Saturday, January 12, 2013

Biden Looks to 'Smart Guns' as White House Moves to Curb Firearms

By Todd Beamon and Newsmax Wires

Capping three days of meetings on ways to stem gun violence in light of the Connecticut shootings last month, Vice President Joe Biden said on Friday he was interested in technology that would keep a gun from being fired by anyone other than the person who bought it.

And it became clear that President Barack Obama plans to push for a controversial ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines to stem gun violence in his State of the Union address next month.

"Had the young man not had access to his mother's arsenal, he may or may not have been able to get a gun," Biden said on Friday, speaking of Newtown gunman, Adam Lanza, 20, who used weapons purchased by his mother to carry out the attack on an elementary school in the Connecticut town.

Lanza killed his mother — Nancy, a gun enthusiast — at their home on Dec. 14 before heading to Sandy Hook Elementary School where he fatally shot 20 children and six adults.

“We know that there is no silver bullet, no seat belt,” Biden said before heading into a Friday meeting with representatives of the video game industry, the Associated Press reports.

Technology for so-called "smart guns" is being developed, although, so far there has been little demand for it. Various techniques such as fingerprint recognition or the wearing of a magnetic ring would prevent anyone other than a weapon's registered owner from firing it.

The National Rifle Association and other groups have come out against smart guns in the past and did not respond to a New York Times article on the subject this week.

Instead, the NRA has placed most the blame for recent mass shootings on violent video games and lack of treatment for the mentally ill.

Participants at Biden's Friday meeting included John Riccitiello, CEO of Electronic Arts, producer of the “Medal of Honor” franchise; Michael Gallagher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association — and a representative of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.

The industry defended its practices — contending that violent crime, particularly among young people, has fallen since the early 1990s, while video games have increased in popularity.

Cheryl Olson, a Boston-area researcher who led a groundbreaking two-year, $1.5 million research study on the effect of violent video games, who was at the session, said industry representatives were concerned about becoming a scapegoat in the wake of the Connecticut shootings.

"The vice president made clear that he did not want to do that," Olson told the Associated Press.

Studies vary on the effect of video games and other screen violence. Some conclude that such media can desensitize people to real-world violence or temporarily quiet part of the brain that governs impulse control. Other studies have concluded that no lasting effect exists.

For instance, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared in a 2009 report, "The evidence is now clear and convincing: Media violence is one of the causal factors of real-life violence and aggression."

The report focused on all types of media violence, the Associated Press reports. But for video games in particular, the pediatricians cited studies that found high exposure to violent ones increased physical aggression in the short term, and warned that they allow people to rehearse violent acts.

On the other hand, the pediatricians’ group said friendly video games could promote good behavior.

"I come to this meeting with no judgment,” Biden said at the start of Friday’s two-hour meeting. “You all know the judgments other people have made. We're looking for help."

The video games session was the latest in a series of meetings that began on Wednesday with interested parties in the gun debate as the vice president prepares the administration's response to the Connecticut shootings.

Biden plans to have his recommendations to Obama by Tuesday.

The Friday session followed a tense Thursday afternoon meeting with six guns-rights groups including the NRA which denounced the meeting as a strategy session on how to thwart the Second Amendment.

“We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment,” the gun group said in a statement.

“While claiming that no policy proposals would be ‘prejudged,’ this task force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners — honest, taxpaying, hard-working Americans.”

Chris Cox, the NRA’s chief lobbyist who attended the meeting, on Friday described it to Fox News as “a dog and pony show.”

“It became very clear, very early that they weren’t looking to hear from gun owners, they were looking to blame gun owners,” Cox said.

NRA President David Keene said later Thursday that the association would not negotiate with the White House any on gun issues — and then told NBC News on Friday that the NRA had enough support in Congress to block any assault-weapons legislation.

“I do not think that there's going to be a ban on so-called assault weapons passed by the Congress,” Keene told the “Today” program.

It is this defiance by the NRA, some participants in this week’s meetings say, that has led President Obama to resort to his battle-tested strategy to circumvent the nation’s largest gun-rights organization: projecting strength on an issue by trying to create the perception that the administration is riding the crest of support from the American people.

The president successfully utilized the approach during his two White House campaigns and during the recent fiscal cliff negotiations, Politico reports.

Throughout the week, the vice president met with a wide array of groups — from faith groups to hunters' organizations to victim-rights advocates to foundations to civic associations — even Wal-Mart, Comcast, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and the Motion Picture Association of America.

By the time Biden sat down with gun representatives on Thursday afternoon, he said that the consensus was growing for background checks for gun buyers at public shows and for banning high-capacity ammunition magazines.

“There is an emerging set of recommendations — not coming from me, but coming from the groups we’ve met,” Biden said earlier on Thursday. “I have a real tight window to do this. The public wants us to act.”

Biden told them that he and other administration officials, as they met with gun-control advocates and representatives of victims, repeatedly heard about the need for “near universal background checks” in firearms transactions, greater freedom for federal agencies to conduct research about gun crimes, and limiting the capacity of ammunition magazines.

"There is a surprising — so far — a surprising recurrence of suggestions that we have universal background checks, not just close the gun show loophole but totally universal background checks including private sales," Biden said.

Biden told the gun groups that Obama would seek a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. He plans to push for the measures in his Feb. 12 State of the Union address, the Associated Press reports.

“The vice president said, ‘I’m the vice president, not the president, and the president has already made his decisions about assault weapons and magazines,’ ” Richard Feldman, president of the Independent Firearm Owners Association, told Politico.

And Biden played the purported groundswell of public support heavily in the meeting, too, Feldman said. The vice president told the gun groups that they would be wise to sign on to Obama’s efforts to avoid public wrath.

“He was really pushing us all to get with his program,” Feldman told Politico. “He said that the public wants something done.

“His argument was all these other groups he’s met with, the Pentecostals and evangelicals and others, all of a sudden there is a different attitude,” Feldman added. “The implication is they are more amenable now with going along, and so should you.”

A former lobbyist for gun manufacturers, Feldman now favors some middle ground on the issue, including the required background checks for gun-show purchases.

To get any new legislation passed, the administration will need as many new allies in the fight as possible — especially faith leaders, Politico reports.

“The vice president shared how he felt this was one of the most important meetings of all the meetings, that the faith leaders, the faith community has a very unique role in engaging in the moral persuasion necessary to address the gun challenges in our country,” the Rev. Michael McBride, who was among a dozen leaders who met with Biden on Wednesday, said.

McBride is a community organizer for the PICO Network, an alliance of faith-based organizations based in Oakland, Calif. He said Biden specifically asked the religious leaders to preach to their congregations about the importance of stronger gun laws.

“He called upon us to take that seriously and that the administration and everyone involved is going to be looking to us to help to make that argument across the different faith traditions,” McBride told Politico.

The audacity of this man is mind boggling...

Reid Urges Obama to Bypass Congress on Debt Ceiling
By: Todd Beamon / Newsmax

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democratic leaders told President Barack Obama on Friday to consider side-stepping Congress if no agreement could be reached next month on raising the nation’s $16.4 trillion debt ceiling.

And two Republican congressmen asked Obama in their own letter that the president to “be open and honest with the American people” on the nation’s finances in his State of the Union address next month.

In their letter, Reid and other top Democrats said Obama should “take any lawful steps” to avoid defaulting on the debt — “without Congressional approval, if necessary,” The Washington Post reports.

Republicans have said they would not raise the debt limit without dollar-for-dollar spending cuts — including those to such entitlement programs as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

On Friday, GOP legislators rejected the notion of sole action by the president.

“The Democrat leadership, hiding under their desks and hoping the president will find a way around the law on the nation’s maxed-out credit card, is not only the height of irresponsibility, but also a guarantee that our national debt crisis will only get worse,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told the Post in a statement.

Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, said Americans “will not tolerate” hiking the debt ceiling without spending cuts.

Obama has said he considers raising the limit, which the nation will hit in February, an obligation of Congress because doing so allows the government to pay off the debts it has already incurred, the Post reports.

Meanwhile, Republican Reps. Tim Griffin of Arkansas and Cory Gardner of Colorado said in their letter that Obama should specifically detail in his Feb. 12 State of the Union speech the rise in the national debt, the per-person share of the expense — as well as the state of solvency for Social Security and Medicare.

“It seems to me in order for us to address our big fiscal problems — debt, deficit, and entitlement reform — we are going to have to have the American people on the same page,” Griffin told the Daily Caller.

Op-ed:                                                                            Four men that must NOT be confirmed 
By: Diane Sori

This week VP Uncle Joe 'Bite-Me' Biden openly stated to anyone and everyone that would listen that Obama will soon start on his quest to strip away at, and try to totally dismantle, the Second Amendment.  By his threatening to sign yet another one of his endless Executive Orders, this one calling for gun control, Obama is deliberately overriding Congress, because he knows gun control legislation will NOT pass the Republican majority House.

And this is just the beginning as Obama heads our beloved America down the path to totalitarianism or worse...communism.

This is clear for all to see as Obama puts together his new cabinet and key administrative positions, for he has gathered together a group of leftover 60's and 70's radicals, traitors, and miscreants. This group makes Hillary and company seem tame by comparison.

Starting with Chuck Hagel...the man Iran has endorsed and Israel is NOT happy about...the man who views Israel as the 'troublemaker' in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict...the man who voted against designating Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.  Chuck Hagel...the man who supports the Law of the Sea Treaty, which would undermine our sovereignty and require American businesses to pay global royalties for oil and gas development.  Chuck Hagel...a Viet Nam vet who wants to drastically cut our military budget, putting our troop's lives in danger, especially in this day and age of the muslim terrorist.  Yeah, Obama made a real good choice with this one (gag) and shows just where his true allegiances are (as if we already didn't know) when it comes to both our national defense, protecting our brave men and women in uniform, and protecting our country's sovereignty.

Then we have Jack Lew, Obama's choice for Treasury Secretary...a far left progressive on the issues of wealth disparity and programs for the poor (meaning he wholeheartedly supports redistribution of OUR wealth)...the man who in the 1980's negotiated the exemptions from automatic budget cuts for Medicaid and other low-income programs...who in the 1990s again defended Medicaid from any the budget cuts.  Jack Lew...the man who was Obama's budget director (yeah that worked out real well for 'We the People' didn't it)...the man who was one of the spearheads in last year's fight to raise the debt ceiling (our children and grandchildren will paying for that one)...oh what a wonderful choice to oversee our economy...Lew will help Obama completely flush our economy right down the loo!

And Obama's nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA means the chief of our intelligence agency will be a man who called jihad a 'legitimate tenet of islam'.  John Brennan...the man who in a 2010 speech called Jerusalem by its Arabic name, Al-Quds... the man who claimed that terrorists are the real victims of political, economic and social forces......the man who said that the Obama administration was looking for ways to build up 'moderate elements' of the terrorist group Hezbollah, and that talking to Hezbollah and Hamas is the 'right thing' to do.  John Brennan...the man who said that 20% of released Guantanamo detainees returning to terrorist activities is “not that bad"...who called water boarding of captured muslim terrorists torture...the man who as Obama's counter terrorism adviser helped put an end to the 'enhanced techniques' that help save our troops lives.  John Brennan was also one of the men who met with Hollywood producers about the killing of Osama bin Laden, providing them access to classified information, including the identity of a SEAL Team 6 operator and commander...yeah, another good choice by our muslim-in-chief.

And all this leads up to the cream of the crop...the nomination of 'Swiftboat' John Kerry as Secretary of State...the very man who stood alongside 'Hanoi' Jane Fonda in calling our Viet Nam troops baby killers, murderers, and war criminals...the man who lied about the extent of his service and medals received in Viet Nam.  John Kerry...the man who said that Syria is an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the Middle East (Syria, whose President Basad is slaughtering his own people, yeah that will bring peace alright...when hell freezes over)...the man who was a diplomatic troubleshooter for Obama in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sudan and we know how the outcome of those trips turned out.  John Kerry...the man who has said he will make the non-issue of climate change a top-tier priority (climate change is naturally occurring climate cycles that have happened since Earth first formed and will continue until Earth is no more), thus wasting our taxpayer money on a U(seless) N(ations) initiative in support of Agenda 21.  John Kerry...who a few weeks ago said this most dangerous of statements, “Engaging with (enemy) countries is better than having CIA operatives or military troops on the ground, as they are often perceived as destabilizers, invaders, occupiers, or infidels.”  You know what...who gives a damn what our enemies perceive...they're called enemies for a reason and this shows John Kerry is NOT on America's side...meaning he's the perfect Obama choice for Secretary of State. 

John Kerry recently said, “Our foreign policy does not always take into account the impact on the host countries...well guess what...these four nominations do NOT take into account the impact and damage these four men will do to OUR country as all four are traitors to one degree or another...all four are sympathetic to America's enemies...and lets NOT forget that all four are in favor of gun control.

Need I say more...didn't think so.