|Posted by Mother Goose on January 12, 2013 at 12:10 AM||comments (0)|
Since our masters of web security have seen fit to crash Matthew Bracken's website
http:/enemiesforeignanddomestic.com/ I am reposting his article here in full:
For widespread distribution, more cutting-edge commentary from Matt Bracken, former SEAL and author of the Enemies Foreign and Domestic trilogy, along with his most recent novel, Castigo Cay:
Bracken: Dear Mr. Security Agent:
TO PROTECT AND SERVE
Dear Mr. Security Agent, Federal, state, or local. You, the man or woman with the badge, the sworn LEO or FLEA and those who inhabit the many law enforcement niches in between and on all sides. This essay is directed to you, because in the end, how this turmoil about gun control turns out will depend largely upon your decisions and actions over the coming months and years.
I sincerely wish that members of Congress—who may soon be voting on new gun control measures—would read this essay, but I realize that’s a pipe dream, considering the impenetrable bubbles around those exalted entities. So I’ll settle for you, Mr. (or Ms.) Security Agent, since you already gobble up everything on the internet, and I don’t have to seek you out.
A decade ago I wrote the novel Enemies Foreign and Domestic, a tale about how tragic events involving the misuse of firearms can be used by an evil administration to misinform and mold public opinion to support its malign anti-freedom policies.
No, my novel was not predicting “Operation Fast and Furious” a decade before that covert policy of “pursuing gun control under the radar,” (which was President Obama’s explanation to Sarah Brady for his lack of overt political action). That inter-agency gun-walking policy, remember, resulted in the deaths of over four hundred Mexicans and two U.S. federal agents, murdered in an effort to discredit the Second Amendment and lead to more restrictive gun control laws in America. (If Nixon—or any Republican, for that matter—were in office, the intentional bloodbath would be called Murdergate, but today’s collaborating Woodwards and Bernsteins are in on the cover-up.)
Instead of gun-walking thousands of AK-47s to Mexican drug cartel assassins (who would believe that?), Enemies Foreign and Domestic begins with a sniper opening fire on a packed football stadium. A thousand innocent fans die, some from the ninety bullets fired but most in the ensuing panic stampede. In a traumatized America, the fictional stadium massacre results in the banning of all semi-automatic rifles, with no buyback, no grandfathering of weapons already owned, and no sunset clause. Citizens had to turn them in for destruction or face years in federal prison.
The page-one stadium massacre was simply a plot device chosen to launch the story in high gear and set the stage to immediately and fully explore the main theme of the novel: the calculated transformation of our Constitutional republic into a socialist police state. Since I prefer to write tightly wound fiction transpiring at a rapid pace in a compressed time period, I examined the imposition of totalitarian controls over the course of just a few weeks, not years or decades.
1. The TSA: On the road to the American police stateConsider: The TSA was born in the panicked backwash of 9/11, which is understandable given the events of that day, when Muslim maniacs screaming allahu akbar murdered 3,000 Americans and others in the name of Islamic global jihad. But a decade after 9/11, due entirely to political correctness, it’s completely out of the question to profile Mohammed at the airport yet absolutely necessary for that bloated agency to “randomly” select your pre-teen or teenage daughter for a body search performed by a government matron in a TSA uniform. This frequently under-the-clothes and against-the-skin complete body search may done in full public view, or in a hidden back room, solely at the discretion of the TSA agents involved.
Meanwhile, Mom and Dad stand off to the side where they have been directed to wait, saying nothing, scarcely moving, avoiding random eye contact lest a TSA security agent catch a wayward smirk or utterance of protest. To pull out a cell phone camera at this time would surely invite arrest. To walk over and grab the matron by the arm is out of the question. Defending your child from the indignity would lead only to your being Tasered and handcuffed on the cold airport floor. After that, your entire family may wind up in some TSA airport detention cells, conveniently located right on your concourse and unknown to you until then. Better to stew in silence, let the incident pass, and try to forget it.
So in the year 2013, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we stand with our eyes averted, burning with humiliation, while our spouses or children are groped above and below the waist by blue-gloved government prison guards—only we are in an airport in a free country, and not in a prison!
Or are we? A virtual open-air prison, where government security agents can pat down ordinary citizens at will is the accepted “new normal.” Did that happen often in East Germany, I wonder? In the Soviet Union? Does it happen today in Cuba? Officially sanctioned crotch groping in the name of “security?”
(Why, again, was it that the TSA was created? Oh yes, Islamic jihad terrorists destroyed some big buildings and killed thousands of people in New York City on September 11 way back in the year 2001. It was because of that very bad day in lower Manhattan and many other acts of bloody Muslim terrorism around the world going on for decades, especially hijacking and blowing up lots of airliners full of people. It’s so easy to forget why exactly it is that we need to become a police state for our own safety.)
And now we read that the TSA is yet again expanding and branching out, like an octopus on steroids. This suddenly gargantuan federal agency is not only running routine checkpoints and stop-and-frisk operations in airports, but at bus and train stations also. Eight thousand times in 2010, if you can believe the government’s own accounting figures. Your papers, please! These checkpoints and mobile searching stations are called VIPR Teams, a telling acronym for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response Teams.
Folks, you cannot make this stuff up. Well, actually, you can. Way back in 2002 in Enemies Foreign and Domestic I invented FIST checkpoints, for Firearms Inspections Stop Terrorism. I leave it to you as to which sounds more coolly ominous and plausible in fact and in fiction—VIPRs or FISTs.
The advance word is that at the next stop on this express lane to tyranny, we will be seeing the TSA on our highways, setting up roaming vehicle checkpoints. For our “public safety,” of course. Watch the recent YouTube video of the Texas state trooper digitally raping a mother and daughter by the side of a Texas highway to see law enforcement checkpoint authority run amok, and wonder at the future of our nation and our hard-won legacy of individual freedom. If you can stomach to watch it.
Welcome to the USSA, comrades! How in the world did this happen? When did we wake up to find our freedom stolen in the night—and all in name of “homeland security” and “public safety”?
2. Nobody needs an assault weapon!And now in the wake of yet another disgusting example of the worst human depravity, this time in an elementary school in New England, we are told by the government that some firearms are simply too dangerous for citizens to possess. We are told that limiting or removing these firearms from private hands will increase the general public safety. We are told that it is a small thing to give up semi-automatic rifles, which the political and cooperating media elites will dutifully call “assault weapons,” even though nobody can quite define the term. In any case, we are told, nobody needs an “assault weapon” with a thirty-round magazine.
Well, actually, almost nobody needs them.
Apparently, Mr. Security Agent and his comrades need them, lots of them. Tens of thousands of new “assault weapons,” enough to shoot all of the billions (with a “b” of .223 and .40 caliber hollow-point bullets recently purchased by our federal law enforcement agencies in unprecedented new acquisitions. Are we suddenly expecting a foreign invasion I missed reading about? Wouldn’t that be the job of the military? Why do our federal law enforcement agencies suddenly need tens of thousands of “assault weapons” and billions of new hollow-point (not training) bullets, many times more than in previous years?
Evidently, it’s very dangerous on the Homeland Security front, and Mr. Security Agent needs a lot of firepower to be able to put down all of the assorted troublemakers and problem children out in the “uncontrolled spaces” of America. You can’t have too much firepower if you work for our government law enforcement agencies!
But in the name of public safety the government is going to whittle your allowable firearms down step by step, first eliminating semi-automatic rifles, then pistols, and eventually on down to the last bolt-action hunting rifles and shotguns, which may be kept at a government armory, and signed out for an approved day of hunting with a few shells. (Make sure to retrieve your empty brass for the counting.)
So, step by step, the government is going to take away any ability the average citizen might have to resist a rampaging mob or roving gangs of bandits during a breakdown in law and order, or any demands at all made by a tyrannical government sometime in the murky future.
3. Trust us, we’re from the government.So at the historical moment that our nation is turning into a police state, with no expectation of privacy, even of our private parts in public airports or on public highways, we are commanded to grant even greater trust in our government’s perpetual future benevolence, to have blind faith that at no point in the future will our government turn tyrannical.
But in the year 2013, has the government already earned our trust, or our disgust, with its current abuses of its police powers? In this environment of steadily creeping tyranny, should we comply with government demands for our increasing disarmament?
I wrote Enemies Foreign and Domestic a decade ago with the hope that eventually anti-gun liberals would discover it and it would provide them with a virtual road map to understanding conservative thinking about firearms and their place in society. Additionally, I wrote the novel hoping that if it were successful, it might provide me a platform and a microphone to discuss these issues at some dangerous time in the future.
That time is now. Well-meaning, gun-loathing liberals need to understand that they are blindly tossing matches into a dynamite factory with their threats to severely limit and restrict the Second Amendment. They must understand the other point of view in order not to send America careening into a deadly minefield, the existence of which they are, evidently, blissfully unaware.
4. The gun nutsTo many liberals, the popular American hobby of collecting and shooting guns is a bizarre and shameful vice. Three or four pistols and long guns and a few hundred rounds of ammunition are routinely described in the popular media as an “arsenal.” Perhaps in a Manhattan walk-up studio apartment, where that handful of guns had to be smuggled in and hidden, it would be considered an “arsenal.” But out past the urban beltway, out in Red State America, that is what many folks I know keep in their car or truck for roadside emergencies, or impromptu plinking, or varmint-hunting opportunities. And hell, isn’t that why we have guns out in Red State America? Damn sure is. Among other reasons.
Millions of firearms aficionados in their later years have purchased a rifle, pistol or shotgun every year or two for decades. In millions of cases, these add up to dozens of firearms per household. A round dozen firearms of all types might be a good average. Some are hunting arms, some are military antiques, and increasingly, many are defensive pistols and modern sporting rifles, and yes, both are semi-automatic. For example, millions of AR-15 rifles have been purchased in just the last few years. Note that I did not say modern hunting rifles. That is a separate category, but the important thing to understand is that the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting, and anybody who says it does is telling a lie.
Those of us who enjoy firearms feel it deeply when some lunatic misuses one to slaughter innocents. Shooting ranges are virtually churches of gun safety, with safety rules posted everywhere, taught to one and all, and enforced strictly. Passing down our tradition of safe and responsible gun ownership from generation to generation is considered a sacred trust. When a firearm is misused by a criminal, our greatest wish is always that we had been present with our legally concealed pistols to stop the slaughter of unarmed, defenseless innocents. And more frequently than you might imagine, this actually happens.
Consider this: the average number of victims per incident when the shooter is stopped by an armed civilian: three. The average number of victims when the shooter is stopped by a policeman: fourteen. Why? Because when every second is a matter of life and death, the police are still minutes away. Think about those numbers. Eleven people die needlessly if the shooting takes place in a “victim disarmament zone,” where legal firearms are prohibited. This is why deranged shooters head for schools, malls, and theaters, where signs forthrightly proclaim that guns are forbidden. A “no firearms” sign draws such a person the way that a starving wolf is attracted to a pen full of helpless lambs.
But when the killer is stopped by an armed civilian, the mainstream media rarely or never mention that fact, because it goes against their propaganda template: the inherent evil of guns in civilian hands. So those stories are spiked and the typical American never hears of them. Did you know that shortly before the tragedy in Connecticut, an armed civilian stopped a maniac in a packed shopping mall after he had killed only two victims, instead of twenty-seven?
5. If it bleeds, it leads: The media love maniacs.The same media that pointedly ignore frequent life-saving defensive uses of firearms consistently pours hours and days and weeks of attention upon the latest maniac who chooses a firearm as his tool of mass murder, so that the next potential insane villain cannot fail to notice the easy path to fame and immortality that the misuse of a gun can bring. But the greatest fame will only attach if they can beat the previous body-count record, a number constantly and loudly broadcast, so that no one can fail to hear it.
The message to the unstable is clear: Come on, you crazy guys, can’t you at least murder your way to thirty? The Virginia Polytechnic Institute madman is still leading the lone-wolf pack, but college students might resist, so maybe find an easier target to rack up higher numbers. Find a killing zone with younger and more helpless victims. The media’s lesson was clear, and it was well learned by Adam Lanza when he set out to slaughter helpless little lambs instead of bigger and tougher sheep.
The mainstream media pour a Niagara of crocodile tears over the most recent child victims, after doing everything for the killer but sign his name to their pre-written script. With such fanfare, is it any wonder that there is no lack of new monsters playing “beat the kill record” on a regular basis? It’s almost become a recurring television reality show.
Meanwhile, liberal politicians scheme about how to leverage the latest human tragedy into new gun control laws, laws that by definition will be obeyed only by the law-abiding, not by criminals. “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” to paraphrase Obama confidant Rahm Emmanuel. And no better opportunity to trim the Second Amendment fangs and claws of their ideological enemies than in the immediate aftermath of another massacre wrought by a madman with a gun.
But conservatives have also considered this phenomenon of grief exploitation for political ends, although from a very different ideological perspective. We look back a century and even longer, and see other nations and peoples that were also on the march forward toward “social progress” when the need for mandatory gun registration suddenly became an urgent national priority.
6. So what’s the matter with gun registration?To say that Turkey did not enjoy a smooth transition from being the seat of the collapsing Ottoman Empire, through World War I and into the modernist Ataturk era, would be a massive understatement. In those turbulent times, ethnic Turks, Muslims composing the vast majority of the population, considered their Christian minorities, especially the Armenians, to be disloyal and treacherous.
In 1911, a national gun registration law was passed in Turkey, with no apparent ill intention beyond increasing public safety. In 1915, during the Great War, these gun registration lists were used to disarm the Armenian and other Christian populations. Army battalions cordoned off entire towns and did gun sweeps. Once disarmed, the official state violence visited against the Armenians ratcheted up to murderous levels. Typically, on town-wide sweeps, all of the men and boys were taken away by the Turkish soldiers, never to be seen or heard from again.
Only after these Armenian “enemies of the state” were disarmed and completely helpless to resist did the final step begin: the officially sanctioned, ordered, led and conducted wholesale “deportations” of the Christian minorities from Turkey. These “deportations” were in reality forced marches into fiery deserts, accompanied by pervasive sadistic cruelty comparable only to the Japanese “Bataan Death March,” and the less known but much more deadly death marches of the last surviving Jews in Nazi hands as the Red Army closed in on Germany.
Three decades earlier in Turkey, rape, roadside torture sessions ending in death, and the entire worst catalog of human abuses were standard procedure while the Christian Armenians were being marched into the deserts to die of thirst, hunger, exposure, and sheer brutality. The stragglers who could not keep up with the columns being force-marched without food or water by Turkish soldiers were killed with bullets, bayonets, swords and even crueler means (for sport and variety), until the columns were no more and the missions were complete.
Between 1915 and 1923, one and a half of the two million Turkish Armenians were murdered, along with a half million Christians of other sects. The rest escaped from Turkey in one of the first great diasporas of a genocided people in the modern era. There is no need to build gas chambers or slave-labor gulag death camps in a country with ample deserts. In Turkey there is no Dachau or Auschwitz to memorialize the dead, just bones scattered in the sand and rocks a century ago, a model of efficiency that Hitler might have envied. (The Turks deny to this day that it happened, just as some deny the later Nazi holocaust.)
But even after conducting this first modern mega-death holocaust, with diplomats and reporters covering the genocide with daily wire reports, Turkey was not expelled in disgrace from the community of nations. There was no Western boycott of the new Turkish state. Adolf Hitler noticed this 20th-century indifference to genocide, and so did Lenin and Stalin and other despots. After the horrors of the First World War, the West had little gas left in the tank for do-gooder intervention just because some ethnic minority or other had been wiped out in Turkey.
A new low standard had been set. A nation’s leaders could commit genocide against a despised minority, murder two million living souls in full view, and the world would not give a good damn. It was an important lesson for future dictators, leading to even greater mass murders under the Nazis and Soviets.
And the German Nazis and the Soviet Communists learned another crucial lesson from the Turks: national gun registration laws could be passed easily in the name of dubious “public safety,” and the registration lists could be used later to disarm selected minorities and then subsequently to arrest, deport, and murder them by the millions after they were helpless to resist.
In the Turkish case, only a small clique understood the true purpose behind the gun registration and gun control laws of 1911. If average Turks thought about the gun laws at all, they probably believed they would actually lead to greater public safety, as advertised. That was also generally the case with the Russians, Germans, Chinese, Cambodians, Guatemalans, Rwandans, and all the rest who were required to register or even turn in their firearms for “public safety,” and who accepted the demand at face value as a “reasonable” gun control measure, to their later regret.
American liberals who would like to see the Second Amendment torn out of the Constitution as a problematic relic of a bygone era generally do not know—or pretend not to know—this well-established historical pattern. But American Constitutionalists, who are more often than not students of history, understand the pattern very well.
So, directly behind the insane faces of contemporary villains like Loughner, Holmes and Lanza, we see the smirking faces of Stalin, Hitler, and Mao, tyrants who did not murder individual victims by the fives and tens, but entire populations by the tens of millions. And in each case, these national genocides were preceded by gun confiscation that was made possible by national firearms registration laws sold to a gullible population in the name of “public safety.”
(Interestingly, during the bloody French Revolution’s “Great Terror” of 1793 to 1794, it was the “Committee of Public Safety” who condemned tens of thousands of French men and women to the guillotine or other forms of summary execution without trial. After previously being disarmed, of course.)
7. The case of SwitzerlandLet’s look at another foreign country for a positive perspective on gun ownership. Although surrounded by sometimes hostile neighbors, Switzerland has maintained neutrality for centuries. It is an armed neutrality: nearly every adult Swiss male serves a short period of active military duty and thereafter is a member of the home guard militia. The inactive reservist keeps his military-issued fully automatic battle rifle at home, with plenty of ammunition and magazines, for the rest of his life. If Switzerland were ever invaded, the invaders would immediately find themselves taking accurate fire from many directions. Beyond personal rifles kept at home, field artillery, heavy machineguns and other crew-served weapons were hidden in disguised barns and other public and private buildings across the countryside, among the very citizen-soldiers who would man and fire them.
An interesting story, but what does it have to do with this essay? Over those same centuries that Switzerland has not been invaded by a foreign enemy, it has also never been taken over internally by a dictator. Any would-be Swiss tyrant would face the same dilemna faced by an invading army: a citizenry armed to the teeth with the latest military-grade, full-automatic-capable true assault rifles, plus jointly operated crew-served weapons. A citizenry dedicated to preserving its freedom from any tyrant, foreign or domestic.
Liberals might cite the example of Great Britain or Australia as countries that have created national registration lists and then later disarmed their populations through confiscation, but without a subsequent genocide. That’s true, but there is often a long delay between the stages of the registration-confiscation-extermination progression. For example, national gun registration in Germany was implemented in the 1920s, without any immediate dire consequences. Then Hitler was elected and took dictatorial powers under the Enabling Act. Beginning in 1938, Hitler used the gun registration lists to first disarm and then exterminate his enemies, primarily the Jews.
8. The Scapegoat ExpressScapegoating an unpopular group is standard operating procedure for budding socialist dictators wrecking once-free economies. For the Soviets, it was the Kulaks; for the Chinese it was the so-called “landlords.” I could list more recent cases to include Cambodia, Uganda, Guatemala, Rwanda and others. Once disarmed and helpless to resist, the hated national scapegoats are slaughtered by the millions.
Probably few Turks, Germans or Russians gave a thought to the ultimate aim of their new gun registration laws, passed quite plausibly in the name of public safety. But national gun registration is a slow-acting poison, sweet and easy to swallow, but potentially becoming deadly only years later, when a tyrant takes the reins of power and inevitably sends for the list. He begins with his most dangerous enemies and works his way through the list, marching the helpless scapegoats into deserts or gas chambers or gulags after disarming them.
In America today, we are seeing the beginning of an insidious scapegoating process, with older conservative white Christian males designated as the national Lucifer du jour, fair game for any vicious attack. Famous black movie stars joke about murdering white folks and white liberal media stars laugh along with them, conveying elite acceptance of the prevailing “evil whitey” meme.
Filled from birth on a steady diet of the pervasiveness of white racism in America, rage-filled urban youths across the nation play “the knockout game” with often fatal results for their randomly selected white or Asian victims. Meanwhile, the elite liberal media fail to notice the national scope of the almost weekly occurrences. Google “the knockout game” and start reading the dozens of local stories that the media refuse to connect or identify as part of a dangerous national trend.
And it doesn’t stop with knocking out random passers-by with sucker punches and then kicking them in head until they are dead, disfigured for life, or in comas. Have you ever heard of “The Knoxville Horror”? How about “The Wichita Horror”? Google them, read the local news articles about them, and ask yourself how much national media attention those cases and others like them would garner had the races been reversed.
When alternately trumpeting or ignoring crime stories based entirely on the races of the perpetrators and the victims isn’t enough to convey the media’s full slant, they will invent stories or lie freely, as we saw in the Trayvon Martin case, with video footage edited and spliced to deliberately portray “white-Hispanic” George Zimmerman as a racist killer. Selectively covering or ignoring crimes depending on the races of the victims and perpetrators is a vital part of the process of scapegoating. The unspoken message is clearly conveyed: crimes against disfavored groups just don’t matter. The violence prone absorb the lesson, and the result is a wave of racial attacks such as those described under the rubric of “the knockout game.”
Or consider the types of cartoons that are considered acceptable today in mainstream publications, portraying prototypical older white Christian men—presumably filthy-rich conservative Republicans—as hate-spewing maniacal villains, complete with fangs, Confederate flags, prominent Christian crosses and gigantic, threatening guns. Compare these viciously racist cartoons to the vilest anti-Semitic cartoons created by Nazi propagandists before and during World War II. I am not speaking of cartoons drawn by nobodies and posted on obscure fringe websites, I am talking about cartoons printed in mainstream newspapers, cartoons that would be condemned if the targeted group was any other than the scapegoat.
Cartoons are not serious, you say? Then how about a paper in an approved and sanctioned semi-official U.S. military publication, written by a War College professor in good standing. Serious enough for you? Google the “Small Wars Journal” piece entitled “Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A Vision of the Future,” by Colonel Kevin Benson, USA (ret), 2012. The “full spectrum operations” envisaged for the Army in the homeland are not made against hypothetical hostile drug cartels in the Southwest, or urban gangs, or the traditionally ambiguous and vague “Pineland Liberation Group,” or “Orangeland People’s Front,” hypothetical stand-ins named to offend no one, not even by accident.
This long-standing neutral naming protocol is tossed aside in “Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland,” where the new domestic enemy that the U.S. Army must crush is a neo-KKK, a white racist “Tea Party terrorist” organization, headquartered in, of all places, Darlington, South Carolina. Yes, the NASCAR Darlington. Anybody who has been in or near an actual Tea Party event or rally knows the crowd is made up mainly of an older white population, a quiet group that leaves no mess behind, not even a stray poster, and causes no fuss.
Yet “Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland” postulates that these white grandpas and grannies will be the very group that the U.S. Army will be called upon to crush in its first major battles on American soil since 1865. The message this paper sends throughout the upper ranks of the War-College-trained military, actually naming an ethnic group—Southern whites—as the national enemy to “hypothetically” be crushed by the Army in the year 2016, is simply mind-boggling.
The path forward that is indicated by the media’s growing acceptance of these vile and outrageous anti-white celebrity rants, cartoons, and articles is the same path that in previous eras led to the guillotine, the gulag, and the gas chamber for the scapegoated populations. But the final solution—genocide of the scapegoats—is only possible after the mob is sufficiently inflamed with hatred toward them by the mass media, in collaboration with an evil government. And time after time, it works.
We are seeing the opening stages of the scapegoating of white conservatives today, as the last election seems to demonstrate to the left’s satisfaction that a crucial political and demographic tipping point has been passed, and the ultimate power equations of raw tribal loyalty have changed in a fundamental way—and now it’s payback time.
We have seen this play out before in other countries and times, and it is deadly serious. Once the scapegoating gets far enough under way, it can pick up a life and a momentum of its own. For example, if the economy ever truly crashes, and the EBT system that feeds fifty million Americans goes down hard, leading to hunger, looting, and riots, (or we suffer other unforeseen problems of similar crisis proportions), the scapegoats will always be dragged to the forefront as the pre-designated patsy, to deflect blame from the government.
“It’s the traitorous Armenians! It’s the greedy Kulaks! It’s the filthy Jews! It’s the oppressive Rwandan Hutus! It’s the white-racist rednecks! Let’s go get them, and make them pay!”
The end result of disarming a scapegoat population is as easy to follow as 1-2-3:
1. Registration. 2. Confiscation. 3. Extermination.
And in this cultural and social climate, with class envy and racial hatred being stoked by the government and its willing partners in the liberal media against white conservatives, our socialist-leaning administration now wants us to surrender our most useful and effective self-defense tools, in the name of “public safety”!
9. Dear Mr. Security Agent…Why is this essay titled Dear Mr. Security Agent, when it dwells mainly upon the media and coastal-dwelling urban liberals and their utopian belief in the benefits of new gun control laws in the United States? Mr. Security Agent will protest that he is no liberal, he is ex-military, he’s a cop, he’s a fed—he’s one of the good guys! He took the same oath to defend the Constitution that you did, Buster! He doesn’t need any lectures on defending the Constitution! So why single him out in this essay?
Why? Because liberal bliss-ninnies in San Francisco and Boston are not issued flash-bang grenades, battering rams, body armor, flex-cuffs by the gross, and MP-5 submachine guns. No, the dirty end of the confiscation job will fall upon the shoulders of sworn law enforcement officers and gold-badged federal law enforcement agents. The LEOs and the FLEAs. That’s you, Mr. Security Agent.
We really don’t want a problem with you, believe me. And there is no reason for us to have a problem, because we both can read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and neither of us requires a team of black-robed mystics to translate its plain English into Newspeak for improved comprehension. You and I both understand what “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” means, without requiring five out of nine politically appointed Supremes to tell us that it does not mean what it very plainly states in black and white.
Now, as long as Mr. Security Agent remembers that he swore the same oath that millions of Americans swore, to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, he will certainly not permit himself to take part in gun confiscation raids. But if he does, well, let’s be frank: tens of millions of Americans would then consider him to be the very domestic enemy that they swore to defend the Constitution against.
But Mr. Bracken—I can hear it now—this is the United States of America! Abuses like the ones you hypothesize simply cannot happen here. Gun registration does not always lead to confiscation, much less to extermination. We are not Germany or Russia or any of those other countries you mentioned. This is the 21st Century. America is different, and it can’t happen here. You must lay your irrational fears aside and place your trust in your government. It cannot, it will not, ever turn in the dark and tyrannical direction that you imagine.
Oh, really? Google “wrong-address SWAT raids” and read any of the dozens of articles you will find. We should trust the government not to abuse us even further, once we are disarmed and helpless to resist them? Thanks, but I don’t think so.
In 2002, in Enemies Foreign and Domestic, I wrote a fictional account of future government agents waterboarding American “detainees” in a clandestine “interrogation center.” In 2013, I think that we are many steps closer to that reality. Today, we already see genital groping by federal agents and at least one Texas state trooper who was caught on film. Their goal is not “public safety,” but public humiliation, intimidation, and control. Cowing the peasants into meek obeisance to unchecked authority. Can waterboarding American “detainees” in clandestine torture centers really be that far behind?
We have recently learned, Mr. Security Agent, that your law enforcement comrades can read every email we send or receive with no need for a pesky and outdated warrant. Today, our cell phones come complete with undisclosed “back doors” for law enforcement use, allowing them even to be switched on remotely, to serve as no less than a secret police microphone in our very own pockets.
Next year there will be drones patrolling the skies above America, keeping a watchful “Gorgon Stare” (Google it) mega-eye out for our “public safety.” Please read “The Coming Drone Attack on America,” by Naomi Wolf, to understand the grim implications of this development for what remains of American freedom.
Facial recognition cameras are going up everywhere. Nearly all public and corporate video camera networks have their feeds directed to dozens of new law enforcement “fusion centers,” whose very existence is kept secret from the American people they were supposedly built to protect. (Google “fusion centers” as well. Discover more news that the liberal mainstream media don’t think you need to know.) Data-mining and Social Network Analysis by our “protectors” edges steadily toward the “Department of Pre-Crime” foreseen in the science fiction movie Minority Report.
Next, project a decade ahead to what may be considered routine law enforcement behavior in 2023, after millions of Americans refuse to comply with new firearms registration and confiscation laws. Action will beget reaction. SWAT raids will spur armed resistance, which will spur “death squad” reprisals by “off-duty” agents, exactly in the way I wrote in “Enemies Foreign and Domestic.” It is a natural, almost organic progression, once started—and it has started. Secret detention centers will proliferate like mushrooms in the night. The media will not report on them, even if screams are heard around the clock by neighbors. Particularly brave reporters who break the media silence to report on police abuses will disappear, or be found headless, as they are in Mexico today.
For that is what a modern “dirty civil war” looks like, in country after country, from continent to continent. If present trends continue, America is going to experience a very old witch’s brew on her home soil for the first time since the Civil War. This is my own very dark “vision of the future” (to quote the subtitle of Colonel Benson’s piece) if new and restrictive gun control laws are passed.
So now we’re back to you, Mr. Security Agent, and your unique role in this high drama. Let me state this very clearly, both for you and for the liberal agenda-setting elites who might accidentally stumble upon this essay. Let there be no doubt about this. Let no one later say, “But we were just trying to improve public safety. We had no idea that all these disastrous unintended consequences would happen.”
I am telling you now that disastrous unintended consequences will happen if Congress passes new laws banning presently legal firearms. To make it very easy to remember, and in the spirit of our beloved Department of Homeland Security’s old color-coded security threat levels, let me spell out three lines of demarcation.
The Yellow Line:The yellow warning line will be crossed with national gun registration laws, including laws forbidding private gun sales without government permission. When that law passes, millions of Americans will feel that they have been pushed directly to the edge of the abyss above the mass graves of history. Defenders of the Second Amendment know what happened in Turkey, the USSR, Germany, China, and other nations that fell under totalitarian rule: in every case a necessary preliminary step on the road to genocide was national gun registration, followed by confiscation. The Jewish survivors of the Nazi Holocaust say, “Never again!” And so do we.
The Red Line:The red line will be crossed with the passage of laws mandating that currently owned weapons, ammunition magazines, and ammunition quantities above a certain number must be turned in to authorities or destroyed, and thereafter their simple possession will be a felony. At that point, the nation will be on a hair trigger, with a thousand flaring matches nearing a thousand primed cannon fuses aimed directly at the next Fort Sumter.
The Dead Line:The next line requires a bit of history to explain. In some primitive Civil War POW camps, where lack of funding or logistical constraints did not allow the construction of proper fences, a knee-high continuous railing of wooden slats encircled the prison grounds. Guards with rifles were positioned at the corners and in crude towers. If a prisoner so much as stepped over the narrow plank, he was shot dead without warning, obviating the need for a real fence to contain him. Hence the term “dead line.” Cross the line and people die, right now.
And this is what liberal utopians must understand: after passing the yellow line with national gun registration and transfer requirements, and the red line by making possession of currently legal firearms felonious, the dead line will be breached with the first SWAT raids upon citizens suspected of owning legal firearms made illegal by the new gun control laws. People will die resisting confiscation, in large numbers.
Confiscation crosses the dead line, make no mistake about it.
So this essay is really for you, Mr. Security Agent, because it won’t be elite Manhattan or Malibu liberals or Ivy League professors or politicians or columnists who will be ordered to strap on the sweat-stained body armor and enforce the new gun control laws at gunpoint. No, that grim task will fall to you.
But as long as you are an honorable agent of the people while an employee of the government, and as long as you honor your oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, then you will encounter no problems at all with gun owners. Why? Because you will refuse to take part in gun confiscation raids. Period. End of sentence, end of paragraph.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the leading American law enforcement agency, at least in terms of its long history and high prestige. Dear Mr. Security Agent, please consider that F.B.I. also stands for Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity. Soon, your fidelity to your solemnly sworn oath may be severely tested. It will take a lot of bravery to make your personal integrity a higher calling than following illegitimate orders, simply to maintain your steady paycheck and benefits.
On the other hand, if you no longer resemble the upstanding and honorable federal agents I have known in the past, if that whole oath-to-the-Constitution shtick was a big fat joke to you and you would accept a transfer to the old Soviet KGB or East German Stasi for a ten percent pay raise…then we are definitely going to have a problem. So that oath you swore really matters, one way or the other, and so does your personal sense of honor.
Dear Mr. Security Agent, let me spell it out. If you find yourself in the sub-basement of an annex to a secret intelligence center on the far end of town, waterboarding citizens into revealing the locations of suspected “illegal caches” of firearms, ammunition or ammunition magazines that were legally owned in 2012, then know this one simple fact: tens of millions of Americans will most surely consider you a betrayer of your sworn oath and a traitor to your country.
And so, if you find yourself silently dismounting a covert SWAT vehicle at zero-dark-thirty, dressed all in body armor, counting down to the time-coordinated explosion of battering rams and flash-bang grenades, on a raid against a sleeping household intended to result in the confiscation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition magazines that were legal to own in 2012, millions of Americans who also swore an oath to defend the Constitution will consider you their domestic enemy, and they will resist you with force of arms. Just as the soldiers of King George were resisted on another notable gun confiscation raid on April 19, 1775. It used to be called “The Shot Heard ’Round the World.”
You may consider the sentiments expressed above to be absurd, hyperbolic, dangerous, ridiculous, or simply wrong-headed. But please understand that tens of millions of Americans feel this way to their cores, and they will not be disarmed without a fight. Well-meaning but naive liberals should understand the certain-to-follow consequences of new gun control laws intended to disarm their fellow citizens in the name of “public safety.” LEOs and FLEAs should understand the dire consequences of participating in gun confiscation raids, in direct violation of their sworn oaths to uphold the Constitution, including the Second Amendment.
The unintended consequences of this misguided utopian fool’s crusade to ban guns would include a second civil war as agonizingly painful as the first one, if not more so, since there would be no front lines and no safe areas for anybody, anywhere. Every sane American wants to prevent such a calamitous outcome as a “dirty civil war” on United States soil.
But know this: those tens of millions will never be quietly disarmed and then later forced at government gunpoint onto history’s next boxcars. If boxcars and detention camps are to be in America’s future, then you, Mr. Security Agent, will have to disarm them the hard way first. Not Piers Morgan, not Michael Moore, not Rosie O’Donnell, not Dianne Feinstein, not Chuck Schumer.
Matt Bracken was born and raised in Baltimore, and graduated from the University of Virginia and Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training in 1979.
He has written four novels about defending freedom in an era of steadily encroaching tyranny.
Excerpts of his novels, and all of his recent essays, may be found at EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com (but not for now)
|Posted by Mother Goose on January 28, 2012 at 6:20 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Mother Goose on January 7, 2012 at 5:35 PM||comments (0)|
Arvid Pasto, Farragut
A recent letter puts forth the proposition "Warming Real, Documented." The writer states that Earth's temperature is increasing and cites some statistics from NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The writer goes on to cite the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report about warm recent years. Other parts of the global warming proposition are then stated, including glacier loss, a possible upcoming ice-free Arctic region, damage to coral reefs and extreme weather events. The writer appears to agree with the conclusion of the UN-IPCC that mankind is responsible for all of this.
As a retired scientist with more than 40 years of experience, including 24 years at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, all I can say about all of this is "rubbish."
I have studied the global warming issue and have amassed a huge inventory of peer-reviewed scientific papers showing that, basically, there is not a shred of scientific evidence that mankind is causing Earth's temperature to rise because of carbon dioxide emissions. I can show, through these papers by some of the world's most knowledgeable scientists, major flaws in the global warming alarmism.
Read Full Article here
|Posted by Mother Goose on April 6, 2011 at 5:38 PM||comments (0)|
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
By Matt Cover
(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama, in marking his first 100 days in office in 2009, said that Medicare and Medicaid were the biggest problems the government faced and that they were “really breaking the bank,” adding that the federal government needs to “tighten our belts … in an intelligent way.”
Answering a question at a town hall event in Arnold, Mo., on April 29, 2009, Obama said that Medicare and Medicaid – rather than Social Security – were the entitlement programs that posed the greatest risk to the federal budget.
“The big problem we have with entitlements is not Social Security, it's Medicare,” he said. “Medicare and Medicaid, the two health care programs that the federal government helps support, those are the things that are really breaking the bank.
“What we face long term, the biggest problem we have is that Medicare and Medicaid – health care costs are sky-rocketing, and at the same time as the population is getting older, which means we're using more health care,” said the president.
“You combine those two things, and if we aren’t careful, health care will consume so much of our budget that ultimately we won't be able to do anything else,” Obama added.
Obama also said that to deal with the long-term fiscal problems posed by Medicare and Medicaid, the government would have to trim its budget.
“We are going to have to tighten our belts, but we're going to have to do it in an intelligent way, and we've got to make sure that the people who are helped are working American families,” Obama said.
However, Obama never proposed any changes to Medicare or Medicaid, except for cutting $500 billion from the Medicare Advantage program as part of Obamacare. That move, which will save the government money, is not near enough of a cut to save the budget from the ever-growing burden of federal entitlements.
Further, the White House recently denounced the only proposal on the congressional table that would prevent Medicare and Medicaid from causing an economic crisis.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, released a budget on April 5 that would transform Medicare and Medicaid and prevent them from causing a fiscal crisis.
The White House, however, said that Ryan’s plan “failed.”
“Any plan to reduce our deficit must reflect the American values of fairness and shared sacrifice. Congressman Ryan’s plan fails this test," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.
“The president believes there is a more balanced way to put America on a path to prosperity,” said Carney. “But despite our differences, all of us – Democrats and Republicans – have an obligation to find common ground in a way that is true to our values and meets our responsibilities to the American people.”
However, the White House did not include such a plan in its 2012 budget, nor has it proposed one in the nearly two years since Obama’s 100-day address.
|Posted by Mother Goose on March 31, 2011 at 5:44 PM||comments (1)|
By Debbie Siegelbaum - 03/31/11 01:23 PM ET
Republicans on the House Administration Committee want to shore up voter registration rules in the wake of a Colorado study that found as many as 5,000 non-citizens in the state took part in last year’s election.
Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), the panel’s chairman, called the study “a disturbing wake-up call” that should cause every state to review its safeguards to prevent illegal voting.
“We simply cannot have an electoral system that allows thousands of non-citizens to violate the law and vote in our elections. We must do more to protect the integrity of our electoral processes,” Harper added.
Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, a Republican, told the panel that his department’s study identified nearly 12,000 people whowere not citizens but were still registered to vote in Colorado. Of those non-citizen registered voters, nearly 5,000 took part in the 2010 general election in which Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet narrowly defeated Republican John Buck.
Colorado conducted the study by comparing the state’s voter registration database with driver’s license records.
“We know we have a problem here. We don’t know the size of it,” Gessler said in testimony to Administration’s Elections subcommittee.
He told Harper that Colorado would look to create a registration system that would allow his department to ask that some people provide proof of their citizenship in writing.
If individuals did not respond to the request, their registration as voters would be suspended.
Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas) raised doubts about the reporting, noting that the study itself said it was based on inconclusive data and that it was “impossible to provide precise numbers” on how many people who were registered to vote in the state were not citizens.
Gonzalez asked Gessler, a former prosecutor, if he would have pursued a court case on such evidence.
Gessler responded that the goal of the study was to expose voter registration issues and pursue administrative avenues to resolve them.
“We don’t have a screen for citizenship on the front end when people register to vote,” he said.
|Posted by Mother Goose on March 17, 2011 at 2:20 PM||comments (0)|
Last Updated: March 17. 2011 1:00AM
Mike Martindale / The Detroit News
Pontiac— Two former high-ranking members of the Oakland County Democratic Party are facing various election corruption charges in a bogus tea party scheme, Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper and County Sheriff Michael Bouchard announced Wednesday.
Former Democratic Party Chairman Michael McGuinness and ex-operations director Jason Bauer, both of Waterford Township, were arraigned Wednesday before Oakland Circuit Judge James Alexander.
They face charges related to Independent Tea Party filings, false affidavits and forged documents that occurred between July 23 and July 26 last year.
Both stood mute to the charges and were released on $25,000 personal bond each, pending an April 13 hearing before Alexander.
The charges include felonies that carry up to 14 years in prison. Neither could be reached for comment.
Cooper and Bouchard announced the charges during a joint press conference conducted to discuss the findings of a one-person grand jury seated by Oakland Circuit Judge Edward Sosnick.
"The election process is sacred … this is not a partisan statement," Cooper said, noting her Democratic affiliation and that of Bouchard, a Republican. Bouchard said 23 questionable election filings across Michigan — eight of them in Oakland County — involved an effort to create the illusion of an Independent Tea Party and its candidates on November's ballot.
The goal was to woo away voters in local elections who might otherwise vote for other candidates, presumably Republicans, authorities allege.
While creating such a party in itself is not illegal, Bouchard noted that the alleged forging of documents and putting people up for political office without their involvement — including at least one "candidate" who told investigators he had no knowledge that he was on the ballot until notified — is criminal.
The scheme included bogus candidates for two County Commission seats and a state Senate race, according to a copy of a grand jury warrant released Wednesday. None of the candidates won.
"The presumed intent was to get people drawn to tea party politics and siphon votes off (from other candidates)," Bouchard said.
Bouchard said the investigation of possible election corruption is continuing and included an unnamed "party leader in Lansing." The sheriff did not elaborate.
County Executive L. Brooks Patterson petitioned for a grand jury inquiry into possible election corruption in August following complaints received by then-County Clerk Ruth Johnson and an investigation initiated by Bouchard's office at the request of Cooper.
Both McGuinness and Bauer are charged with three counts of forged records, uttering and publishing, a 14-year felony; three counts of election law, false swearing, a felony punishable by five years in prison; and one count of election law, false swearing-perjury, also a five-year felony.
Bauer is also charged with three counts of notary public violation, a one-year misdemeanor.
Both resigned their party posts following allegations in August that suspicious filings were notarized by Bauer.
Several months ago, Bauer was suspended from the Oakland Democratic Party after it surfaced that he encouraged interns to write bogus "help me" letters from nonexistent residents in support of a medical program backed by a Democratic commissioner.
From The Detroit News
|Posted by Mother Goose on March 3, 2011 at 10:53 AM||comments (0)|
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee is considering making it a felony to follow some versions of the Islamic code known as Shariah, the most severe measure yet put forth by a national movement whose members believe extremist Muslims want Shariah to supersede the Constitution. The bill—drawn up by conservatives with ties to opponents of a planned Islamic center two blocks from New York City's ground zero and efforts to expand a mosque 30 miles southeast of Nashville—would face steep constitutional hurdles if enacted.
Nevertheless, it represents the boldest legislative attempt yet to limit how Muslims worship.
Muslim groups fear the measure would outlaw central tenets of Islam, such as praying five times a day toward Mecca, abstaining from alcohol or fasting for Ramadan.
"This is an anti-Muslim bill that makes it illegal to be a Muslim in the state of Tennessee," said Remziya Suleyman, policy coordinator for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.
The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro, said the proposal exempts the peaceful practice of Islam but seeks to condemn those "who take Shariah law to the other extreme." He said it would give state and local law enforcement officials "a powerful counterterrorism tool."
Ketron, who has successfully pushed through bills tightening restrictions on illegal immigrants, said he expects the Shariah measure will become law.
For now, supporters of the measure are working to bolster it against any constitutional challenges, which may be an impossible task, said First Amendment Center scholar Charles Haynes, who called it a "really distorted understanding of Shariah law."
"It's unconstitutional to even suggest that such legislation should be passed," he said. "Trying to separate out different parts of Islamic law for condemnation is nonsensical. Shariah law, like all religious law, is interpreted in a great many different ways."
Shariah is a set of core principles that most Muslims recognize as well as a series of rulings from religious scholars. It covers many areas of life and different sects have different versions of the code they follow.
At least 13 states have bills pending that would bar judges from considering Shariah in legal decisions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but none of those proposals is as strict as what Tennessee is weighing.
Ketron said he and House Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, were given the bill by the Tennessee Eagle Forum.
Eagle Forum state President Bobbie Patray said it was drafted by David Yerushalmi, an Arizona-based attorney who runs the Society of Americans for National Existence, a nonprofit that claims following Shariah is treasonous.
Yerushalmi has written for years in conservative media about what he calls the danger of Shariah and its central role in Islam. He has represented Pamela Geller, who leads the group Stop Islamization of America and is one of the most vocal critics of a planned Islamic center two blocks from New York City's ground zero.
Yerushalmi also represented Stop The Madrassa, a group that opposed a public school in Brooklyn established to teach Arabic language, culture and history. He is one of the contributors to the report "Shariah: The Threat To America" by the Center for Security Policy, a think tank led by Frank Gaffney, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration.
Last year Gaffney testified at a court hearing on the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. The hearing was intended only to determine if local officials violated the state's open meetings law in approving the site plan, but the mosque's foes used the opportunity to argue it was part of a plot to expand Shariah law in the U.S.
Yerushalmi said the legislation in Tennessee is clear about who's being targeted.
"The legislation simply states that Shariah that follows the law of jihad, which calls for the violent overthrow of the Tennessee and U.S. government, is the Shariah that is at issue," he said.
Sarah Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Islamic Society of North America, disagreed.
"The way that it's worded makes the assumption that any practice of Islam is a practice of terrorism," she said. "And that's a dangerous line to walk. It excludes the millions of Muslims that are practicing peaceably from the ability to do so."
Read SB1028/HB1353 at: http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/
Tennessee Eagle Forum: http://www.tneagleforum.org/
Society of Americans for National Existence: http://www.saneworks.us/indexnew.php
Center for Security Policy: http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/index.xml ;
|Posted by Mother Goose on February 4, 2011 at 3:57 PM||comments (0)|
By ERIC LIPTON Published: February 4, 2011
WASHINGTON — Seeking to end a debate that has brewed for nearly a decade, the director of the Transportation Security Administration announced on Friday that a union would be allowed to bargain over working conditions on behalf of the nation’s 45,000 airport security officers, although certain issues like pay will not be subject to negotiation.
The question of whether unions can negotiate on behalf of airport security workers has been a repeated topic of partisan debate on Capitol Hill, at times threatening to hold up major pieces of legislation or even the Senate confirmation of the agency’s director.
John S. Pistole, the former deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who has served as head of the transportation agency since last June, announced Friday that he would used the power granted to him by Congress to authorize collective bargaining by airport security personnel on a limited set of topics, including rules governing who gets priorities for vacation time and shift assignments, how workplace transfers take place and how employees are recognized for commendable work. The negotiations will take place on a national level, not with state or local union affiliates.
The nation’s security officers are tentatively scheduled to vote in early March for one of two unions that have competed for the right to represent them, or not to have a union at all. But if they choose a union, they will not be able to turn to it to bargain on their behalf for such traditionally negotiated topics as pay, retirement benefits, job qualification rules, disciplinary standards or issues related to security procedures, like what security equipment they must use or when and where they are deployed.
This would allow the agency — a division of the Department of Homeland Security — to rapidly reassign security officers in response to a particular threat or to change security procedures or equipment without having to consult collective bargaining rules, an agency official said.
The security officers are also not allowed to strike or have any work-related slowdowns as a form of union demonstration. There will be set limits on how long negotiations on topics subject to union bargaining can drag on. And the officers will not be required to join a union or pay dues.
The security officers already have the right to join a union, and about 13,000 are dues-paying members of the American Federation of Government Employees or the National Treasury Employees Union, the two unions competing for the exclusive right to represent them this spring. But these unions cannot now collectively bargain on behalf of the workers, representing them instead only as individuals, in certain situations, like if an employee is subject to a disciplinary action.
The question of whether a union should be allowed to bargain on the workers’ collective behalf continues to roil Congress, with Senator Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi, as recently as this week introducing legislation — as other Republicans have before — that would formally prohibit such a step.
Reaction from lawmakers came along predictable party lines, with Democrats, along with union leaders, praising Mr. Pistole’s decision, while Republican lawmakers condemned the move, suggesting that they will push ahead with efforts to legislatively terminate the collective bargaining rights.
“This will be President Obama’s biggest gift to organized labor,” Representative John L. Mica, Republican of Florida, the chairman of the House Transportation Committee said in a statement, adding that it was “all bad news for the traveler, the taxpayer and aviation security,” because it would limit the flexibility of the agency, despite assurances from Mr. Pistole that it would not.
Read more here
|Posted by Mother Goose on February 3, 2011 at 1:30 PM||comments (0)|
By: Timothy P. Carney 02/02/11 4:50 PM
Senior Political Columnist
Read more at the Washington Examiner:
Last month, the Obama EPA began enforcing new rules regulating the greenhouse gas emissions from any new or expanded power plants.
This week, the EPA issued its first exemption, Environment & Energy News reports:
The Obama administration will spare a stalled power plant project in California from the newest federal limits on greenhouse gases and conventional air pollution, U.S. EPA says in a new court filing that marks a policy shift in the face of industry groups and Republicans accusing the agency of holding up construction of large industrial facilities.
According to a declaration by air chief Gina McCarthy, officials reviewed EPA policies and decided it was appropriate to "grandfather" projects such as the Avenal Power Center, a proposed 600-megawatt power plant in the San Joaquin Valley, so they are exempted from rules such as new air quality standards for smog-forming nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
There's something interesting about the Avenal Power Center:
The proposed Avenal Energy project will be a combined-cycle generating plant consisting of two natural gas-fired General Electric 7FA Gas Turbines with Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSG) and one General Electric Steam Turbine.
Maybe GE CEO Jeff Immelt's closeness to President Obama, and his broad support for Obama's agenda, had nothing to do with this exemption. But we have no way of knowing that, and given the administration's record of regularly misleading Americans regarding lobbyists, frankly, I wouldn't trust the White House if they told me there was no connection.
On the upside, at least Job Czar Immelt is creating jobs!
|Posted by Mother Goose on February 3, 2011 at 1:25 PM||comments (0)|
Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) - - The Obama Administration acted in contempt by continuing its deepwater drilling moratorium after the policy was struck down, a New Orleans judge ruled.
Interior Department regulators acted with “determined disregard” by lifting and reinstituting a series of policy changes that restricted offshore drilling, following the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, U.S. District Judge, Martin Feldman of New Orleans ruled yesterday.
“Each step the government took following the court’simposition of a preliminary injunction showcases its defiance,”Feldman said in the ruling.
“Such dismissive conduct, viewed in tandem with the re-imposition of a second blanket and substantively identical moratorium, and in light of the national importance of this case, provide this court with clear and convincing evidence ofthe government’s contempt,” Feldman said.
President Barack Obama’s administration first halted offshore exploration in waters deeper than 500 feet in May, after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig off the Louisiana coast sparked a subsea blowout that spewed more than 4.1 million barrels of oil into the Gulfof Mexico.
Feldman overturned the initial ban as overly broad in June,after the offshore-drilling industry and Gulf Coast politicaland business leaders challenged it. Almost immediately, U.S.Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar announced he’d find another way to block offshore exploration until the industry beefed updrilling safety and oil-spill response capabilities in reaction to the Gulf oil spill.
Salazar instituted a second drilling ban in July, which was also challenged by an industry lawsuit that claimed the ban wa sdevastating the Gulf Coast economy, which is heavily dependant on deepwater drilling activities. That ban was rescinded in October, before Feldman could rule on its validity.
Feldman later ruled that enhanced drilling safety rules Salazar imposed to permit companies to resume offshore exploration violated federal law, and he struck those down as well. The offshore industry and Gulf Coast interests complained to Feldman that regulators were continuing to block theresumption of drilling activity despite his rulings.
|Posted by Mother Goose on January 26, 2011 at 9:27 AM||comments (1)|
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The ledger did not appear to be adding up Tuesday night when President Barack Obama urged more spending on one hand and a spending freeze on the other.
Obama spoke ambitiously of putting money into roads, research, education, efficient cars, high-speed rail and other initiatives in his State of the Union speech. He pointed to the transportation and construction projects of the last two years and proposed "we redouble these efforts." He coupled this with a call to "freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years."
But Obama offered far more examples of where he would spend than where he would cut, and some of the areas he identified for savings are not certain to yield much if anything.
For example, he said he wants to eliminate "billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies." Yet he made a similar proposal last year that went nowhere. He sought $36.5 billion in tax increases on oil and gas companies over the next decade, but Congress largely ignored the request, even though Democrats were then in charge of both houses of Congress.
A look at some of Obama's statements Tuesday night and how they compare with the facts:
OBAMA: Tackling the deficit "means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit. Health insurance reform will slow these rising costs, which is part of why nonpartisan economists have said that repealing the health care law would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to our deficit."
THE FACTS: The idea that Obama's health care law saves money for the government is based on some arguable assumptions.
To be sure, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated the law will slightly reduce red ink over 10 years. But the office's analysis assumes that steep cuts in Medicare spending, as called for in the law, will actually take place. Others in the government have concluded it is unrealistic to expect such savings from Medicare.
In recent years, for example, Congress has repeatedly overridden a law that would save the treasury billions by cutting deeply into Medicare pay for doctors. Just last month, the government once again put off the scheduled cuts for another year, at a cost of $19 billion. That money is being taken out of the health care overhaul. Congress has shown itself sensitive to pressure from seniors and their doctors, and there's little reason to think that will change.
OBAMA: Vowed to veto any bills sent to him that include "earmarks," pet spending provisions pushed by individual lawmakers. "Both parties in Congress should know this: If a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it."
THE FACTS: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has promised that no bill with earmarks will be sent to Obama in the first place. Republicans have taken the lead in battling earmarks while Obama signed plenty of earmark-laden spending bills when Democrats controlled both houses.
It's a turnabout for the president; in early 2009, Obama sounded like an apologist for the practice: "Done right, earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct federal money to worthy projects that benefit people in their districts, and that's why I've opposed their outright elimination," he said then.
OBAMA: "I'm willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs, including one that Republicans suggested last year: medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits."
THE FACTS: Republicans may be forgiven if this offer makes them feel like Charlie Brown running up to kick the football, only to have it pulled away, again.
Obama has expressed openness before to this prominent Republican proposal, but it has not come to much. It was one of several GOP ideas that were dropped or diminished in the health care law after Obama endorsed them in a televised bipartisan meeting at the height of the debate.
Republicans want federal action to limit jury awards in medical malpractice cases; what Obama appears to be offering, by supporting state efforts, falls short of that. The president has said he agrees that fear of being sued leads to unnecessary tests and procedures that drive up health care costs. So far the administration has only wanted to pay for pilot programs and studies.
Trial lawyers, major political donors to Democratic candidates, are strongly opposed to caps on jury awards. But the administration has been reluctant to support other approaches, such as the creation of specialized courts where expert judges, not juries, would decide malpractice cases.
OBAMA: Praised the "important progress" made by the bipartisan fiscal commission he created last year.
THE FACTS: The panel's co-chairmen last month recommended a painful mix of spending cuts and tax increases, each of them unpopular with one constituency or another, including raising the Social Security retirement age, cutting future benefit increases, raising the gasoline tax and rolling back popular tax breaks like the mortgage interest deduction. But Obama has yet to sign on to any of the ideas, even though he promised when creating the panel that it would not be "one of those Washington gimmicks."
Obama missed another chance Tuesday night to embrace the tough medicine proposed by the commission for bringing down the deficit. For example, the president said he wanted to "strengthen Social Security for future generations" -- but ruled out slashing benefits or partially privatizing the program, and made no reference to raising the retirement age. That left listeners to guess how he plans to do anything to salvage the popular retirement program whose trust funds are expected to run out of money in 2037 without changes.
OBAMA: As testament to the fruits of his administration's diplomatic efforts to control the spread of nuclear weapons, he said the Iranian government "faces tougher and tighter sanctions than ever before."
THE FACTS: That is true, and it reflects Obama's promise one year ago that Iran would face "growing consequences" if it failed to heed international demands to constrain its nuclear program. But what Obama didn't say was that U.S. diplomacy has failed to persuade Tehran to negotiate over U.N. demands that it take steps to prove it is not on the path toward a bomb. Preliminary talks with Iran earlier this month broke off after the Iranians demanded U.S. sanctions be lifted.
Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Jim Drinkard, Erica Werner, Jim Kuhnhenn, Andrew Taylor, Stephen Ohlemacher and Robert Burns contributed to this report.
|Posted by Mother Goose on December 22, 2010 at 3:33 PM||comments (1)|
Dec 22 03:08 PM US/Eastern
The US Senate on Wednesday ratified a landmark nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, handing President Barack Obama a signal diplomatic and political victory after a months-long battle. Lawmakers voted 71-26 in favor of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), easily clearing the two-thirds majority needed to approve the pact, which Obama had made a lynchpin of efforts to "reset" relations with Moscow.
After a relentless courtship by Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and top US military commanders, a platoon of Republicans backed the treaty, bucking leaders eager to hand the president a major defeat.
"I am confident that our nation's security, and that of the world, will be enhanced by ratifying this treaty," said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, the accord's chief Democratic patron in the congress.
Kerry -- who with the panel's top Republican, Senator Richard Lugar, steered the accord through a difficult and even bitter debate -- echoed White House arguments that the pact will help efforts to confront Iran and North Korea.
The accord "is not simply an agreement to address the lingering dangers of the old nuclear age. It is an agreement that will give us a crucial tool to combat the threats of this new nuclear age," he said moments before the vote.
Prior to approving the treaty, lawmakers attached non-binding amendments to the resolution of ratification technical document to recommit Washington to deploying a missile defense system, modernizing its nuclear arsenal, and seek new talks with Russia on curbing tactical nuclear weapons.
Biden presided over the session -- a vice presidential prerogative -- and US Secretary of State Clinton milled about with senators ahead of the vote.
Article at Breitbart.com
|Posted by Mother Goose on December 9, 2010 at 1:25 PM||comments (0)|
by Anna Mahjar-Barducci
December 8, 2010 at 5:00 am
Iran is planning to place medium-range missiles on Venezuelan soil, based on western information sources, according to an article in the German daily, Die Welt, of November 25, 2010. According to the article, an agreement between the two countries was signed during the last visit o Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to Tehran on October19, 2010. The previously undisclosed contract provides for the establishment of a jointly operated military base in Venezuela, and the joint development of ground-to-ground missiles.
At a moment when NATO members found an agreement, in the recent Lisbon summit (19-20 November 2010), to develop a Missile Defence capability to protect NATO's populations and territories in Europe against ballistic missile attacks from the East (namely, Iran), Iran's counter-move consists in establishing a strategic base in the South American continent - in the United States's soft underbelly.
According to Die Welt, Venezuela has agreed to allow Iran to establish a military base manned by Iranian missile officers, soldiers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Venezuelan missile officers. In addition, Iran has given permission for the missiles to be used in case of an "emergency". In return, the agreement states that Venezuela can use these facilities for "national needs" – radically increasing the threat to neighbors like Colombia. The German daily claims that according to the agreement, Iranian Shahab 3 (range 1300-1500 km), Scud-B (285-330 km) and Scud-C (300, 500 and 700 km) will be deployed in the proposed base. It says that Iran also pledged to help Venezuela in rocket technology expertise, including intensive training of officers.
Venezuela has also become the country through which Iran intends to bypass UN sanctions. Following a new round of UN sanctions against the Islamic Republic, for example, Russia decided not to sell five battalions of S-300PMU-1 air defence systems to Iran. These weapons, along with a number of other weapons, were part of a deal, signed in 2007, worth $800 million. Now that these weapons cannot be delivered to Iran, Russia is looking for new customers; according to the Russian press agency Novosti, it found one: Venezuela.
Novosti reports the words of Igor Korotchenko, head of a Moscow-based think tank on international arms trade, saying that if the S-300 deal with Venezuela goes through, Caracas should pay cash for the missiles, rather than take another loan from Russia. "The S-300 is a very good product and Venezuela should pay the full amount in cash, as the country's budget has enough funds to cover the deal ," Korotchenko said. Moscow has already provided Caracas with several loans to buy Russian-made weaponry, including a recent $2.2-mln loan on the purchase of 92 T-72M1M tanks, the Smerch multiple-launch rocket systems and other military equipment.
If Iran, therefore, cannot get the S-300 missiles directly from Russia, it can still have them through its proxy, Venezuela, and deploy them against its staunchest enemy, the U.S.
But that is not all. According to Reuters, Iran has developed a version of the Russian S-300 missile and will test-fire it soon, as declared by the official news agency IRNA, two months after Moscow cancelled the delivery to comply with United Nations sanctions. Iran, in fact, has its own capabilities for constructing missiles that could carry atomic warheads. According to a study recently released by the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London, Iran is presently aiming to perfect the already existing solid-fuel, medium-range missile that can carry a nuke to hit regional targets, such as Israel. If a missile base can be opened in Venezuela, many US cities will be able to be reached from there even with short-medium range missiles.
Read more here
|Posted by Mother Goose on December 4, 2010 at 11:16 AM||comments (0)|
WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Republicans have blocked legislation allowing taxes to rise on upper income taxpayers on Jan. 1. The vote Saturday was 53-36—seven short of the 60 needed to advance the measure.
Without action by Congress, all income tax cuts enacted when George W. Bush was president will expire at year's end. The legislation backed by Senate Democrats would have kept the cuts in effect except on incomes over $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.
The Senate vote is expected to clear the way for negotiations between the White House and Republicans to resume on a bill to extend the tax cuts at all levels.
Any agreement is also expected to renew expiring jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.
|Posted by Mother Goose on December 1, 2010 at 2:00 PM||comments (0)|
By Juliet Eilperin Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Wednesday afternoon that the Obama administration will not allow offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as part of the next five-year drilling plan, reversing two key policy changes President Obama announced in late March.
We are adjusting our strategy in areas where there are no active leases," Salazar told reporters in a phone call, adding that the administration has decided "not expand to new areas at this time" and instead "focus and expand our critical resources on areas that are currently active" when it comes to oil and gas drilling.In March--less than a month before the BP oil spill--Obama and Salazar said they would open up the eastern Gulf and parts of the Atlantic, including off the coast of Virginia, to offshore oil and gas exploration. On both of those new areas, the administration said it would start scoping to see if oil and gas drilling would be suitable. The eastern Gulf remains closed to drilling under a congressional moratorium, but the White House indicated it would press to lift the moratorium if necessary.
Wednesday's announcement is sure to please environmentalists while angering oil and gas companies as well as some lawmakers from both parties who have pressed for continued offshore energy exploration in the wake of massive Gulf of Mexico spill.
According to multiple individuals briefed on the plan, the Obama administration will proceed with scoping for possible drilling in the central and western Gulf of Mexico and in the Arctic as part of the upcoming 2012-2017 Outer Continental Shelf program, while keeping the other areas off limits.
The administration is likely to conduct a new environmental assessment of Shell's plan to conduct drilling in the Arctic, the sources added.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who has consistently pushed to restrict drilling in the eastern gulf, welcomed the news. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar called the senator Wednesday morning, according to Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin, but the two men did not speak yet because Nelson is chairing a hearing.
"Drilling off Florida's Gulf coast is banned at least until 2022, under a 2006 law passed by Senator Nelson," McLaughlin said. "The senator is pleased the White House has decided rightly to keep the area off-limits. He hopes Florida's next governor and the Legislature similarly will commit to protecting the state's tourism economy and unique environment."
Read more here
|Posted by Mother Goose on December 1, 2010 at 1:56 PM||comments (0)|
The United States would be ready to support the extension of the European Financial Stability Facility via an extra commitment of money from the International Monetary Fund, a U.S. official told Reuters on Wednesday.
"There are a lot of people talking about that. I think the European Commission has talked about that," said the U.S. official, commenting on enlarging the 750 billion euro ($980 billion) EU/IMF European stability fund. "It is up to the Europeans. We will certainly support using the IMF in these circumstances." "There are obviously some severe market problems," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "In May, it was Greece. This is Ireland and Portugal. If there is contagion that's a huge problem for the global economy."
The remarks foreshadow a visit to Europe this week by a U.S. Treasury envoy who is expected to visit Berlin, Madrid and Paris to hold talks on the ramifications of the debt crisis.
The developments have echoes of the pressure applied by Washington on European capitals last May to create the near $1 trillion EFSF safety net that was last week used to rescue Ireland after its banking crisis spiraled out of control.
The IMF, whose biggest single shareholder is the United States, has committed 250 billion euros to the EFSF.
Read more here
Bonds sink on this news
In a related story, the FEDS are set to release details of the $2 trillion lending programs for financial institutions and foreingn banks.
|Posted by Mother Goose on December 1, 2010 at 12:09 PM||comments (1)|
"We will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item," their letter to Reid says. By Dan Friedman
Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | 9:53 a.m
Updated at 11:10 a.m. on December 1.
All 42 Senate Republicans have signed a letter refusing to vote for cloture on any bill before the Senate until the federal government is funded beyond this week and the Bush-era income tax cuts are addressed before they expire December 31.
“We write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers,” said the letter, which was sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this morning.
While Congress is expected to clear a short-term extension of federal funding today or tomorrow, the letter derails chances for relatively quick passage of bills Democrats are considering taking up before addressing the tax cuts. The two most prominent are a defense authorization that includes a repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military and the Dream Act, giving some illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children a path to legal residence.
Reid was weighing action on both those bills before a final deal on the so-called Bush tax cuts. But with 42 votes, Republicans appear poised to successfully filibuster them.
“The true effect of this letter is to prevent the Senate from acting on many important issues that have bipartisan support,” Reid said this morning on the Senate floor. He said the letter codifies a GOP strategy of delaying action “on critical matters, then blaming the Democrats for not addressing the needs of the American people. Very cynical, but very obvious, very transparent.”
Reid said he is also lining up action on a labor-backed bill to guarantee collective bargaining rights to first responders, such as police and firefighters, and a bill to extend health care coverage and compensation to people who worked in the World Trade Center ruins after 9/11 and since became sick. He said he plans to file cloture on the bills and the Dream Act at the same time later this week.
Read more here
|Posted by Mother Goose on December 1, 2010 at 11:10 AM||comments (0)|
By PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY Posted 11/30/2010 07:09 PM ET
Republicans are assuming that cap-and-trade (aka cap-and-tax) is dead because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid lacks the votes to bring up the House-passed bill and because this issue proved a loser in the 2010 House races. Like the famous Mark Twain saying, its death may be exaggerated.
The Senate's environmentalism expert, Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., warns us that the Obama administration is trying to implement cap-and-trade anyway by bureaucratic regulations. Directives issued by the Environmental Protection Agency are coming down the pike to increase energy costs and kill jobs.
Last May, the EPA issued what it called a tailoring rule to govern new power plants, oil refineries and factories that yearly emit 100,000 tons or more of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons or sulfur hexafluoride. Inhofe reports that this tailoring rule will further reduce our manufacturing base and especially hurt the poor and elderly.
Inhofe predicts that the EPA standards planned for commercial and industrial boilers will cost 798,000 jobs. He also warns about the harmful effects on jobs caused by new rules on ozone emissions.
Since Barack Obama moved into the White House, the EPA has proposed or finalized 29 major regulations and 172 major policy rules. The EPA is, for the first time, simultaneously toughening the regulations on all six major traditional pollutants such as ozone and sulfur dioxide.
Before Climate-gate exposed the politics behind the "science" of global warming, a 5-to-4 Supreme Court ordered the EPA to consider regulating emissions based on that unsubstantiated and now largely discredited theory.
Despite a long record of supporting Obama stimulus and spending legislation, the expected chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., says, "We are not going to allow this administration to regulate what they have been unable to legislate."
Opposition to EPA's new rules is remarkably bipartisan. Seventeen Democrats signed a letter to EPA Director Lisa Jackson opposing them.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was elected after running a TV ad showing himself firing a rifle to put a bullet through a copy of the cap-and-trade bill, and he promised to fight EPA attempts to curb greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. He may have a difficult task because Jackson is plotting to force mass retirements of the coal plants that provide half of U.S. electricity.
EPA's aggressive overregulation is forcing the electric industry to choose between continuing to operate while taking on major capital costs of complying with heavy new burdens or closing down and building new plants that use more expensive sources such as natural gas. The public will surely end up paying higher electric rates (aka a big tax increase).
This is a great article. Read more here
|Posted by Mother Goose on November 30, 2010 at 7:29 PM||comments (0)|
By Jeremy Pelofsky
WASHINGTON | Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:01pm EST
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal judge in Virginia on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the landmark healthcare law championed by President Barack Obama, upholding key provisions that require health insurance coverage.
The challenge, one of several attempting to strike down the law, was brought by the conservative Christian Liberty University and individuals who said the law would violate several parts of the U.S. Constitution.
However, U.S. District Judge Norman Moon ruled that the law requiring individuals to buy health insurance coverage as well as requiring employers to buy coverage for their employees was legal under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Moon found that without the coverage requirements in the law, the cost of health insurance would increase because the number of insured individuals would decline, "precisely the harms that Congress sought to address with the Act's regulatory measures."
Further, interstate commerce would be hurt by large employers failing to offer adequate healthcare coverage, thus "the employer coverage provision is a lawful exercise of Congress' Commerce Clause power," said Moon, who was appointed by then-Democratic President Bill Clinton.
Lawyers for Liberty University, which was founded by conservative evangelical Jerry Falwell, were not immediately available for comment.
Read more here
|Posted by Mother Goose on November 30, 2010 at 2:48 PM||comments (0)|
HLF President Mario H. Lopez available for interviews as FCC weighs next move on broadband policy
WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Hispanic Leadership Fund, a national non-partisan advocacy organization that promotes limited government and free enterprise, today reiterated its opposition to the FCC's planned vote next month on net neutrality that will impose harmful new regulations on broadband companies across the country. The organization cited negative impacts to job growth, private investment and small business growth, and urged Congress to intervene to prevent a government takeover of the internet.
"After the White House promised a renewed focus on job growth, I am appalled that it appears the FCC will move forward on their plan to forcibly reclassify broadband service in America. The FCC's expected announcement will mean a vote on a wide range of new regulations that will end the era of innovative, free-market internet growth and job creation," said Mario H. Lopez, president of the Hispanic Leadership Fund.
"Hispanics would be especially hurt by these policies that will undoubtedly discourage broadband providers from expanding access to high-speed internet in rural and urban communities, which impacts everything from new education opportunities to healthcare access to job creation. I implore the FCC to re-consider the widespread impact these policies will have on nearly every consumer in America," Lopez said.
To schedule an interview with Mario Lopez, please contact Warren Robinson at 202-870-7734.
SOURCE Hispanic Leadership Fund