Thursday, January 31, 2013

Legal Immigrant’s Must-Watch Testimony Against Gun Control: ‘Few Saw the Third Reich Coming Until It Was Too Late’


We tracked down Mr. Ong and he gave us an exclusive interview. See what became the tipping point for his support of the Second Amendment here.

 During a public hearing on gun violence in Hartford, Conn. on Monday, a legal immigrant by the name of 
Henson Ong issued a passionate defense of the Second Amendment and argued that gun control simply “does not work.” The video of Ong’s testimony has already surpassed 130,000 views on YouTube.

“Forgive me, English is not my first language. I am a legal immigrant and I am an American by choice,” he began, prompting applause from the audience.

“Thank you for giving me this opportunity to express my opinion and give my testimony in opposition to the majority of the proposed bills, which do nothing to deter future crimes,” he added. “Gun control doesn’t work.”

Ong then launched into a impassioned diatribe about what he considers to be the real problem fueling gun gun violence — “societal decay.”

“Your own history is replete with high school rifle teams, boy scout marksmanship merit badges,” he explained. “You could buy rifles at hardware stores, you could order them… your country was awash in readily available firearms and ammunition, and yet in your past you did not have mass school shootings*.”

“What changed?” he asked. “It was not that the availability of guns suddenly exploded or increased, it actually was decreased. What changed was societal decay,” he added, resulting in more applause.

Ong pointed to the Washington, D.C. and Chicago as two cities with some of the strictest gun laws but also “the highest crime and murder rates.”

“If gun control actually did work, Washington, D.C. and Chicago would be the safest cities in your nation. 

But [they are] not, they have the toughest gun laws and the highest crime and murder rates,” he said.

Ong also defended Americans’ right to own so-called “assault rifles,” which are really just semi-automatic rifles. Citing a recent purchase of 7,000 5.56x45mm NATO “personal defense weapons” by the Department of Homeland Security, he noted how the agency described the weapons as “suitable for personal defense use in close quarters.”

He went on: “Had the Koreans in the LA riots not had AR-15s and AK-47s with 30-round magazines — and Ruger 30s — their businesses would have burnt to the ground like all the other businesses in their neighborhoods. Theirs stood because they stood their ground.”

Driving a point home that many U.S. lawmakers don’t even seem to fully understand, the legal immigrant stated definitively that the Second Amendment’s purpose was not for hunting.

In closing, Ong quoted a famous statement by Judge Alex Kozinski in his dissent on the case of Silveira v. Lockye in 2002.
“My excellent colleagues have forgotten these bitter lessons of history. The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime usually do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed only for those exceptionally rare circumstances when all other rights have failed. A free people can only afford to make this mistake once.”
Ong ended his testimony to applause from the audience.

* In reality, school shooting deaths have actually experienced a steady decline between 1993 and 2010, studies show.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Judicial Watch Benghazi Report Finds 'Wide Range' of State Dept. Failures

 Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified last Wednesday to congressional committees regarding the terrorist attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, which led to the murder of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American citizens. At times evasive, seemingly emotional, defensive, and aggressive, Clinton delivered her version of events in the days before and after the murders in Benghazi. In the end, the Secretary of State pretended to take “responsibility,” but ultimately gave a predictable response regarding who is to blame: “…the level of responsibility for the failures… was set at the Assistant Secretary of State level and below,” Clinton said, referring to an investigation of the incident. In other words, “This was not my fault.”

In the epitome of Obama-era contempt for accountability, Clinton yelled “what difference does it make” in response to a reasonable question about why the attack transpired and the administration’s obvious lie that an obscure Internet video caused it. This response is also typically Clintonian, who infamously mocked “shoulda, coulda, woulda,” when asked many years ago about her and Bill’s Whitewater shenanigans.

Secretary Clinton’s attempt to kick the whole sordid mess down to her underlings did not go over well with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY): “I think ultimately with your leaving you accept culpability for the worst tragedy since Sept. 11,” Paul said. “If I'd been president at the time and I'd found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi, you did not read the cables from Ambassador Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post… Not to know of the requests for security, really I think cost these people their lives.”

And leaving aside the issue of security for the moment, what about the lies coming out of the Obama administration, which blamed the attacks on an amateur Internet video? And what of Ambassador Susan Rice’s talking points which scrubbed any reference to the terrorist connection?

“I personally was not focused on talking points,” Clinton said. “We didn't know who the attackers were or what their motives were," she said. "The picture remains somewhat complicated.”

It certainly didn’t seem “complicated” to Secretary Clinton back in September 2012. Remember, it was Clinton herself who was instrumental in advancing the false narrative that the Internet video sparked the attacks. For example, at a September 14, 2012, event honoring the four victims of the Benghazi attack, Secretary Clinton made the following statement: “We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen the rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful video that we had nothing to do with.” This was one of many statements blaming the terrorist attacks on the video.

That bogus claim came directly from the Obama administration’s talking points, and it was repeated ad nauseam by Clinton and Ambassador Susan Rice. Rice wasn’t picked by Hillary Clinton, she told Congress this week, to go out and spin for the Obama administration. This means the Obama White House is also responsible for the lies from Rice.

Now, if you want to know more of the truth behind Benghazi-gate, don’t look to Clinton’s testimony. I have a more reliable source to offer.

On the eve of Clinton’s testimony, Judicial Watch released “The Benghazi Attack of September 11, 2012:

Analysis and Further Questions from a Diplomatic Security Service Regional Security Officer and Special Agent,” a special report closely examining the Obama administration’s actions before, during, and after the assault. The report also covers the State Department’s commitment to protect overseas diplomats.

Our report contains in-depth analysis conducted exclusively for Judicial Watch by former State Department Security Special Agent Raymond Fournier. It examines the critical time period leading up to the Benghazi attack, when repeated requests for increased security were ignored by top State Department officials.

The report also examines the Obama administration’s ridiculous claim that “an obscure Internet video” triggered the attacks, as well as apparently false claims that four top State Department officials had resigned in response to the Department’s December 18, 2012, Accountability Review Board report on the attack.

And it raises questions as to the internal problems within the Department that may continue to leave overseas diplomats without adequate security.

The report concludes:
The September 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi resulted from a wide range of strategic and tactical failures by State Department officials. Chief among them was the fateful decision to circumvent established security regulations by designating the diplomatic post in Benghazi a “Special Mission Compound,” ignoring repeated requests for additional security resources by Diplomatic Security personnel on the ground, and entrusting the security of the SMC [Special Mission Compound] to a local militia group with suspected ties to radical Islamists. As Special Agent Fournier notes in his assessment of the tragedy, there were also long-standing cultural problems within the Department of State that hinder the ability of Diplomatic Security agents to adequately protect our diplomats overseas.
Inasmuch as the report draws some disturbing conclusions, it also suggests areas for further investigation. For example:

Who at the State Department was responsible for opening up and continuing the operation of the “Special Mission Compound” in the unstable environment of Benghazi, overriding physical security standards for diplomatic facilities?
  • According to Fournier, “The Department’s unexplained decision to create a new category of diplomatic structure, i.e. the ‘Special Mission Compound,’” for the purpose of “skirting the established physical security standards” for embassies and consulates was the “critical error” leading to the deadly attack.
Did the Director of Diplomatic Security or his immediate subordinates have authority to countermand the Department’s desire to open “SMC Benghazi?”
  • In the Judicial Watch report, Fournier cautions that, “Frequently, security policy and standards are set aside as inconvenient, restraining, time consuming or simply less important relative to loftier goals foreign policy goals prosecuted by the Department’s elite. One need go no further than Benghazi to see an example of the aforementioned managerial arrogance with the Department.”
Why did Ambassador Stevens travel to Benghazi, so close to the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks?

  • The Judicial Watch Special Report reveals State Department warnings in July, August, and September of 2012 advising against travel to the Mideast in general and Benghazi in particular.
Why were two unmanned aerial vehicles requested to record the deadly events as they unfolded in Benghazi while more lethal air support options were not on station?

I don’t expect we’ll be getting answers from the Obama administration any time soon. And so our investigation continues. Judicial Watch currently has more than 10 Freedom of Information Act requests pending with various Executive departments and agencies seeking records relating to the Benghazi attack.

We will go to court, if necessary, to force the Obama administration to come clean on Benghazi.

In summary, our special report shows that the State Department has conspicuously avoided dealing with many issues about the Benghazi attack. Our concern is that security has taken a back seat to politics at the State Department. The willingness of the State Department and the White House to lie about the Benghazi attack does not inspire confidence that the Benghazi security failures will be seriously addressed. In the meantime, our diplomatic personnel may remain at risk as politicians and bureaucrats avoid accountability.

Big Peace

Monday, January 28, 2013

Gang Violence and Gun Control

January 28, 2013
By Michael Geer

 Guns and gangs. Haven't read anything from the Left about that. Certainly nothing from Congress. But with FBI statistics showing more than 1,500,000 members of recognized gangs across the nation and something like 33,000 recognized gangs in the FBI's stats, you'd think Gun Control advocates would list these as a major target of their efforts, especially since gang activity is responsible for at least 48% of criminal and violent activity throughout the US. [1]

You'd be wrong.

- 100% of cities with population greater than or equal to 250,000 reported gang activity in 2001

- 85% of cities with population between 100,000 and 229,999 reported gang activity in 2001

- 65% of cities with population between 50,000 and 99,999 reported gang activity in 2001

- 44% of cities with population between 25,000 and 49,999 reported gang activity in 2001

- 20% of cities with population between 2,500 and 24,999 reported gang activity in 2001

- 35% of suburban counties reported gang activity in 2001

- 11% of rural counties reported gang activity in 2001

- 95% of the jurisdictions reporting gang activity in 2001 had also reported gang activity in previous survey years 3,000 jurisdictions across the US are estimated to have had gang activity in 2001

- 56% of cities with population greater than or equal to 100,000 reported an increase or no significant change in the number of gang members in 2001

- 42% of cities with a population of at least 25,000 reported an increase in the number of gang members

- 45% of cities with a population of at least 25,000 reported an increase in the number of gangs from the previous two years

- 69% of cities with population at least 100,000 reported having gang related homicides in 2001

- 37% of cities with population between 50,000 and 99,999 reported having gang related homicides in 2001

- 59% of all homicides in 2001 in Los Angeles and

- 53% in Chicago were gang related, there was a total of 698 gang related homicides in there two cities combined, whereas 130 other cities with population of at least 100,000 with gang problems reported having a total of 637 homicides among them [2]

Reports about you and me and our AR-15s and AKs? All over the front page. Gangs with rocket launchers and grenades in the gun control newspeak? Bupkus. You and I and our Glocks? Terrified reporters breathless with passion for gun control. Gangs with Glocks? Nada. You and I, presuming you may be religious, a veteran of armed service or a defender of the Second Amendment are now listed with Homeland Security as a threat to National Security, a potential terrorist. Lumped in there with the likes of Hamas, Shining Path, MS-13 and the Hells Angels. But right now we're not hearing anything about trying to take guns away from the Mongols. No. You're not hearing some rip and read talking head demanding MS-13 be disarmed. You and me, yes. Insanely violent drug gangs? Shhh. No gun control for them, they might do something.

Very few members of gangs walk our streets minus a gun. From renegade motorcycle gangs to inner city street gangs to international cartel gang members, every one of them is strapped. We don't need footnoted statistics to know the truth of that.

Criminal gangs are already engaging in criminal activity, meaning, they have no problem breaking the Law. Breaking the Law is their way of life. The punitive measures of Law meant to cause prior self-restraint mean nothing to them. Consequences mean almost nothing to them.

Gun Control advocates are terrified of the average Mom and Dad, the average brother or sister possessing the means to defend themselves and those around them. They don't seem at all worried about armed members of gangs. At least they never volunteer to go disarm them.

Gangs don't care about Law. They don't care about the consequences of breaking a Law. But let me tell you what they do care about.

You shooting back. Put a couple rounds of 185 grain .45 ACP in them, or past their head that's a consequence they understand. When you drop a gang aggressor like third period French, that's a consequence they understand.

Law? Not so much.

So, let's say Congress passes enough gun control war-garble that in effect it is impossible to possess and use a firearm. Will gang members remain disarmed as the rest of the sheeple?    
(that's me, laughing)

Gangs get guns as a result of criminal activity. Burglaries, theft, selling drugs to buy guns on the street, all manner of illegally obtaining guns. You and me? Federally licensed firearms dealer, background check, traceable funds, paperwork, etc.

The criminal element will always get access because they have no regard for Law. You and I do our best to obey Laws because we dare not entertain the consequences of breaking the Law.

Which brings us to the question of follow the money, always the ultimate driving force.

Prohibition produced the potent opportunity for unthinkable fortunes that funded vast gang networks that exist to this day. People wanted liquor despite the nanny-staters in Congress and people got liquor. Through violent gangs which profited to such an extent they destabilized governments. They blackmailed, killed, murdered, through bribing, extortion, threatening and quite literally waging war on the Law and anyone who stood in their way. Gang wars and gang profits produced enough profit to fuel the violence with serious automatic weapons, explosives and murder for hire.

The rootstock of many of those gangs are still with us. Look at Chicago.

The War on Drugs has produced an industry with such disregard for Law to be staggering in depth and breadth. It isn't just Colombia. It's not just hyper-violent Mexican drug cartels. It's not just Chicago. Think opium fields in Afghanistan and how many of our serviceman and women have died there. Think Beqaa Valley and perpetual violence. Think drug warlords deep in the Shan Mountains of SE Asia. There is so much money to be made in prohibited drugs there are no words adequate to describe it. [3]

And none of these players obey the Law. Laws in their thousands in every nation, yet the money flows and laws are broken and gangs thrive. Only the law abiding suffer.

But, ban guns? Make a new Prohibition in effect negating the Second Amendment? You think we have a gang problem now? You think extant gangs will ignore the eye popping opportunity banning guns and ammunition will represent? We already have a serious nationwide gang problem. Congress will corrupt that minor problem into what could become a destabilizing all out conflagration.

We will then have gang wars only Hollywood SFX departments can envision. Not because you and I will go hog wild ignoring the Law. But because Nature abhors a vacuum. And gangs already exist and which already disregard the Law will ... go hog wild stepping into the natural Supply and Demand cycle.
Gangs and Guns. I really would like to see Dianne Feinstein and Ed Schultz go to addresses in the Pico-Union area of Los Angeles and forcibly insist MS-13 members hand over their guns.

I really would.

Gangs are a huge problem Congress ignores. And I have to ask the question: if I follow the money, will I discover why? Because no decent law abiding self-respecting power center would allow gangs like these to exist in their body except that there were a reason to tolerate their presence. If we follow the money will we uncover why violent gangs are allowed to coexist side by side with decent law abiding citizens?

Feinstein ignores gangs and focuses on you. Think it through.

Michael Geer, author, blogger, publisher;

[2]Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, National Youth Gang Survey Trends from 1996 to 2000, by Arlen Egley, Jr. and Aline K. Major.

[3] Red Cocaine. JRR Douglass.

American Thinker

Hillary Gives Away the Game

January 28, 2013
By Daren Jonescu

 Hillary Clinton's angry flip-out at Senator Ron Johnson during her Benghazi testimony was a charmed moment.  All at once, before the whole world, one of the highest ranking progressive authoritarians on the planet spilled the beans -- all of them -- about the left's modus operandi. 

The revelation might be overlooked, however, if we focus too closely on Clinton's easily quotable "What difference does it make?"  The line as quoted merely shows Clinton to be a trapped liar trying to fake her way through an awkward moment with pomposity and bravado.  In truth, however, "What difference does it make?" is merely a media-friendly ellipsis of her actual words.  What she actually said, without the convenient editing, is far more telling.

Here is the exchange:
Johnson: We were misled that there were supposedly protests and then... an assault sprang out of that.  And that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact, and the American people could have known that within days -- and they didn't know that.
Clinton (shouting, glaring, and waving her arms): With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans.  Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans?  What difference -- at this point -- does it make?  It is our job to figure out what happened, and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.
Note in passing the obvious contradiction in saying that it makes no difference what happened, and then immediately saying that "our job" is "to figure out what happened."  Clearly, in her flustered state, Clinton confused her talking points, the intended gist of which was presumably that the job of finding out what happened is the responsibility of the administration's own internal investigators alone, because only the administration itself will be able to construct a tale that "gets to the bottom of things" without incriminating anyone in the administration.

All contradictions aside, however, let us turn to Clinton's central point.  Johnson's question was a straightforward one, and the one people have been asking since the first days after the attack, when, thanks to foreign media sources, Americans were learning that there was no evidence of any video protest anywhere in Libya on September 11.  That question gained force and significance when the world learned that the assault had lasted for seven hours, and that throughout the battle, administration officials in Washington were receiving live communications from those under attack, as well as real time images from a U.S. drone on the scene.  It gained further urgency when Clinton promised Tyrone Woods' father that the government would hunt down... no, not the terrorists who killed his son, but the maker of the video that supposedly ignited the non-existent protests. 

The simple question Senator Johnson revived gained a fever pitch of relevance when President Obama went on television, and to the United Nations, to condemn an anti-Islamic video which by that time he had to know was in no way related to the attacks.  (See here.)  And of course the precise context which heightened the relevance of this "video protest" lie was on display when, during a debate, Obama refused to answer questions about what he had done to help the Americans under attack, instead glaring condescendingly at Mitt Romney while delivering a carefully prepared (and frequently repeated) diatribe about his supposed "three orders," none of which addressed the actual question as to what he had done during the assault to rescue the victims.

The context, and the brazenness of the lie, provoked many speculations as to what the Obama administration was hiding, and why.  The kindest, most generous interpretation, given what we now know, is that the administration was running a sophisticated smokescreen operation to evade damage to the Obama campaign's talking point that by "getting bin Laden" while endorsing the "democratic elements" of the Muslim Brotherhood, Barack the Avenger was freeing America from the threat of Islamic extremism.  The video protest story, tarted up by the administration as "understandable outrage" about a "disgusting" case of "religious intolerance," was (minimally) designed to deflect blame from a foreign policy that, with its projection of weakness and its moral support for the global caliphate movement, was an invitation to aggression.

It is in this light that we must view Clinton's angry outburst, and particularly her most revealing declaration: "Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans?  What difference -- at this point -- does it make?"

Notice that her first question carefully avoids the true option, namely "a planned assault by well-armed Islamists affiliated with al-Qaeda."  Had she included that one among her list of hypotheticals, the absurdity of her rhetorical question would have been crystal clear, even to her.  Obviously, in the immediate aftermath of the attack, the answer to this question -- why were the men killed? -- made all the difference in the world.  The administration's lies, obfuscations, and contradictory half-stories about the events were the crux of the issue -- at that time.

But that was months ago.  As Clinton so pointedly says, "What difference -- at this point -- does it make?"  Clinton, the administration official most closely linked to this catastrophe, chose not to be available for questioning in September, when Susan Rice, who (conveniently) had nothing to do with any of it, was sent out to the Sunday talk shows to deliver the administration's lies.  Clinton chose not to be available the first time she was asked to testify before Congress, due to an urgently important trip to Australia.  And then, of course, she was unavailable for her second invited appearance, due to having reportedly hit her head after fainting. 

Now, four and a half months after the murderous assault on a woefully under-defended diplomatic staff by a well-known terrorist group; two and a half months after the presidential election was won by the man who made the unthinkably brutal decision to leave American government employees under attack for hours without taking any action to help them; months after the administration's point-man in its initial cover-up, Rice, was safely cordoned off from scrutiny on the inscrutable grounds that she was a complete naïf "just delivering the information that was given to her" (by whom?) -- after all this time, Clinton can simply bury the central question, and the main reason for the congressional investigation itself, by wailing, "What difference -- at this point -- does it make?"

"At this point."  That is, and has always been, the underlying strategy of the Obama administration on Benghazi: stall for time until they've reached a safe distance from the horrors they perpetrated on the ambassador and his brave defenders, on the American people, on an insignificant amateur video maker, and on the many Arab Muslims killed during real protests stoked by the administration's repeated citing of an "outrageous," "disgusting," "intolerant" video which in fact had nothing to do with anything.  From this distance, they hoped, all the important questions would begin to seem less urgent, and all the ugly facts begin to drift into the dark recesses of public consciousness. 

Had Hillary Clinton, during any of those September Sunday shows she avoided, said "What difference does it make what actually happened?" even her mistresses of the robes in the mainstream media would have had a hard time carrying her train.

Had Obama himself, during his re-election campaign debates, said "What difference does it make what really happened?" even Candy Crowley would have been hard pressed to leap to his defense.

Now, at last, believing they have successfully run out the clock on the public's infantile attention span, the progressives can offer their only real defense of their terrifying inhumanity -- the argument they undoubtedly used privately from the beginning, but which they dared not utter in public while many were still disturbed about the details of the attack: "What difference does it make?"  What's done is done.

Furthermore, Hillary Clinton's angry blurting out of the truth is applicable to much more than just the Benghazi fiasco.  With that revealing little qualification -- "at this point" -- she actually gave away the entire progressive game that has been played on Western civilization for more than a hundred years, and has now all but shut the door on the five hundred year adventure the West has dubbed "modernity."

This is the big secret at the core of the progressives' conception of "progress": You cannot justify the unjustifiable in advance, or persuade people of the rationally unpersuasive.  Rather, you must simply push "forward" into ever-deepening waters, repeatedly building reserves of social pressure and then releasing them in little thrusts of propelling energy to carry civilization ever nearer the vortex -- all the while promising to save men from the frightening depths, if only they will hold on tight, and follow you, the progressive, just a little farther forward, just a little farther forward.

The key to the progressive "ratchet," as it is often, correctly, called, is that no step forward may ever be retraced.  Each stage of degradation is to be rationalized after the fact, precisely by the means exemplified in Hillary Clinton's stark question: "What difference -- at this point -- does it make?"

Was modern public education conceived as a tool for preventing the development of individualism and exceptional men, in favor of a morally and intellectually stunted "workforce" of the compliant to support an entrenched oligarchy?  "What difference -- at this point -- does it make?" say the defenders of public education.  "After all, we can't just abolish an education system we've come to depend on for generations to raise our children."

Would ObamaCare's individual mandate stand up to the judgment of the framers of the U.S. Constitution?  "What difference -- at this point -- does that make?" says the Supreme Court.  "After all, it was passed by a duly elected Congress and president of today, so who's to say James Madison himself would not have approved, had he seen Barack Obama's well-creased pant leg?" 

FDR rammed New Deal legislation through an intimidated Supreme Court, and against strong Republican and public outcries that it betokened the thin edge of the socialist wedge.  "What difference -- at this point -- does it make?" say subsequent generations of Americans when the question of "Social Security reform" is tentatively raised.  "After all, we can't just unravel programs that have come to be taken for granted by generations of Americans, even if they are bankrupting the country."

Throughout the dilapidated West, the same now goes, or soon will go, for wealth redistribution, government-controlled medicine, abortion, affirmative action, the abolition of private property, government-ordered euthanasia, gay/transgender/bi-species marriage, a ban on private gun ownership, anti-industrial "green" legislation, restrictions on soft drink serving sizes, government-mandated molestation at airports, the outlawing of all forms of private education, and mental health assessments for those showing excessive reverence for individual liberty.

The key to the success of Western socialism's "progress" is not the periodic lurches toward the abyss.  It is the art of effective stalling.  All of today's political and moral outrages will be rationalized with a shrug tomorrow: "What difference -- at this point -- does it make?"

American Thinker

Obama's South African Inspiration: Why It Matters

28 Jan 2013

  In an interview with Breitbart News Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) made the astute observation that Barack Obama is not just skeptical of our Constitution, but also has an alternative model in mind: the South African constitution. That document has been the object of fascination and envy for the American legal left ever since it was negotiated and passed in the mid-1990s, during South Africa’s transition to democracy. The left is obsessed with a particular section of the South African constitution: its Bill of Rights, which includes so-called “positive,” or socioeconomic rights: the right to housing, the right to a clean environment, the right to health care, the right to food and water, and so on. South Africa's Bill of Rights also prevents discrimination on the basis of a wide range of categories, including both gender and sex, culture, sexual orientation, and pregnancy.

If that sounds like the wish list of the American “progressive” movement, that is because it is: many of the legal scholars who influenced South Africa’s constitutional negotiations were from the United States. One of the most important was professor Frank Michelman of Harvard Law School, whose contribution to South Africa’s doctrine of socioeconomic rights was lauded last year by South African Constitutional Court justice Sandile Ngobo.

Michelman, who taught at Harvard when Obama was a student, was also one of the few faculty supporters of Critical Race Theory pioneer Derrick Bell. Bell believed that the American legal system enshrined white supremacy, and that the Constitution--even after the Civil War amendments--was fundamentally racist. The only to redeem it, he argued, would be through the passage of amendments that guaranteed socioeconomic rights.

Obama was profoundly influenced by Bell’s ideas, and used them to teach his own law classes at the University of Chicago. He echoed Bell’s views of the Constitution as a “deeply flawed” document in an infamous interview with Chicago’s WBEZ-FM in 2001, when Obama observed that the Warren Court of the 1960s had been too timid to apply principles of equality to the “redistribution of wealth” and “political and economic justice.”

That task, then-State Senator Obama said, could not be entrusted to the courts within the limits of the Constitution as we know it; “redistributive change” would have to wait until the left had assembled “the actual coalitions of power” necessary. Today, Obama has done just that--and his attempt to divide and marginalize the Republican Party is aimed at removing potential opposition to the fundamental changes he wishes to enact.

In addition, the courts may no longer be the obstacle that Obama once feared. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan was familiar with Bell’s ideas, and lectured at least once on Critical Race Theory. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Clinton appointee, recently expressed a preference for the South African constitution. More broadly, enthusiasm for socioeconomic rights seems widespread among the cohort Obama brought to power.

There are, however, three widely recognized problems with socioeconomic rights. One is that they are not justiciable--that is, there is almost no way for a court to enforce and protect them. For example, the classic case that established the vitality of South Africa’s socioeconomic rights, known as Grootboom (2000), also demonstrated their limits: Ms. Grootboom’s right to housing was upheld, but she died years later without a house.

Another problem is philosophical: socioeconomic rights are not inherent in the individual, but granted by government. Therefore they enshrine the supremacy of the state above the individual. And since they are not enforceable right away but must be “progressively realized,” socioeconomic rights tend to degrade the value of other rights, such as the so-called “negative” liberties--freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and others.

The third problem is political: paradoxically, the fact that socioeconomic rights exist may relieve pressure from governments to provide the promised socioeconomic benefits. In South Africa, for example, the government was proud of having given its citizens the right to health care, but refused for several years to provide life-saving Aids medicines. The result was that millions died--their bodies destroyed, their rights theoretically intact.

Other countries that have included socioeconomic rights in their constitutions have taken a softer approach. The Irish constitution, for example, includes “directive principles” that outline socioeconomic rights as policy goals without giving them the force of law. But in the U.S., “progressive” legal scholars still nurture the hope that obstacles to fulfilling the dream of socioeconomic rights will prove merely political, administrative--and temporary.

The American left has long drawn inspiration from the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Obama has described that political cause as the reason he was drawn to politics, as well as one of the reasons he joined Jeremiah Wright's extremist church. As Obama's own example demonstrates, not every expression of solidarity with the anti-apartheid struggle was a healthy or even helpful one; some merely used it to advocate for radicalism.

It is worth noting that socioeconomic rights were not the necessary outcome of South Africa's struggle against apartheid. South Africa's liberal (in the classical sense) opposition, then known as the Democratic Party, opposed apartheid but also opposed the inclusion of socioeconomic rights, for many of the reasons above. That history of criticism, and the predicted failures of socioeconomic rights, have been largely overlooked by American admirers.

President Obama’s call to give “meaning” to the rights in our founding documents, and for “collective action” as a means for “preserving our individual freedoms” and providing “every citizen” with “a basic measure of security and dignity” clearly points toward the eventual creation of socioeconomic rights on something like the South African model. Sen. Paul deserves credit for recognizing that--and the dangers that poses to our Republic.

Big Government

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Great Gun Debate: Selwyn Duke vs. Brett Joshpe

January 27, 2013
By Selwyn Duke

 A few weeks ago, author and Manhattan-based lawyer Brett Joshpe penned a pro-gun-control piece whose thrust was that conservatives need to be sensible with respect to firearms legislation. It's not sensible, said he, to oppose any and all further restrictions on Second Amendment rights. Well, let's discuss what's "sensible."

For much of the US' history, we had virtually no gun-control laws (for white people). But then came Prohibition, gangsters, and Tommy guns, and people wanted to be sensible. So we ended up with the 1934 National Firearms Act, which restricted ownership of fully automatic weapons. Al Capone was unimpressed.

But there still was crime, and we had to be sensible. Thus were spawned 5,000 gun-control laws.

Man's nature, though, is a mighty intractable thing. Crime still existed - and so did calls to be sensible.

The result was 10,000 gun-control laws.

Then the strangest thing happened.

There still was crime.

People still demanded, "Be sensible!" And then there were 15,000....

But there was still...well, now we have more than 22,000 guns laws. And guess what.

That's right. Again there are those asking us to be "sensible."

Now, one might question the sense of these sensible people. Are they so ignorant of history that they're damned to repeat it inexorably? As to this, you might, Mr. Joshpe, remember those math problems in school in which you had to finish a progression. Well, finish the one I outlined above. Let's say the left (and you) gets exactly what they claim to want right now. Will we:

A. Have no more crime.

B. Still have crime.

After tackling that, proceed to question two: how will the left (and maybe you?) respond?

A. They will say we already have sensible gun-control laws and seek solutions elsewhere.

B. They will again ask us to be "sensible."

Mr. Joshpe, I don't call your prescribed capitulation "sensible," but something else.
Insanity - which, as that apocryphal saying tells us, "is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." What result, Mr. Joshpe, do you hope to achieve with your shape-shifting gun-control proposals?

As to this, you peppered your American Thinker article with references to the need to restrict "automatic" weapons, clearly indicating that you'd fallen victim to what gun-grabbing propagandist Josh Sugarman called the public's highly exploitable "confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons," the former of which have been largely unavailable to the citizenry for almost 80 years. You now seem to know better and thus have switched gears, pushing what you call an "assault weapons" ban. This is very fashionable, of course, but what do you hope to achieve with it? 

Since it's "sensible" to be informed, please consider certain facts before answering. First, firearms such as the AR-15 (and I'm bored to tears of having to point this out) are not "assault weapons"; that is simply an emotionally charged term left-wing activists and the media have applied to demonize them. An assault weapon would have a "selective fire" feature, allowing it to be operated semi-automatic, fully automatic, in three-shot bursts, or in two of those three modes. In contrast, the weapons unfairly targeted here are merely semi-automatic rifles, meaning, they release one bullet with every trigger pull - like most guns owned in America.

In addition, AR-15-class weapons are used in less than two percent of all gun crimes, and legally owned ones in approximately zero percent of all gun crimes. Moreover:
  • They aren't large-caliber weapons. They're small - the same as a .22 Marlin target rifle.
  • While their .223 ammunition (the gun's default caliber) is nothing to sneeze at, it's not even close to being the highest powered. The .30-06, .416 Remington Magnum, .308 Winchester - and many, many other rifle calibers - are more powerful. Note that, as this video explains and illustrates, while AR-15-class weapons are made to wound a 170-pound man, the aforementioned hunting rifles are designed to kill a 300 to 1000-pound deer or moose.
  • In fact, .223 chambered AR-15s are so relatively ineffective that certain states and countries actually prohibit their use for deer hunting.
  • Thus, it isn't surprising that they aren't close to the most devastating firearms available. For example, as even The New York Times pointed out, shotguns are more effective in close-quarters attacks against soft targets (as in a massacre). Note here that most of the wounds in the Aurora, Colorado rampage were inflicted with a shotgun.
  • Any firearm with a magazine port can be fitted with a high-capacity magazine. Fifty-round magazines are readily available, for instance, for the Ruger 10/22.

So now let's place Mr. Joshpe's sensible policy initiative in perspective. He doesn't propose outlawing the largest caliber weapons. He doesn't propose outlawing the highest powered weapons. He doesn't propose outlawing the most devastating weapons. He doesn't propose outlawing the weapons most often used in crimes. Instead?

He insists we outlaw or restrict a class of small-caliber, lower-powered, less-effective rifles that have the same rate of fire as the more effective ones all so that we can, supposedly, eliminate weapons used in a staggering zero percent of all crimes.
(The ones used in two percent of crimes are already illegal.)

Is this sensible?

Or insane?

Of course, even targeting the other kinds of aforementioned weapons would only remove them from law-abiding hands, so that wouldn't be sensible, either. But my point is that there is a particularly severe disconnect between policy and reality here. I'm going to explain why it exists.

Mr. Joshpe has scoffed at gun advocates' slippery slope warning. And in a sense he is right. His proposal is not a slide down a slippery slope. Rather, he's suggesting that we take a huge leap of blind faith, land in the middle of the slope, and then hope we stop. That is to say, if it makes sense to outlaw firearms used in less than two percent of gun crimes, why not handguns, which are used in 86 percent of gun crimes? Why not more devastating shotguns, which are used in 7.5 percent of gun crimes? Why not rifles in general, which are used in 8.8 percent of them? Why the focus on the one (plus) percent? Is this Occupy the Second Amendment?

Answer: the left focuses on zero-percent guns (the legal ones) because they can. You see, there's a lot of prejudice right now against the "scary black gun," and, as scary black-heart Rahm the Assault Mayor has said, "Never let a good crisis go to waste." But if you accept the supposition that outlawing guns stops outlaws from using guns and that a certain point on that slippery slope is the right level of legislation, it logically follows that everything above it in the hierarchy of "dangerousness" should be outlawed, too. Is this what you propose, Mr. Joshpe? If not, why pick on the AR-15? What sense, other than nonsense, does that make?

And on a related note, Mr. Joshpe, you advocate the reinstitution of the Bill Clinton disgorged zero-percent weapons ban. Can you explain what this would accomplish?

Another proposal Mr. Joshpe fancies sensible is something that became reality in New York just last week: a prohibition against high-capacity magazines. But NY state senator and former NYPD captain Eric Adams explained, quite inadvertently, at least part of the reason why it isn't sensible at all. While addressing the law's failure to grant police officers an exemption from the ban, he said, "You can't give more ammo to the criminals." But, wait, isn't the ban supposed to keep these magazines out of criminals' hands? And if it's wrong to thus handicap the cops, Mr. Joshpe, how is it sensible to give the criminals more ammo than good citizens have?

That said, I'm not at all opposed to being sensible; I just define it a bit differently than does Mr. Joshpe. Conservatives have a history of playing defense - and compromising their way to culture-war defeat and tyranny. Liberals will come to the bargaining table demanding some change and conservatives, being reasonable, will give the liberals a percentage of what they want. The problem? The liberals will come back again and again, demanding more and more, and the conservatives will continually yield more ground. And, ultimately, after enough time, the whole loaf will have been relinquished.

So here's my proposal: I want the total number of gun laws reduced from 22,000 to 5,000 (it's a good start, anyway). If the opposition finds this unpalatable, however, I'm willing to be sensible and reasonable and accept a reduction to 10,000. Don't ever say I'm not amenable to compromise.

While I have far more ammunition in my magical mystery magazine, word control dictates that I hold further fire (for now) and cede the floor to Mr. Joshpe. Suffice it to say, though, that his proposals are of the left and should be left behind. They reflect large-caliber misunderstandings fed with high-capacity emotionalism which cycle out fully automatic knee-jerk reactions.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to

American Thinker

EPA Email Scandal Is Worse than Originally Thought

27 Jan 2013

 President Barack Obama and, for that matter, most of America seem woefully ignorant about a scandal unfolding at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As hard as it is to believe, outgoing Administrator Lisa Jackson actually appears to have had agency personnel create a fictitious employee by the name of “Richard Windsor” so that Jackson could appropriate the Windsor’s email address for her own purposes.  

We’re not talking about some alias to be used for personal correspondence but a totally false identity in whose name official business was allegedly conducted created specifically to avoid federal record-keeping and disclosure requirements. And none of this would ever have been uncovered were it not for the courage of a still anonymous whistleblower and the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Christopher Horner, an attorney with the legal smarts and experience needed to unravel it all.  

Earlier this week, thanks to Horner’s good work, the EPA was supposed to produce the first installment of some 12,000 secret, previously undisclosed emails. Not because it wanted to but because a federal court order required it to.  

Under the order, the EPA was to provide the first installment of 3,000 e-mails with three additional installments of 3,000 e-mails to follow. Rather than provide the required emails, however, EPA’s cover letter accompanying its production of emails said it “produced more than 2,100 emails received or sent” by Jackson on an official alias e-mail account.  

All fine, well and good – except that not one of those emails was from “Richard Windsor’s” account. Not one. Yet it is certain the account exists because Horner found three Windsor emails using other means. Instead the EPA provided such absurdly silly and unresponsive e-mails as the daily news briefs published by the Washington Post, and EPA national news clippings, a pathetic attempt to avoid a contempt citation that came only after a week’s worth of unsuccessful attempts to push the official response date down the road.  

A pattern exists: the EPA creates a fake e-mail account for its administrator to avoid scrutiny; it doesn’t produce any of the fake e-mails even though they are required by law to do so; when specifically required by court order, the EPA seeks endless delays; and, when the delaying tactics prove fruitless, EPA fails to provide either the number or the type of e-mails required.  

To put it simply, the agency is trying to run out the clock, hoping against hope that people will lose interest and move on to something else.  This, in our judgment, must not be allowed to happen.  

The point of this scheme was to evade public accountability, to conduct official government business under the table, outside of the public eye. When Congress and others asked for Ms. Jackson’s EPA correspondence and email, the “Richard Windsor” e-mails would fall outside that request and, eventually, be destroyed allowing official EPA business to be conducted secretly. That falls well short of conducting business in the open and in a transparent fashion. It also falls well short of the standards required by federal law.  

If this were merely a matter of an official “alias” – e.g. instead of her “official” email name, it would be no big deal. But the “Richard Windsor” identity is not an alias: it is a totally fake persona obviously created to evade record-keeping and disclosure requirements.  It may not seem it on its face, but it an issue so serious that anyone who received a “Richard Windsor” email or corresponded with “Richard Windsor” – knowing it was Lisa Jackson and not reporting it, should at the very least be barred from succeeding her as administrator of the EPA.  

"Despite EPA's 'everyone does it' line -- the lesser-known, somewhat inconsistent subtitle to 'most transparent administration, ever' -- Richard Windsor appears to be the first false identity assumed to hide a senior federal official's public records,” Horner says. “One reason for this might be that it's against the law.

The readiness with which we already know other administration officials, including lawyers, accepted the practice suggests Windsor wasn't the only such false identity Obama officials have created to subvert federal record-keeping and disclosure laws."  

Yes, America, this e-mail scandal is worse than originally believed. Far worse. And if “everyone does it” in this Administration as the EPA has claimed, President Obama needs to answer some questions as well.  And the United States Senate, which has slew of presidential nominees to confirm in the next few months, has the obligation to start asking.  

George Landrith is president of Frontiers of Freedom, a Virginia-based public policy organization. Peter Roff is a senior fellow at FOF.

Big Government

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Bizzaro World of Liberal 'Science'

January 26, 2013
By Tom Trinko

 Generally speaking, liberals in America espouse the belief that science is great and that it endorses liberalism. 

They also attempt to cast conservatives as ignorant savages whose beliefs are similar to Cro-Magnon pagans.

The reality is that when it comes to science it is liberals who live in a bizarro world.

Let's look at a few examples.

Science has conclusively demonstrated that at conception a new human being with uniquely human DNA is formed. At conception, the entire biological identity of a person is established -- their gender, their hair color, their skin tone, etc.

Yet liberals constantly refer to the unborn as "blobs of tissue" or "a part of the woman's body". The latter statement is also directly refuted by science.

Modern medical science has discovered that one of the key reasons for the umbilical cord is to ensure that the mother's immune system can't get to her unborn daughter. At the most fundamental biological level the mother's immune system, which decides what is self and what is not self, recognizes a woman's daughter as not self.

But liberals ignore the clear scientific data that human life begins at conception in order to continue to advocate the legalized killing of some humans who are declared, in direct contradiction to the clear scientific evidence, to be not human solely because of their age.

Then there's so called global warming, now renamed to climate change. Irrespective of who is right or wrong about global warming -- the alarmists or the sane people, no bias here -- the way liberals treat the debate shows their complete lack of understanding about how science works.

Science is science because of experiments. If you can't define a repeatable experiment that can either prove or falsify a theory all you have is a theory; and theories are just smart men thinking and we all know how off course smart men can go. As such it doesn't matter how many, or few, scientists believe something is true. All that matters is what does the experimental data show.

We've seen cases where the entire scientific community, except for one dissenter, was wrong. Back in 1912 Alfred Wegener presented his theory of continental drift to the scientific community. Everyone said he was wrong. Fast forward to the 1960s when new data showed he was right. Even though he was one scientist out of thousands from 1912 to the 1960s he was right and they were wrong.

Yet liberals are always declaring that global warming must be real because the "majority" of scientists support it. This is symptomatic of a typical liberal problem; contrary to their belief truth is not defined by a vote, or by who is in power.

Then there's the whole homosexuality thing. To date no study has shown that being gay is genetic; to do that it would be necessary to show that twins separated at birth both tended to turn out homosexual but the tiny fraction of homosexuals in the population makes it impossible to find a statistically viable sample of separated homosexual twins.

On the other hand, studies do show a good correlation between a missing or weak father figure early in a boys life and eventual homosexual behavior. The success of reparative therapy on many homosexuals also indicates that being gay is not like being black; ignoring the fact that one's race is not a moral issue since all races are morally equal -- it is how one behaves that defines one's quality as a person.

Yet in spite of this evidence liberals insist on declaring that God made homosexuals gay. Irrespective of one's moral beliefs (is active homosexuality right or is it wrong), ignoring science and saying that homosexuals are trapped by their biology does a disservice to both gays and public discourse.

Liberals seem to ignore the fact that morality of something is independent of its genetic component. If it were to be found that some gene is common in men who rape women, it would not make rape an okay thing. Hence even if homosexuality is genetic, it can still be morally wrong; after all, genetically speaking, most men have a tendency to be promiscuous but that doesn't mean cheating on your wife is okay.

On a related note remember when liberals were telling us that science predicted a heterosexual AIDS epidemic was just around the corner? Of course, over 30 years later there is no heterosexual AIDS epidemic in America.

Doctors originally called AIDS GRIDS, Gay Related Immune Deficiency Syndrome, because only gays contracted it. Liberal outcries forced the change to the more neutral name. Ignoring the medical data, liberals told Americans that we must spend a fortune to cure AIDS because everyone might soon die of it. Another example of a common liberal meme; pseudoscience reveals a problem so you must spend tons of taxpayer money to fix it.

Liberals also told us that science says that condoms would protect us from AIDS, and pretty much all other STDs. Anyone who took a sex-ed class in pre-AIDS America would be shocked by that, since they were taught that condoms were a joke because they failed so often. Science has shown that condoms will reduce the chance of catching AIDS for each time someone has sex with an infected partner -- assuming they don't fail. But if as a result of falsely believing that condoms are failsafe an individual has sex with an infected partner multiple times he will get AIDS; condoms can only delay the inevitable. Liberals ignore this bit of scientific data because they want consequence-free sex. Sadly, many people have either died or now need lifelong medical treatment because they've contracted AIDS after listening to this bit of liberal pseudoscience.

There are also examples from the "soft sciences" such as sociology. Generally speaking, unlike physics, chemistry, and the other hard sciences, the soft sciences are those in which controlled experiments are either hard or impossible to construct. For example, sociologists can compare drug users to non-drug users and see what factors -- such as parental drug use -- seem correlated with using drugs. But they can't take a drug user back to his childhood and raise him up again with different circumstances in order to see if their theory is right. As such, truth is always less clear in the soft sciences; but that doesn't mean that it is absent.

On the issue of gun control, studies have shown that there is good reason to believe that armed crimes are reduced when the potential victims are armed. This appears rational when one considers that occupied houses are rarely broken into in America, where a reasonable fraction of homeowners have guns, but occupied houses are often burgled in England where the criminals know that the homeowners will be unarmed. Yet liberals continue to insist, in direct contradiction to sociological studies, that guns, not people, are the problem.

Decades of scientific studies have shown that women and men are different. Yet liberals insist on ignoring those results and declaring that women can be just as good as fireman or infantry soldiers as men. Now there are some women who would be better firemen than a lot of out-of-shape guys. The problem arises when liberals insist on defining different job fitness criteria for woman than for men even though those same liberals say women can do the exact same job as men.

Keep this in mind when you hear some liberal invoking science with more fervor than a revivalist minister invoking Jesus. Unlike the minister, who has probably at least studied the Bible, liberals will invoke science they don't understand and declare fiction to be fact so long as it seems to support their political position.

You can find more of tom's rants at his blog.

American Thinker

Friday, January 25, 2013

Poll: 2/3 of Americans Would Defy Federal Gun Ban

25 Jan 2013

 In a Fox News survey, two-thirds of Americans said they would "defy" a federal gun ban and keep their guns if the government ever passed a law to "take your guns." The survey asked respondents, "If the government passed a law to take your guns, would you give up your guns or defy the law and keep your guns?"

Sixty-five percent of those surveyed said they would "defy the law." Specifically, 70% of Republicans, 68% of conservatives, 52% of Democrats, and 59% of liberals said they would "defy" a federal gun ban to keep their guns.

The poll surveyed 1,008 registered U.S. voters between Jan. 15-17.

Big Government

Major Court Defeat for Obama: 'Recess' Appointments Unconstitutional

25 Jan 2013

  President Barack Obama just suffered a humiliating defeat in federal court. A top federal appeals court has removed three presidential appointees from power, and invalidated all actions they’ve taken over the past twelve months.   One year ago, Obama filled three seats on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)--an essential power center for Obama’s labor-union allies--with recess appointments, claiming that the U.S. Senate was in recess even though the Senate was still in session.

No president in history had ever done such a thing, and Republicans and conservatives immediately denounced it as an unconstitutional power grab. The matter went to court, where Breitbart News covered the judges’ questions and reactions at oral argument.

In Noel Canning v. NLRB, the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit held today that Obama’s three recess appointments are in fact unconstitutional. As such, the three seats on NLRB were never legally filled.

Thus NLRB only had two members, while the law requires three members on the five-member Board in order to have a quorum to conduct business or issue orders.

The D.C. Circuit therefore concluded that all NLRB orders issued since these recess appointments were made are entirely void, and NLRB has no power to act at all unless and until the Senate votes to confirm Obama’s nominees.

The head of the controversial new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) created by Dodd-Frank, Richard Cordray, was also installed as one of these non-recess appointments. While the D.C. Circuit did not address that appointment, it is now clear that Cordray’s appointment was also unconstitutional, and so he too will be removed from power and all his actions to date nullified. Former White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray—a very well-respected D.C. lawyer—currently has a lawsuit against CFPB, where this decision will secure his victory on part of his case.

This recess-appointment issue will now likely go to the Supreme Court, where it is likely to suffer the same fate.

Breitbart News legal columnist Ken Klukowski is a fellow with the American Civil Rights Union and on faculty at Liberty University School of Law.

Big Government