Thursday, April 4, 2013

Why I Support the Second Amendment -- and Democrats Should Too

As Congress prepares to consider new gun control legislation, I stand firmly against any attempt to restrict the constitutional rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners. As a concealed weapons permit holder, I value the freedom to exercise my Second Amendment right as protected by the Constitution and in accordance with gun laws designed to promote safe, responsible use. The right to bear arms is a unique and fundamental aspect of American liberty because, when exercised responsibly and in accordance with the laws in place, it makes our families and our property safer. 

Last week, I announced I would join efforts to filibuster any gun control proposals that seek to restrict the rights of Americans who have never violated the law. Many Floridians, including our large number of hunters and sportsmen, use guns regularly and responsibly and do not deserve to be harassed or further regulated. Especially in light of recent shootings, safety is everyone’s priority. But the way to increase safety is not to take away the rights of responsible gun owners, including those wishing to protect themselves and their loved ones. Instead, by ensuring that those who obey the law can remain the first line of defense against violence, America will become better equipped to handle potential tragedies as they arise.

Current gun control proposals being discussed by Washington Democrats – by the admission of their own authors – would not have stopped the tragedies in Newtown or Aurora. The perpetrators of these actions were mentally disturbed monsters with a complete lack of interest in laws or ethics. For this reason, any effective plan to deal with future violence must focus on addressing mental illness and identifying those Americans who should be forbidden to own guns.

What advocates of indiscriminate gun bans fail to realize is that their efforts to legislate limitations on gun ownership will only work on those of us who are already predisposed to obey the law. Since a disregard for law is the very definition of criminality, criminals will not be deterred by Congress’ efforts to restrict their access to firearms. We’ve seen this in urban centers like Chicago and Washington, D.C. – when these local governments enacted gun bans, only law abiding citizens respected the law. Criminals carried on, emboldened by the knowledge that their victims would be more vulnerable and could be easily over matched.

So what can we do to prevent future gun violence? Legislators can take some measures, while others can only be achieved by society’s collaborative efforts. To address violence, we must treat it at its source. We must focus on measures that allow educators and families to identify and treat mental illness before it reaches a tragic breaking point. We must also ensure that the lack of adequate information sharing on mental health issues is addressed in a way, of course, that safeguards privacy rights.

There are also societal factors that can lead to criminality. I believe that the breakdown of the American family has led to many of our society’s problems, both economic and cultural, including increased instances of gun violence. Children are raised in a culture today that systematically desensitizes them to violence. The only way to counter this is to create a strong and supportive family structure that emphasizes compassion, respect and responsibility for our actions. Our schools should also instill in our students the belief that not only can they rise above the circumstances of their birth, but also equip them with skills and knowledge that give them real alternatives to the street.

As with most of America’s problems, the power to effect change lies more in the hands of those who drive our culture than those who drive our government. Washington can’t stamp the hatred out of people’s hearts, but families can block it before it takes hold. Washington’s primary role is to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens, not to restrict them in pursuit of political agendas that, by their own admission, don’t actually solve the problem they set out to fix in the first place.

When they began their current terms, the president and members of Congress swore an oath to protect the entire Constitution, including the Second Amendment. This includes defending parts of it that they – for whatever reason – may disagree with. We don’t get to pick and choose which parts we’d like to protect, nor do we get to recast the intentions of the original text to fit our own ideologies.

The Second Amendment is clear in both its scope and intention. Denying responsible citizens this American birthright is as unconstitutional as it is unnecessary. Disregarding the rights of law-abiding citizens will not solve the problem of gun violence. Instead, all Americans, not just those in Congress, must put politics aside and address the heart of the matter.

Obama LIES...yet again...

Obama: Newtown Shooter Gunned Down 20 Children With 'Fully Automatic Weapon'

By DANIEL HALPER / The Weekkly Standard

At a fundraiser last night in San Francisco, President Barack Obama said that the Newtown killer gunned down 20 children using a "fully automatic weapon." From the official transcript, provided by the White House:
Now, over the next couple of months, we’ve got a couple of issues:  gun control.  (Applause.)
 I just came from Denver, where the issue of gun violence is something that has haunted families for way too long, and it is possible for us to create common-sense gun safety measures that respect the traditions of gun ownership in this country and hunters and sportsmen, but also make sure that we don’t have another 20 children in a classroom gunned down by a semiautomatic weapon -- by a fully automatic weapon in that case, sadly.  
According to the prosecutor, Stephen J. Sedensky III, the killer, Adam Lanza, "killed all 26 victims inside Sandy Hook Elementary School with a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle before taking his own life with a Glock 10 mm handgun. He says Lanza had another loaded handgun with him inside the school as well as three, 30-round magazines for the Bushmaster," ABC previously reported.

Each of the guns used is a semi-automatic weapon, and not one is an automatic weapon.

So either Obama is wrong--or he revealed something last night about the massacre that hasn't yet been known.

Is Disability the New Welfare?

The government in Britain recently did something interesting.

It asked everyone receiving an "incapacity benefit" -- a disability program slowly being phased out under new reforms -- to submit to a medical test to confirm they were too disabled to work. A third of recipients (878,000 people) didn't even bother and dropped out of the program rather than be examined. Of those tested, more than half (55 percent) were found fit for work, and a quarter were found fit for some work.

But that's Britain, where there's a long tradition of gaming the dole. Americans would never think of taking advantage of the taxpayers or misleading the government. Well, except for the couple dozen people who have pleaded guilty to scamming the Long Island Rail Road's federal disability system in a $1 billion fraud scheme. A billion bucks would pay for a lot of White House tours.

Though hardly isolated, the LIRR scandal is an obvious black-and-white case of criminality. The real problem resides in a grayer area.

In 1960, when vastly more Americans were involved in physical labor of some kind, 0.65 percent of workforce participants between the ages of 18 and 64 were receiving Social Security disability insurance payments. Fifty years later, in a much healthier America, that number has grown nearly nine-fold to 5.6 percent.

In 1960, 134 Americans were working for every officially recognized disabled worker. Five decades later that ratio fell to roughly 16 to 1.

Some defenders of the status quo say these numbers can be explained by the entry of women into the U.S. workforce, the aging of baby boomers and the short-term spike in need that came with the recession.

No doubt those are significant factors. But not nearly so significant as to explain why the number of people on disability has been doubling every 15 years (while the average age of recipients has gone down) or why such a huge proportion of claim injuries can't be corroborated by a doctor.

Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute and the Harvard School of Public Health notes in his recent book "A Nation of Takers: America's Entitlement Epidemic" that 29 percent of the 8.6 million Americans who received Social Security disability benefits at the end of 2011 cited injuries involving the "musculoskeletal system and the connective tissue." Fifteen percent claimed "mood disorders."

It's almost impossible, Eberstadt writes, "for a medical professional to disprove a patient's claim that he or she is suffering from sad feelings or back pain." And that's assuming a doctor wants to disprove the claim.

In an illuminating and predictably controversial expos for "This American Life," NPR's "Planet Money" team tried to figure out why, since 2009, nearly 250,000 people have been applying for disability every month (while we've averaged only 150,000 new jobs every month).

The answers fall on both sides of the gray middle.

One factor has to do with what correspondent Chana Joffe-Walt calls the "Vast Disability Industrial Complex." These are the sometimes shady, sometimes well-intentioned lawyers who fight to fatten the rolls of disability recipients. These lawyers get a cut of every winning claimant's "back pay." The more clients, the bigger the take. That's why they run ads on TV shouting, "Disabled? Get the money you deserve!"

Then there are the doctors. Joffe-Walt profiles one rural Alabama doctor who signs off on disabilities for pretty much anyone lacking a good education on the assumption their employment prospects are grim.

That points to the even bigger parts of the story. As the nature of the economy changes, disability programs are sometimes taking the place of welfare for those who feel locked out of the workforce -- and state governments are loving it. States pay for welfare, the feds pay for disabilities.

There are those who are quick to argue that this is all bogus, there's nothing amiss with the disability system that greater funding and a better economy won't fix. Maybe they're right. One way to find out would be to ask every recipient to get a thorough examination, just as they did in Britain. Maybe the results here in the United States would be interesting too.

North Korean Leaders Set Agenda for Nuke Program

North Korea: On 1 April the government convened the seventh session of the 12 Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) in Pyongyang, pursuant to the Central Committee's directions on 31 March for legislation to institutionalize the nuclear armed forces, to develop the economy and to approve various appointments. The centerpiece of the meeting was "a law on consolidating the position of nuclear weapons state for self-defense (sic). "

"An ordinance of the Supreme People's Assembly of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in this regard was promulgated on Monday, 1 April."

"The DPRK is a full-fledged nuclear weapons state capable of beating back any aggressor troops at one strike, firmly defending the socialist system and providing a sure guarantee for the happy life of the people…."

"The Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK decides to consolidate the position of the nuclear weapons state as follows:

1. The nuclear weapons of the DPRK are just means for defense as it was compelled to have access to them to cope with the ever-escalating hostile policy of the U.S. and nuclear threat.

2. They serve the purpose of deterring and repelling the aggression and attack of the enemy against the DPRK and dealing deadly retaliatory blows at the strongholds of aggression until the world is denuclearized.

3. The DPRK shall take practical steps to bolster up the nuclear deterrence and nuclear retaliatory strike power both in quality and quantity to cope with the gravity of the escalating danger of the hostile forces' aggression and attack.

4. The nuclear weapons of the DPRK can be used only by a final order of the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army to repel invasion or attack from a hostile nuclear weapons state and make retaliatory strikes.

5. The DPRK shall neither use nukes against the non-nuclear states nor threaten them with those weapons unless they join a hostile nuclear weapons state in its invasion and attack on the DPRK.

6. The DPRK shall strictly observe the rules on safekeeping and management of nukes and ensuring the stability of nuclear tests.

7. The DPRK shall establish a mechanism and order for their safekeeping and management so that nukes and their technology, weapon-grade nuclear substance may not leak out illegally.

8. The DPRK shall cooperate in the international efforts for nuclear non-proliferation and safe management of nuclear substance on the principle of mutual respect and equality, depending on the improvement of relations with hostile nuclear weapons states.

9. The DPRK shall strive hard to defuse the danger of a nuclear war and finally build a world without nukes and fully support the international efforts for nuclear disarmament against nuclear arms race.

10. The related institutions shall take thorough practical steps for implementing this ordinance."

The Assembly also amended the constitution, passed a law on space development, and approved necessary organizational changes. It replaced two members of the powerful National Defense Commission.

Comment: The convening of the Assembly is itself a strong sign that the North considers the crisis about over. The agenda of the SPA meeting was normal business. The first week of April is the normal time for the SPA to convene, annually. This was a normal session of the Assembly and preparations and travel had to have been underway during most of March.

The first order of business was to amend the North's constitution to ensure perpetual veneration of the deceased elder Kims. After enacting laws on nuclear weapons and space, the Assembly reviewed the budget, made the personnel changes approved by the Central Committee on Sunday, and approved the work program for the Cabinet for the year.

The nuclear weapons consolidation law is significant for two reasons. First, it makes nuclear weapons non-negotiable without a change of law. That simply will never happen as long as an independent North Korea exists. Item 10 implies that it will be a crime for a North Korean diplomat to consent to nuclear negotiations of any kind.

The second point is related in that the expenditures on nuclear weapons can now be addressed in the normal business of the state and as a factor in the evolving plan for economic construction. With nuclear weapons openly and legally committed to securing national defense, Kim can spend less on the armed forces and use any savings on economic projects. In Sunday's Central Committee meeting, he made the point that boosting the nuclear armed forces will not increase defense spending.

This is another implication of the linkage of nuclear weapons with economic construction. It also is another reason why nuclear weapons are now beyond diplomacy. They are enablers of economic improvement.

The personnel changes that were announced included the recall from the National Defense Commission of two senior military officers who apparently resisted these measures. The Assembly also elected their replacements to the National Defense Commission. They are two officers who have accompanied Kim Jong Un in many of his recent public appearances.

This action would seem to legitimate and complete the purge of a former Minister of the People's Armed Forces and a Minister of the People's Security.

The people almost certainly behind Kim's slick ideological gymnastics are Chang Song Taek, Kim's uncle, and Kim Kyong Hui, Chang's wife and the sister of the late Kim Chong-il. The evidence for this is the naming of Pak Pong Ju as the premier.

Pak once was a deputy to Kim Kyong Hui in the Light Industry Ministry. He also is an associate of Chang and reported to be a member of his group of economic technocrats. Six or so years ago as premier, Pak is reputed to have pushed for an hourly wage system in North Korea and for laws protecting the rights of corporations. Kim Chong-il sacked Pak in 2007 and sent him to manage a cement plant. He has been on the way back to good standing since 2010.

In the rear area. More signs that tension has eased. Sources available to the Daily NK report that in the provinces bordering China, conditions are returning to normal. One noted that the high point of the exercises was the period 26 to 28 March, the period when full combat readiness was in effect. During that period there were lectures, meetings and rallies for soldiers and civilians. Since then there has been nothing special, no exercises or emergency summonses; everything has been quiet."

(Note: intense indoctrination of soldiers and civilians - lectures, meetings and rallies - is standard practice during periods of increased combat readiness.)

Another source said, "The soldiers here have returned to barracks following the end of a spell spent underground. They are now reviewing the year's winter training, while soldiers are also being permitted to go outside their bases….The market here is operating normally, with rice hovering at around the 6800 won level. Farmers are also out there preparing to get started on agriculture, without evacuation or tunnel exercises getting in the way."

Comment: The order to go to full combat readiness was the culmination of the Winter Training Cycle. The reports from the rear indicate the Winter Training Cycle ended last Friday. The review and evaluation period is in progress.

The tension provided cover for North Korea to take steps to ensure that it must be treated as a nuclear armed state. The high military readiness was in part a precaution against the possibility that the US might attack North Korea for its defiance of the UN and the US while it openly declared itself a nuclear weapons state. It also will be useful to show the need for a permanent peace.

The practice of using the threat of war to achieve political or operational gains. The North has done this before. It threatened war when it and China withdrew from and dismantled the Military Armistice Commission in 1994. It also has gone to semi-war state of readiness to cover its activities at Yongbyon, such as refueling the reactor without international supervision. Once Kim Il-sung threatened war to establish the North's right of transit for maritime ships from the port of Haeju to sail between the South Korean held islands off the west coast en route the Yellow Sea.

All three Kims now have used the threat of war to cover their achievement of controversial domestic issues without US interference, as well as to advance international issues. The leadership's willingness to pay such costs measures its continuing inability to gauge accurately Allied reaction, after 60 years.

The North's manipulation of combat readiness measures does not mean it was bluffing. The cost of the civilian mobilization and the increased military readiness steps establish that the North genuinely was prepared to go to general war, but had not made the final decision. Uncertain about the US response, they prepared for the worst.

The situation still is dangerous. There is no armistice. The state of war still exists, as it has for 60 years, and the North's leaders know they can bluff. However, they made the people pay a heavy price for "the new line." The limited information from the rear suggests the country, including the army, is exhausted.

Mali: Al-Qaida's local chapter took responsibility for the incursion into Timbuktu this weekend. On 1 April, French and Malian forces continued to hunt down the jihadists, searching house-to-house.

Comment: The claim of responsibility and the boldness of the attack reinforce the al-Qaida claim that its fighters are not beaten and they intend to return.

Western Journalism
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Obama's Latest Screw Up May Lead to Impeachment.

Dear Concerned Reader,

Fearing the very worst, the nation's super-rich are unloading their stocks at an alarming rate.

Even more troubling, the wealthiest 1% of Americans, who typically know the most, are the ones most anxious to sell.

You see, Obama just allowed 13 new tax increases to further slow the economy, wreck the stock market and make it even harder on the 12 million Americans already looking for work.

The bigger question is this…

Is Obama's Latest Tax
Screw Up Grounds
For Impeachment?

The poll results are likely to shock you.

Cast your vote now to see what America thinks.

Yes, impeach President Obama? Or No, higher taxes were necessary?

Thanks for your time on this urgent matter.

Robert Williams
Publisher, Wall Street Daily

  The Center for Western Journalism 42104 N Venture Drive Suite B-122, Anthem, AZ 85086

Obama: Gun Control Won’t Lead to Confiscation Because ‘I Am Constrained by a System Our Founders Put in Place’

Obama: Gun Control Wont Lead to Confiscation Because I Am Constrained by a System Our Founders Put in Place
DENVER, CO – APRIL 03: U.S. President Barack Obama addresses gun control issues during a speech at the Denver Police Academy on April 3, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. Obama commended Colorado’s newly passed gun control laws. Credit: Getty Images

DENVER (TheBlaze/AP) — Ratcheting up pressure for Congress to limit access to guns, President Barack Obama said Wednesday that recent steps by Colorado to tighten its gun laws show “there doesn’t have to be a conflict” between keeping citizens safe and protecting Second Amendment rights to gun ownership.

“I believe there doesn’t have to be a conflict in reconciling these realities,” Obama said in Denver, where he stepped up his call for background checks for all gun purchases and renewed his demand that Congress at least vote on banning assault weapons and limiting access to large-capacity ammunition magazines.

The president dismissed gun owners’ concerns that gun control legislation could be a stepping stone to gun confiscation in the U.S., saying “I am constrained by a system our founders put in place.”

Pres Obama rejects concerns new background checks might lead to gun confiscation: "I am constrained by a system our founders put in place."
Obama: Gun Control Wont Lead to Confiscation Because I Am Constrained by a System Our Founders Put in Place
Mark Knoller

Obama noted that more than 100 days have passed since the shooting rampage that killed 20 first-graders and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., and reignited the national debate o wait to do something about it, even more of our fellow citizens are stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun. Now the good news is Colorado has already chosen to do something about it,” he said.

See 1.6 billion rounds of ammo here:

In danger of losing congressional momentum on the issue, Obama went to Colorado – which has a deep-rooted hunting tradition and where gun ownership is a cherished right – to use its example and public pressure to prod Congress to act.

Colorado suffered two of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history – at Columbine high school in 1999 and at a movie theater in Aurora last year. It recently expanded background checks for gun purchases and placed restrictions on ammunition magazines.

Prospects for passage of similar measures by Congress appear bleak, largely because of concerns by conservative Republicans and moderate Democrats who come down more on the side of gun rights.