The permanence of the Internet is a great thing. Every now and then, someone will revive, for present-day scrutiny, some sanctimonious declaration or other made by an elected official who never should have been elected.
The New Year has just arrived and Senator Diane Feinstein already has parts of new gun control legislation ready to go. Two Sunday’s ago on NBC’s Meet the Press, Feinstein talked about giving President Obama a bill he can “lead on” and used the term assault weapon loosely.
Feinstein has posted a summary of what the legislation will cover, which inculdes a ban on semi-automatic handguns and shotguns in addition to rifles. The legislation also requires registration of previously purchased guns.
Senator Feinstein’s ultimate plan has always been to have Mr. and Mrs. America turn in their guns to the government, period. Feinstein has admitted that the bill is about gun confiscation.
She tells us a gun ban is about saving the children and reducing crime, but her comments on 60 Minutes in 1995 reveal her true plan is to disarm the American people.
Feinstein’s legislation is open-ended and includes provisions to re-register firearms and submit the fingerprints of law-abiding Americans as if they’re sex offenders. The bill will also include a buy-back provision that will allow the government to confiscate all firearms.
Both Feinstein and New York governor Andrew Cuomo have said that is their plan.
It is a gun confiscation bill.
Chicago, which has been an example to follow for the anti-gun lobby for decades, probably has the toughest gun laws in the country. In fact, so extreme is the gun control in the Windy City that prior to the 2010 Supreme Court decision in McDonald v. Chicago, you couldn’t even have a gun in your own house with which to defend yourself or your family.
A Chicago home owner was like a public school teacher — he had to sit defenseless with his fingers crossed and simply hope the criminals didn’t target his house on a given day or night.
Even now, after the McDonald decision, you have jump through a myriad of hoops to get a gun. And, although they are working on it, concealed carry has yet to be legalized.
Yet the truth is more than 440 school-age children have been shot in Chicago in 2012. This is not to say that 440 school-age children died, simply that more than 440 school-age children were at least wounded. The number of school-age children killed is reported at approximately 60.
Despite all the shootings, murders, and bloodshed, you never hear a peep about this from progressive politicians or the leftist run mainstream media. So why isn’t this news worthy? Is it because it would embarrass those anti second amendment fanatics who brag about Chicago’s tough gun laws? Is it because most of the kids who were shot and killed were minorities? Or is it because the corrupt media doesn’t want to show Chicago in a bad light?
THE LIST OF MURDERED SCHOOL AGE CHILDREN 2012
18 YEARS OLD- 15
17 YEARS OLD- 16
16 YEARS OLD- 16
15 YEARS OLD- 6
14 YEARS OLD- 4
13 YEARS OLD- 2
12 YEARS OLD- 1
7 YEARS OLD- 1
6 YEARS OLD- 1
THE LIST OF SCHOOL AGE CHILDREN SHOT IN 2012
18 year old- 110
17 year old- 99
16 year old- 89
15 year old- 62
14 year old- 39
13 year old- 21
12 year old- 10
11 year old- 2
10 year old- 3
9 year old- 1
7 year old- 3
6 year old- 2
5 year old- 1
4 year old- 1
3 year old- 1
1 year old- 2
The bottom line: No matter how tough the gun laws are, the crazed, nut jobs will find a way to get them and, if they so chose, use them. No draconian law can stop this, no matter how well intentioned the law is. It seems that denying the free exercise of the right to keep and bear arms to law-abiding citizens not only does not curtail the actions of criminals, but actually emboldens them.
On August 17, 1975, Sen. Frank Church appeared on “Meet the Press” to discuss his investigations into the surveillance capabilities of America’s intelligence agencies.
We have a particular obligation to examine the NSA, in light of its tremendous potential for abuse . . . The danger lies in the ability of the NSA to turn its awesome technology against domestic communications…
That capacity at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left; such [is] the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter.
There would be no place to hide. If government ever became a tyranny, if a Dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.
Since the day when Senator Church spoke the words quoted above, there has been a dramatic change in the way Americans and for that matter the world communicates. Thousands of miles of fiber optic cables rest on the sea bottom around the world allowing transmissions of voice, email, graphics and music to travel at the speed of light. Additionally the pervasive use of cell phones has changed the way that the intelligence community has risen to meet the challenges.
Today there is very little that is known about peoples of the world that is not lying in massive global databases under the scrutiny of governments. The expansion of technology since 9/11 has grown tremendously and governments are spending billions annually to spy on their own people.
As the top spy chief at the U.S. National Security Agency explained, the American government is collecting some 100 billion 1,000-character emails per day, and 20 trillion communications of all types per year.
He says that the government has collected all of the communications of congressional leaders, generals and everyone else in the U.S. for the last 10 years.
He further explains that he set up the NSA’s system so that all of the information would automatically be encrypted, so that the government had to obtain a search warrant based upon probably cause before a particular suspect’s communications could be decrypted. But the NSA now collects all data in an unencrypted form, so that no probable cause is needed to view any citizen’s information.
He says that if anyone gets on the government’s “enemies list”, then the stored information will be used to target them. Specifically, he notes that if the government decides it doesn’t like someone, it analyzes all of the data it has collected on that person and his or her associates over the last 10 years to build a case against him.
TechDirt points out:
While the Stasi likely wanted more info and would have loved to have been able to tap into a digitally connected world like we have today, that just wasn’t possible.
That’s true. The tyrants in Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and Stasi Eastern Europe would have liked to easedrop on every communication and every transaction of every citizen.
But in the world before the internet, smart phones, electronic medical records and digital credit card transactions, much of what happened behind closed doors remained private.
In modern America, a much higher percentage of your communications and transactions are being recorded and stored by the government.
“I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge,” Senator Church said. “I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, an influential Muslim scholar and a professor at King Abdul Aziz University in Saudi Arabia, has called for the United Nations to end free speech.
The UN Human Rights Committee has declared the right to free speech and expression may be subjected to restrictions that are “strictly necessary and proportionate.”
In December, according to Forbes, the United States voiced its support for UN resolution 16/18, an initiative of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation that seeks to limit speech that is viewed as “discriminatory” or which involves the “defamation of religion.”
“We ask everyone to ponder the ramifications of provoking the feelings of over one billion people by a small party of people who desires not to seek peace nor fraternity between members of humanity,” bin Bayyah wrote in a public declaration in response to the anti-Islam video that has provoked massive demonstrations and several deaths across the Muslim world.
“This poses a threat to world peace with no tangible benefit realized. Is it not necessary in today’s world for the United Nations to issue a resolution criminalizing the impingement of religious symbols? We request all religious and political authorities, as well as people of reason to join us in putting a stop to this futility that benefits no one.”
The public statement is titled a “Declaration Regarding the Offensive Video to Muslims.”
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times argued in favor of restricting the First Amendment in response to the inflammatory video, citing Schenck vs. United States. In the landmark case, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. wrote that the First Amendment “would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic.”
Pornpimol Kanchanalak, writing for The Nation, says “the world is toiling to find the right balance between free speech and its restrictions” and cites instances of government censorship ranging from a French court ruling against the distribution of semi-nude photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge to laws in Europe designed to prevent speech in conflict with the official version of the Holocaust. “While the United States may be unwilling to set limits on the freedom of expression,” Kanchanalak writes, “other countries may disagree or be unwilling to treat such freedom as absolute and pious.”
Despite calls to limit freedom of expression to protect the religious and political sensitivities of others, a recent Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey concludes that 72% of poll respondents believe the freedom of speech is more important than assuaging the hurt feelings of Muslims. “Only 15% consider it more important for the United States to make sure that nothing is done to offend other nations and cultures,” Rasmussen explains.
“The thing that makes this particularly difficult for the United States is that … we treat what most of us would refer to as hate speech as constitutionally protected speech and Americans don’t appreciate, I think, how unusual this position seems in the rest of the world,” Lawrence Rosenthal, a professor at Chapman University’s School of Law in Orange, California, told the Associated Press.
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah and other Muslim clerics, however, believe the United States should ignore the Constitution and censor offensive speech.
“To our Western neighbors … we are extremely concerned with a small active minority in your countries that seeks to perpetuate a state of conflict and war,” bin Bayyah wrote. “We estimate that such objectives do not serve the general interest. Therefore, it is our hope that you reconsider and criminalize the denigration of religious symbols, as such provocations do not serve the principles of free speech, principles that you and us both seek to uphold.”
Rossville, Georgia is a small town of about 4100 residents. It lies just across the Georgia – Tennessee border and is considered to be part of the Chattanooga metropolitan area. The town is named after John Ross, a Cherokee chief who lived there until being forced to Oklahoma during the great Indian removal. His log cabin is still there as a landmark.
Under the bright lights, fans began to cram into the visitor bleachers in search of a good seat Friday. But along with the usual trappings of Panther pride, some fans traded in their black team shirts for a new one that displayed a player kneeling surrounded by the words “Take a knee and pray with me.”
And once the stands filled, as the young athletes in black and white clustered behind a banner held by their cheerleaders ready to burst through, a teen raised a Christian flag on the sidelines.
For many Ridgeland fans in the stands and players down below, the real opponent isn’t on the football field.
Two weeks ago, Ridgeland High and football coach Mark Mariakis came under attack from , the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an atheist activist group based in Madison, Wisconsin, claiming that he violated the First Amendment by allowing local churches to prepare meals for team members. The organization sent a letter addressed to Damon Raines, Superintendent of Walker County Schools in LaFayette, Georgia, demanding that officials immediately investigate Mark Mariakis, the Ridgeland High School coach.
Like most southern communities, high school football is king in Rossville, home of the Ridgeland High School Panthers. It has been a tradition for some years now that the football team is fed a nice dinner before each game. The dinners are provided by ten different local churches, who take turns feeding the team.
In a letter dated August 21, 2012, addressed to Damon Raines, Superintendent of Schools, the FFRF states that the school and head football coach are violating the First Amendment and separation of state and church in several ways. Those ways include:
“Taking public school football teams to church, even for a meal, is unconstitutional.”
“Coach prayers are both unconstitutional.”
“Using bible verses on team apparel and in team speeches is unconstitutional.”
“[Coach] Mariakis’ participation in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes”
“Pressuring public school students to attend a Christian football camp is unconstitutional.”
Their entire letter to school superintendent can be read here, but they conclude with the following:
We ask that Walker County Schools commence an immediate investigation into the complaints alleged, and take immediate action to stop any and all violations of the First Amendment including:
The pre-game dinner at churches. The first scheduled game is August 31, 2012. Mariakis must not be permitted to take players to a church at any time.
Any WCS employee organization or participation in prayers at school events or activities.
The use of bible verses on school equipment or paraphernalia or as a motivational tool.
Violations of the Equal Access Act by WCS employees, including coaches and teachers.
Mandating, pressuring, or recommending a religious camp or church attendance to public school.”
Immediately, thousands threw their support to Mariakis in social media, emails, calls and in person.
To many area residents, faith is everything. In Rossville and many surrounding towns, there are more churches than places to eat. Faith is not a Sunday-only activity with Jesus here but no Jesus there. Faith is embedded in every aspect of their lives.
“[To] ignore faith as the fabric of our community is to ignore who we are,” said the Rev. John Moore of LaFayette First United Methodist.
Mariakis supporters believe the fight at Ridgeland High is bigger than one coach, one team and one small town.
The lines between the public and private are complicated for Christians in the Southeast. Religious morals dictate liquor laws on Sunday. Political leaders ask God’s blessing before city council and county commission meetings.
Campaigning politicians often end their speeches with the same phrase: “And God bless the United States of America.”
Faith and football have a high-profile connection. New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow kneels to pray after touchdowns. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees thanked God after winning the Super Bowl in 2010.
The Liberty Counsel has contacted the school board and offered their legal services free of charge. Representing the Liberty Counsel, Richard Mast wrote the school board saying:
“Liberty Counsel disagrees with the overreaching assertion of FFRF. Among other things, it is permissible for churches to voluntarily prepare meals for members of the high school football team, and for team members to eat them. The Constitution does not demand the eradication of faith from public life, or that churches be prohibited from participation in the life of the local community. A church has as much right as any other local civic organization to provide pregame meals to members and guests, even if they are a part of the local high school football team. FFRF’s letter actually urges Districts to adopt harmful and counter-productive policies that would discriminate against religion, and which in turn would expose the district to civil liability.”
Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver commented on FFRF’s actions saying:
“This atheist group continues to lick stamps and send frivolous letters with militant zeal designed to hurt communities because of its anti-Christian fixation. Nothing in the Constitution requires communities to abandon common sense and create zones hostile to religion.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is quickly becoming one of the most anti-Christian organizations in the nation.
Walker County school officials said Ridgeland High School isn’t violating athletes’ First Amendment rights and the football team will continue to have student-led prayers and church-held meals before games.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon at the school, Walker Superintendent Damon Raines said he took a complaint lodged against Ridgeland by the Freedom From Religion Foundation seriously and looked at whether football coach Mark Mariakis was doing anything wrong.
On the field Friday night, the Panthers stood in a huddle waiting for the whistle to blow; meanwhile the Calhoun Yellow Jackets knelt on the ground and bowed their heads.
Miami-Dade County in Florida is now working with the U.S. Air Force to spray mosquitos.
“This newest round of mosquito control involves a large C-130 cargo plane based in Ohio to spray Homestead ARB and communities of Doral, West Sweetwater, Kendall, Homestead, Florida City and areas east of U.S. 1, where heavy concentrations of mosquitos have been reported,” CBS Miamireports.
While the Posse Comitatus Act forbids the military from participating in state and local police functions, the use of the military in activity that is the responsibility of local government is another example of how the military is being systematically integrated into civilian operations.
“A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty,” James Madison wrote. Standing armies “in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and protection of the community will admit; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power,” wrote Patrick Henry.
Residents of Florida may not easily see the connection between the tyranny of a standing army and the Air Force spraying pests. However, using the military in an operation that is the responsibly of civilian government reveals that the warnings of Madison and Henry are no longer heeded or for that matter relevant.
Since September 11, 2001, the government has devised an elaborate plan to merge civilian and military operations, most notably under the aegis of a coordinated response to terror attacks and natural disasters and other emergencies.
Military troops have appeared on the street in response to a murderer at large and as security personnel at the Kentucky Derby. The Pentagon now routinely cooperates with the Department of Homeland Security and state and local law enforcement and has worked locally to oversee and man traffic checkpoints and even arrest civilians.
This is not coincidental. The federal government has a keen interest in merging military and local government operations. If the founders were alive today, they would recognize this for what it is – the very essence of tyranny.
Does anyone else remember watching that Schoolhouse Rock cartoon about how a bill becomes a law. That single cartoon probably brainwashed three generations of children into believing in the checks and balances fantasy of the US federal government.
The reality is what we see everywhere today– self-regulating, self-legislating executive agencies with nearly unlimited scope and authority. Even the most mundane offices within the Fish and Wildlife Service can confiscate people’s private property without any judicial oversight.
These agencies can also conjure new rules out of thin air, all on their own, that have the same weight and effect as laws. In fact, Regulations.gov shows that there have been nearly 575 newly posted regulations or proposals just in the last week… and over 6,200 over the past 90-days. This is truly mind-numbing.
President Obama’s announcement Friday that he is using his executive authority to defer deportation proceedings for young immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally but meet certain requirements was just the latest example of the president’s use of his power to act without Congress on policy issues.
And like the other actions the president has increasingly taken as part of his “We Can’t Wait” initiative, the decision announced last Friday was characterized by Obama’s political opponents as an abuse of power and violation of congressional prerogatives.
There will be some people who will cry foul. Who will say this is a gross abuse of the president’s Article II powers. But that, too, has always been true when presidents strike out on their own and act unilaterally.
“The people who cry foul are typically, not always, but typically members of the opposite party who don’t like the policy that the president’s advancing.
Change is what Obama promised and what he’s delivering. Is it really what Americans thought they were voting for? This president has been ruling by decree for the past several years, and his executive orders, when studied as a whole, have a clear (to some of us) and alarming direction.
Beyond the usual functional orders, many of Obama’s orders show a definite trend toward bypassing Congress whenever possible and deepening involvement of the Executive Branch in local affairs. Some of the more suspect executive orders are:
Executive Order 13609 – Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation — Circumvents constitutional process of treaty negotiation and Senate approval. Appointed presidential policy panel is to consider changing U.S. trade regulations to match laws in foreign countries.
Executive Order 13603 – National Defense Resources Preparedness — Updates previous order. In peacetime or times of national emergency, heads of Agriculture, Energy, Health and Human Services, Transportation, Defense and Commerce can take food, livestock, fertilizer, farm equipment, all forms of energy, water resources, all forms of civil transportation and any other materials, including construction materials from wherever they are available.
Executive Order 13575 – Establishment of the White House Rural Council — Authorizes a Rural Council to exert control over “agricultural organizations, small businesses, education and training institutions, health-care providers, telecommunications services providers, research and land grant institutions, law enforcement, State, local, and tribal governments, and nongovernmental organizations regarding the needs of rural America.”
Executive Order 13544 – Establishing the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council — Creates a council that includes the Secretary of Homeland Security and is charged with creating a policy to “achieve national wellness, health promotion, and public health goals, including the reduction of tobacco use, sedentary behavior, and poor nutrition.” Sounds innocuous, but consider New York City’s current efforts to ban certain foods. Do you want Uncle Sam determining your menu?
Executive Order 13503 – Establishment of the White House Office of Urban Affairs – This exceptionally vague order creates an office designed to interfere with and influence policies of city governments in undefined ways by coordinating with federal agencies.
If Obama gets away with his amnesty by executive order, he will have proved that there is no one who can stop him. He has in place all the legal framework he needs to crack down on dissent and prevent any possible physical resistance. All he need do is declare a national emergency, and his administration has set up several potential “crises” that could precipitate such a declaration.
If one man and his administration is allowed to singlehandedly change the law in ways that they never could have achieved through the constitutional legal process, and he remainsunchallenged, we are no longer living in a constitutional republic. They will have completely thrown out the Constitution and for all intents and purposes, made themselves the king and his court.