Supreme Court Strikes Down Law Banning Sale Of Violent Video Games To Minors

The Supreme Court determined that minors could buy violent video games.Citing the 1st Amendment, the United States Supreme Court struck down a California law that prohibited the sale of violent video games to children.

The New York Times reports that the court voted 7-2 in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association. The law that was struck down called for a $1,000 fine for stores that sold violent video games to minors.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for five of the justices in the majority.

"Like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas — and even social messages — through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world)," he wrote. "That suffices to confer [1st] Amendment protection."

The news source reports that the video game industry was happy with the ruling.

The decision was just the latest by the Supreme Court that protected 1st Amendment rights. Earlier this year, the high court determined that funeral protests, like those staged by the Westboro Baptist Church, are protected by the Constitution.

Tea Party Targets Senate’s Longest-Serving Republican

Utah’s Orrin Hatch has served six terms in the U.S. Senate, making him the current longest-serving Republican Senator. Now, some Tea Party activists are saying six terms is enough.

“It’s time for him to go home and retire,” Darcy Van Orden, a Tea Partier from Utah, told POLITICO. “Isn’t 36 years enough? He truly hasn’t been a proponent of liberty.”

About 20 Utah residents, including Van Orden, staged a protest in front of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) headquarters on Monday, the article reported. The protest was organized by FreedomWorks, a Tea Party organization, with the goal of getting the NRSC to not support Hatch’s 2012 re-election bid.

The Senator has been attempting to court Tea Partiers, most recently going on Fox News to promote legislation to prevent taxpayer bailouts of foreign countries. However, the activists protesting Monday said Hatch’s long-term record is less demonstrably conservative.

“Tea party activists say the six-term senator’s record is too liberal: He’s voted to raise the debt ceiling; he helped create the State Children’s Health Insurance Program; and he was an original co-sponsor of the immigration reform bill, the DREAM Act,” the POLITICO article read.

However, NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh told POLITICO that the organization “respects (the Tea Party’s) views just as we respect the views of others who are strongly supporting Sen. Hatch’s reelection, including Mark Levin and C. Boyden Gray, who is the co-chairman of the FreedomWorks Foundation board.”

 

Texas Legislature Blinks

The Texas Legislature blinked Monday and passed a watered-down anti-groping bill that gives Transportation Security Administration agents carte blanche to continue groping travelers at Texas airports based on reasonable suspicion.

House Speaker Joe Straus had opposed the original bill that required a “probable cause” reason for the invasive pat-down procedure, dismissing it as a “publicity stunt.” But the fact that he favors this bill indicates just how toothless it is.

The Texas House had been scheduled to vote on the original version on June 24, but not enough representatives bothered to show up for the vote to constitute a quorum. In other words, Texas, the members of your Legislature, when faced with a choice between tyranny and standing up to a gangster government, tucked their tails and ran.

But even the watered-down version may not become law. The House and Senate must now reconcile their different versions — the House version is even weaker than the Senate’s — and must make it to Governor Rick Perry’s desk today.

Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston), the chief sponsor of the bill, acknowledged it will be a challenge to get a bill to Perry by the deadline, according to a report in the Star-Telegram.

Perry has been lukewarm to the legislation at best. But Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has worked diligently with Straus to either kill the bill or remove its teeth.

Dewhurst will be trolling for votes soon as he runs for higher office, most likely for retiring Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s seat. Texans need to remember that Dewhurst sided with the Federal government against freedom.

And anyone seriously considering supporting Perry for President needs to remember his silence on the anti-groping legislation.

Some Farmers Use Agritourism To Improve Self-Sufficiency

The agritourism industry is a way to improve self-sufficiency.With the economy continuing to struggle, Americans have been looking for additional ways to supplement their income. Some of those with farms have been turning to agritourism to give themselves a boost.

According to The New York Times, many farmers have been opening up their properties to tourists in order to protect their incomes and increase their self-sufficiency.

Jim Maguire operates a small dairy farm in California. He recently started a bed-and-breakfast, commonly known as a farm stay, on his property.

“The whole idea is to get the farm in a productive state so that it carries itself, so that it pays its own way,” Maguire told the news source. “The farm stay is an important economic portion of that.”

According to Maguire, the income from the two rooms he rents out is enough to pay for all of the feed for his animals.

Bed-and-breakfasts aren’t the only way that farmers have tapped into the agritourism industry, The Times reports. Many operate corn mazes and other attractions like petting zoos to help make themselves more self-sufficient.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, in 2007 agritourism brought in an average of $24,300 for each household involved in the industry.

More Physicians Refusing To Accept Patients Even With Health Insurance

The doctor won’t see you now: Doctors are so unhappy with private health insurers that an increasing number of them won’t accept new patients, even if they have health insurance. As a result, the healthcare reform law may not work as advertised. Although the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 means millions more people will have health insurance, recent research suggests that these newly insured people may still be unable to access healthcare.

A new study reported in the June 27th issue of Archives of Internal Medicine shows that, since 2005, doctors have been accepting fewer patients with health insurance. Dr. Tara Bishop, assistant professor of public health at Weill Cornell Medical College and lead author of the study, said the results suggest insured patients could face new obstacles to receiving medical attention, and overall access to healthcare could actually diminish.

“Given the medical profession’s widely reported dissatisfaction with Medicare, we expected to find hard evidence that Medicare patients were being turned away,” Bishop said. “Instead, we saw only a modest decline in doctors’ acceptance of patients on Medicare. The survey data showed a more significant decline in their acceptance of patients with private insurance.”

The study revealed that doctors’ acceptance of patients with private insurance declined from 93.3 percent in 2005 to 87.8 percent in 2008.

“At a moment when the country is poised to achieve near-universal coverage, patients’ access to care could be a casualty of the collision between the medical profession and the insurance industry,” Bishop said.

Group Challenges NYC Handgun Fee

A group is contesting a handgun fee in New York City.A brief was recently filed by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) asking for a summary judgment to strike down a fee for owning a handgun in New York City.

The organization says that the $340 fee the city requires for a handgun license is “inherently prohibitive.”

“The recurring $340 fee is plainly exclusionary and prohibitive because it far exceeds the comparable license fees charged by all other New York localities — and for that matter, by all other U.S. jurisdictions,” the legal brief reads. “A New York City resident who seeks to exercise his or her right to keep and bear arms by keeping a handgun at home must pay a total of $434.25 to obtain a license, which is equivalent to over 60 hours of work at the $7.25 minimum wage.”

The SAF has been fighting to preserve citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights in California as well. The group filed an amicus brief in a San Diego County case that challenges certain gun permit rules. According to the SAF, the rules give authorities too much power over who can receive a carry permit.

One Madman’s Legacy

It was on June 28, 1914 that a single act of violence led to one of the greatest bloodbaths the world had ever seen.

The perpetrator was someone you probably never heard of: Gavrilo Princip. He was a Serbian nationalist who, on that day, murdered Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie.

Within a month, World War I started in Europe. Before it was over, the Habsburg dynasty (the reigning power in Europe for six centuries) would be deposed, deficit spending to finance the war would destroy most countries’ currencies and end the gold standard, the income tax was adopted in the United States to pay for the war and the seeds would be planted for the rise of communism in Russia, Nazism in Germany and fascism in Italy.

It’s amazing what one madman’s deed led to, isn’t it?

—Chip Wood

 

Blood In The Streets

The headline above once pertained to bear markets and the pounding investors would take.* Nowadays, real blood is being spilled in Western democratic cities like Vancouver, Canada, and Athens, Greece. With America’s economy stuck in recession and with the dismal and arrogant leadership provided by President Barack Obama and Congress, it is not hard to imagine similar violence in American cities.

Such an idea would have seemed preposterous four years ago. But that was before the financial crisis of 2008. For three years, anger has been building — and not just in places like the Middle East where violence is as much a part of their culture as the Quran.

On June 15, riots broke out in Athens, the birthplace of democracy. On Tuesday, violence erupted again. The outbursts were ignited by further austerity measures ordered by the Greek government.

The free lunch Greek citizens have been getting for decades is being ripped off the table. The country has already gobbled up the first $139 billion European Union-led bailout. Any talks on a second bailout for Greece hinge on a further belt-tightening. The people of Greece, raised on socialist handouts, are in no mood to stay on a diet.

On June 15 and again Tuesday, protestors poured onto the streets throwing rocks at Parliament. Riot police finally quelled the unrest, but more violence is expected.

Last week, Greece was hit by rolling blackouts as workers at the main power utility began 48-hour rolling strikes to protest the company’s privatization, part of austerity plans needed to avoid a national debt default.

Selling off assets in the utility is a step the socialist government in Athens must take in its $71 billion privatization plan, which must be completed by 2015. The Greek people don’t want spending cuts and higher taxes. But the Greek Parliament is staring down the barrel of a gun. If it doesn’t implement changes by the end of the month, the country will not get the last $17 billion of bailout money.

To ease the crisis in Greece, EU finance ministers agreed to raise the amount of money they will provide for countries drowning in debt. The move is a last-ditch attempt to keep Greece’s financial crisis from spreading to Ireland and Portugal.

All of this has international bankers worried. Last week, Canada’s finance minister, Jim Flaherty, warned there is still “a real danger” of contagion from the ongoing debt crises in Europe, including the possibility of some damage to the country’s banking system.

“Canada is not an island — no country, any more, is an island — our economies are clearly interrelated,” Flaherty said at a breakfast appearance in Toronto following emergency discussions with other G7 countries.

It’s All Greek To Me

Flaherty should also worry about Canada’s homegrown rioters.  The same day Athens was burning, so was Vancouver.

On the evening of June 15, the team favored to win Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Vancouver Canucks, lost. The Cup went to the Boston Bruins, who did not cheat their way to the NHL Championship or get help from the referees. They simply were the better team.

Like most sports fans, I am often brokenhearted. At the conclusion of most seasons, I say, “Wait until next year!” But thousands of Vancouver Canuck fans didn’t say that. Instead, they said things like: “Let’s blow up cop cars; let’s beat up bystanders; and let’s throw bricks though windows!” And that is exactly what they did.

More than 100 rioters were arrested by Vancouver police; as many as 1,000 people could face criminal charges. The dragnet will be aided by the audacity of the looters who photographed and videotaped their rampage and then displayed it on social media websites like Facebook.

The physical cost for the few hours of rioting is more than $1 million, but experts say the long-term damage to Vancouver’s tourist industry could be billions of dollars.

As in Athens, the rioters in Vancouver were mostly gangs of youths bent on creating chaos. This begs two questions:

  1. What would happen in a city like Vancouver if the fledgling economic recovery collapses and the citizens face hardship?
  2. What are the chances this kind of violence will erupt in the United States?

On FoxNews.com, Bill O’Reilly wrote: “The question is: Could this kind of thing happen in America? And the answer is yes. About half the population here now believes income redistribution is the right thing to do. We’re setting the table for violence in this country. Once people start depending on the government for their livelihood, for essentials, and then those essentials are taken away, you’re going to have violence. Also, the more loons there are, the more potential for violence there is. Those anarchists want to burn down everything.

“So we can watch this stuff in Vancouver and Greece, but we shouldn’t think it can’t happen here. The pinheads in America are mounting.”

Before you dismiss O’Reilly as a fearmongering right-wing extremist, it is worth noting that someone on the far left is also frightened of chaos coming to America. Democratic strategist James Carville spoke out about civil unrest that might spring from a still-sick U.S. economy on Don Imus’ syndicated radio show, Imus in the Morning.

“(The recession) is a terrible thing that has happened to people’s lives… If 54,000 (new) jobs is the new norm – this is going to be very, very tough. Some people say it just might be one more thing. We don’t know.”

Carville added that the consequences of America’s continuing financial crisis will not be limited to politics, and he warned of civil unrest because of the bleak economic situation.

“People, you know, if it continues, we’re going to start to see civil unrest in this country. I hate to say that, but I think it’s eminently possible.”

Carville and O’Reilly have agreed on something. If you don’t believe in the possibility, you would have to be naïve. Economic collapse almost always leads to civil strife. What the Vancouver riots demonstrated is that citizens today are spoiled and think they are entitled to whatever they expect.

I have a feeling the world’s staggering economic recovery is about to fall over dead. And not just for Greece. When that occurs, punks like those who rioted in Vancouver will have a lot more to be upset about than the fact their hockey team didn’t win.

Action to take: Take precautions for you and your family should there be violence in and around your neighborhood. Store extra food and water and have your home well secured. Also take whatever defensive measures you feel are prudent. Secure cash on hand and safely inside your home as well as physical gold and silver.

Yours in good times and bad,

–John Myers
Editor, Myers’ Energy & Gold Report

*The book, Blood in the Streets: Investment Profits in a World Gone Mad was written in 1987 by James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg. It remains an excellent read. You can purchase it at Amazon.com.

Pawlenty Gives Hawkish Speech On Foreign Relations

On Tuesday, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty gave a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. In it, the 2012 Presidential candidate expressed his concerns about President Barack Obama’s Middle East policies.

“I want to speak plainly this morning about the opportunities and the dangers we face today in the Middle East. The revolutions now roiling that region offer the promise of a more democratic, more open, and a more prosperous Arab world,” Pawlenty said. “But President Obama has failed to formulate and carry out an effective and coherent strategy in response to these events. He has been timid, slow, and too often without a clear understanding of our interests or a clear commitment to our principles.”

Pawlenty went on to criticize Obama’s and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s reactions to the so-called “Arab Spring” more specifically.

“Instead of promoting democracy – whose fruit we see now ripening across the region – he adopted a murky policy he called ‘engagement,’” Pawlenty said. “The leader of the United States should never leave those willing to sacrifice their lives in the cause of freedom wondering where America stands. As President, I will not. We need a president who fully understands that America never ‘leads from behind.’”

Pawlenty also criticized the more isolationist members of the Republican Party: “What is wrong, is for the Republican Party to shrink from the challenges of American leadership in the world.  History repeatedly warns us that in the long run, weakness in foreign policy costs us and our children much more than we’ll save in a budget line item.

“America already has one political party devoted to decline, retrenchment, and withdrawal.  It does not need a second one.”