
Comparing Washington’s crime rates from January 1 to June 17 of this year to the same period in 2008, shows a 34 percent drop in murder. This drop puts D.C.'s murder rate back to where it was before the 1977 handgun ban. Indeed, the murder rate is as low as was before 1967.
Other gun crimes have also fallen in Washington. While robberies without guns fell by 7 percent, robberies with gun fell by over 14 percent. Assaults with weapons other than guns fell by 7, but assaults using guns fell by over 20 percent.
The expected narrowness of the court's decision today had already encouraged Mayor Richard Daley and the city of Chicago to threaten last week to effectively undo the Supreme Court decision with new regulations.
Daley promised to quickly adopt all the regulations that Washington adopted in 2008 after its gun ban was struck down, as well as some additional ones. To get a handgun permit in Washington, applicants must pay fees over $550, make four trips to the police station, and take two different tests.
Taking the court's 2008 decision that all handguns can't be banned, Washington went so far as to still ban all semi-automatic handguns that can hold a clip. Chicago plans on doing the same but adding a requirement that gun owners buy insurance that covers any incidents that might arise from the weapon.
Obviously, if Chicago were to impose any tax on newspapers, the courts would strike it down as an infringement on free speech.
But the new Chicago and Washington gun "fees" will be allowed until the Supreme Court revisits that issue.
Where that line will be drawn on this closely divided court will be influenced by its newest member and the potential new member whose confirmation hearings get underway today.
Neither the latest justice, Sonia Sotomayor nor the next potential justice, Elena Kagan are sympathetic to an individual's right to self-defense.
In Washington, about 1,000 people now have permits to own handguns. With the gunlock law that made it illegal to have a loaded gun now struck down, over 70,000 people have permits for long guns that can now be used protect victims.
Yet, if over 70,000 armed citizens can produce 26 fewer murders and 375 violent crimes, imagine what can be accomplished if even more citizens are allowed to defend themselves.
We can only hope that Chicago will not adopt such high fees and stiff regulations that only allow the wealthiest will have the opportunity to defend themselves.
John R. Lott, Jr. is a FOXNews.com contributor. He is an economist and author of "More Guns, Less Crime " the third edition of which was published by the University of Chicago Press in May.
04 July 2010
02 July 2010
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Violence Policy Center (VPC) are peddling the notion that concealed-handgun permit holders are a danger to society. Last month, the center released a report claiming that in the past three years, 166 people were killed by holders of concealed-weapon permits. A closer look at the evidence suggests that many of the so-called victims of gun violence were criminals. Because more than 6 million Americans hold permits, it is important to set the record straight.
As one of the most populous states with a right-to-carry law, Florida has the most concealed-handgun permits. Between Oct. 1, 1987, and May 31, the state issued them to 1.8 million individuals. So far, just 167 permits have been revoked over any type of firearms-related violation. Most of those involved trivial, nonviolent infractions. To put that figure into perspective, the annual revocation rate is a minuscule 0.00017 percent, with just three revocations since January 2008. More people are killed every year by falling vending machines than by holders of a concealed-weapon permit.
You wouldn't know that from the rhetoric of the gun-control groups, which portray Florida as a dangerous place to live because of its laws. According to the VPC report, the Sunshine State accounted for 17 of the 96 "killer" permit holders nationwide, far more than any other state.
A recent Fox News investigation shot holes in the study. No charges were ever brought in seven of the Florida cases. One case clearly did not involve a permit holder - the person was, in fact, charged with illegally carrying a concealed handgun. Two cases that are still pending apparently involved self-defense, with one local newspaper account suggesting that the permit holder had a "strong case" to show that he had acted properly. Another case involved the accidental discharge of a firearm. The gun grabbers score all of these incidents as kills, but at least nine of them are examples of right-to-carry laws being used by permit holders to protect themselves and their families.
Three cases did result in "convictions," but they hardly represent clear-cut examples. One involved an accidental discharge and a conviction for involuntary manslaughter. In another case, a convicted felon sparked the incident by confronting the permit holder. According to the prosecutor, the permit holder "was in some way defending himself during an escalating altercation between the men caught on the security video" and that, "People can look at that tape and interpret it two or three different ways." His conviction rested on the question of whether he had done enough to avoid the confrontation.
The Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center show their desperation by twisting legitimate examples of self-defense into crimes. The simple fact is that most gun owners are law-abiding citizens. Suggesting that burglars, rapists and other hardened criminals are "victims" of permit holders is a stretch, even for these groups. The real statistics show that America is a safer place thanks to more of its citizens having a right to protect themselves and their families.
© Copyright 2010 The Washington Times, LLC.
30 June 2010
The Winner: Rep. Pete Stark (D) California
The Reason: Trying to tell us the Southern Border is secure, and mocking concerned Americans over the matter.
A California congressman known for edgy sarcasm mocked an opponent of illegal immigration during a town hall meeting last week, asking, "Who are you going to kill today?" before the constituent, a self-identified Minuteman, posed his question.
Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., no stranger to controversy, mocked the idea that the borders are not secure when asked about the federal government's lack of activity on border security.
"We can't get enough Minutemen armed. We'd like to get all the Minutemen armed so they can stop shooting people here," Stark said.
Eventually, members of the audience urged Stark to offer a serious answer.
"If you knew anything about our borders, you would know that's not the case. Our borders are quite secure, thank you," Stark said, drawing jeers.
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Stark resumed his hostile act, asking the Minuteman what he would do to secure the border.
"I would send about about 25,000 troops for one thing and build a wall down so vehicles could not pass," the Minuteman said.
"How high and long would it be?" Stark asked.
"As high and as long as it takes," the Minuteman said, elicting cheers.
Stark said he would start a ladder company with the Minuteman if he designed the wall and doesn't shoot the people coming over.
"But I've got to know how high the wall is and I'll sell a whole lot of ladders for people who want to come," Stark said.
"This is a very serious matter and you're sitting there making fun of it," the Minuteman responded.
"I don't have to make fun of you sir, you do a fine job all by yourself," Stark said.
Stark made the comments last week at a town hall audience that included Steve Kemp, a member of the Golden Gate Minutemen, a group that opposes illegal immigrants. Kemp recorded the confrontation.
A spokesman for Stark did not return voicemail messages left at his office or on his cell phone. He also didn't respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
The clash came as the national spotlight focuses on Arizona's tough new law cracking down on illegal immigrants and the protests it is drawing across the country, including a legal challenge from the federal government.
Immigration is shaping up to be among the critical election-year issues as Republicans try to regain control of both chambers in Congress riding a wave of anti-Washington sentiment.
Stark, a liberal Democrat, is expected to easily win re-election against a lightly regarded opponent, political newcomer Justin Jelincic, who describes himself as a conservative Democrat.
Stark earned his primary challenge after he slammed a constituent who voiced his opposition to Obama's health care plan last summer at a town hall meeting.
"Mr. Congressman, don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining," the constituent told Stark, referring to what he called the smoke and mirrors of the president's plan.
"I wouldn't dignify you be peeing on your leg," Stark fired back. "It wouldn't be worth wasting the urine."
In March, Stark seized control of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee for one day after Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., stepped aside due to an ethics probe. But Stark was quickly pushed aside in favor of Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., after many Democrats privately complained that Stark was too volatile to lead such an important committee.
Stark is known for making inflammatory comments.
In 2007, Stark accused President Bush of sending troops to Iraq "to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement."
He also once called former Colorado Republican Rep. Scott McInnis a "fruitcake."