Hotel Replaced Bibles With 'Fifty Shades'

CROSTHWAITE, England, (UPI) — The owner of a hotel in Britain said he replaced the room Bibles with copies of “Fifty Shades of Grey” to reflect the modern secular society.

Jonathan Denby, owner of the Damson Dene Hotel in Crosthwaite, England, said he decided to replace the Bibles with copies of E.L. James’ erotic novel because he decided the Bibles were “wholly inappropriate” for bedrooms in a secular society, NBC News reported Wednesday.

“I was thinking originally of putting in a book by Ayn Rand — ‘Atlas Shrugged’ was my first thought,” Denby said. “(But) because everybody is reading ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ we thought it would be a hospitable thing to do, to have this available for our guests, especially if some of them were a little bit shy about buying it because of its reputation.”

The Rev. Michael Woodcock, who oversees services at St. Mary’s Parish Church, told The Westmoreland Gazette he was dismayed by the hotelier’s decision.

“It is a great shame that Bibles have been removed from rooms and very inappropriate to have been replaced by an explicit erotic novel,” he said. “The Bible remains a source of comfort and inspiration that many people do find helpful.”

33,000 U.S. Troops To Leave Afghanistan

HEMLAND, Afghanistan, (UPI) — The Taliban’s presence in southwestern Afghanistan has weakened, allowing coalition forces to turn over security to Afghans, U.S. military officials said.

“It will be a rolling transition to more training and advising and assisting and less of the counterinsurgency operations,” said Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps. “The Afghan security forces will be in the lead and we’ll be in support.”

President Barack Obama ordered a surge of 33,000 troops to the area more than two years ago to reverse the Taliban’s gains in the area. The president now wants most combat forces out of the country by the end of 2014, with 23,000 troops removed by September. That leaves 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, USA Today reported Thursday.

Marine Col. John Shafer, commander of Regional Combat Team 6 in Helmand, said Taliban fighters have been weakened and forced to the fringes of the region due to a boost in Afghan security forces.

“The insurgency cannot generate anything that can threaten the Afghan security forces at this time,” Shafer said. “Another couple punches, I think they’re going to go down,” he said of the Taliban.

Obama: 'A Lot Of Gun Owners' OK On Limits

NEW ORLEANS, (UPI) — U.S. President Barack Obama said Wednesday “a lot of gun owners would agree that AK47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals.”

Speaking in New Orleans, the president told the National Urban League he would “leave no stone unturned” in the search for ways to reduce violence. The address came as he wrapped up a four-day cross-country trip that included a stop in Aurora, Colo., where are least 12 people were killed and 58 were wounded in a massacre at a movie theater Friday morning.

“I, like most Americans, believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms,” he said. “I think we recognize the traditions of gun ownership passed on from generation to generation, that hunting and shooting are part of a cherished national heritage.

“But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK47s belong in the hands of soldiers not in the hands of criminals, that they belong on the battlefield of war not on the streets of our cities,” the president said.

Obama listed locations were previous massacres have been carried out — Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Tucson — and told his audience the death toll in Aurora approximates the number of young people killed every day and a half in U.S. violence.

“For every Columbine or Virginia Tech, there are dozens gunned down on the streets of Chicago and Atlanta, and here in New Orleans,” he said. “For every Tucson or Aurora, there is daily heartbreak over young Americans shot in Milwaukee or Cleveland.

“And when there’s extraordinary heartbreak and tragedy like the one we saw there’s always an outcry immediately after for action,” Obama said. “There’s talk of new reforms and there’s talk of new legislation. And too often those efforts are defeated by politics and by lobbying and eventually by the pull of our collective attention elsewhere.”

The president said he took executive action following the massacre in Tucson at a campaign event for former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., to make background checks for gun purchases “more thorough and more complete.”

The White House had billed the National Urban League Speech as an occasion on which the president would announce a White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans. He told his audience the initiative would promote higher achievement among minority students and help prepare them better for higher education and careers.

Holmes May Have Mailed Plans To Doctor

DENVER, (UPI) — Theater shooting suspect James Eagan Holmes may have sent a notebook to a Colorado psychiatrist detailing his plans for the massacre, FoxNews.com reported.

The information was attributed to unnamed law enforcement sources.

FoxNews.com said the package, sent to a University of Colorado psychiatrist, went unopened until Monday.

“There were drawings of what he was going to do in it — drawings and illustrations of the massacre,” FoxNews.com reported Wednesday.

The Denver Post said a law enforcement source confirmed Holmes mailed a notebook to a psychiatrist but the source did not know what it contained, the newspaper said.

FoxNews.com said investigators found a package with Holmes’ return address on it that had been sent to a professor who also treats patients in the university’s outpatient facility. The package had been in the mailroom since July 12.

“Among the images shown in the spiral-bound notebook’s pages were gun-wielding stick figures blowing away other stick figures,” FoxNews.com said.

Twelve people were killed and 58 others were wounded when Holmes, 24, allegedly opened fire in an Aurora, Colo., theater last week.

Presidential Debate Dates Set

WASHINGTON, (UPI) — The first of three U.S. presidential debates is set for Denver on Oct. 3, and will focus on domestic issues, the Commission on Presidential Debates said.

The commission announced the formats of this fall’s presidential and vice presidential debates Wednesday. Each debate will last 90 minutes.

The first debate will have six 15-minute segments with questions selected by the moderator, CBS News reported. Each candidate will get two minutes to respond. The remainder of each segment will be a discussion of a specific issue.

The second debate is set for Oct. 16 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., the commission’s Web site said. CBS said it’s scheduled to be a town meeting-style format. Undecided voters, selected by the Gallup Organization, will get to ask the candidates questions.

The third and final presidential debate is set for Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., the Web site said. CBS reported the debate will be on foreign policy and the format will be the same as the domestic policy debate.

The vice presidential debate on both domestic and foreign topics is set for Oct. 11 at Centre College in Danville, Ky.

Debate moderators are set to be announced by the commission in August, CBS said.

The Web site said “candidates must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning a majority vote in the Electoral College, and have a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations’ most recent publicly reported results at the time of the determination.”

President Obama and presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appear to be the only two candidates who qualify.

House Passes Bill To Audit Federal Reserve

WASHINGTON, (UPI) — The U.S. House Wednesday approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, that would require an audit of the Federal Reserve.

Staunch Tea Partiers, Republicans and Democrats came together to approve the bill by a vote of 327-98, boosting the profile of Paul, a perennial presidential candidate with largely libertarian views, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The bill would remove existing barriers to audits of the Fed, opening the books on transactions with foreign central banks and open-market operations and requiring a report from the comptroller general, the newspaper said.

However, the lopsided vote, brought on by lawmakers’ concerns that Wall Street isn’t feeling the effects of the recent recession as much as the average taxpayer, doesn’t mean the Senate will take up action any time soon, the Times said.

“Congressional review of the Fed’s monetary policy decisions would be a ‘nightmarish scenario,’ especially judging by the track record of this Congress when it comes to governing effectively,” said House Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md. “This bill increases the likelihood that the Fed will make decisions based on political rather than economic considerations, and that is not a recipe for sound monetary policy.”

Eighty-nine Democrats voted for the bill despite warnings from party leaders including Rep. Barney Frank, ranking member on the Financial Services Committee, who said the measure would destabilize the economy.

Paul for decades has blamed inflation on the Fed’s ability to control the country’s money supply.

“I don’t know how anybody could be against transparency and they want secrecy, especially when that secrecy is to protect individuals who deal in trillions of dollars — and these trillions of dollars bail out all the wealthy, rich people, the banks and the big corporations,” Paul said Tuesday.

“To say that we should have secrecy and say that it’s political to have transparency? Well it’s very political when you have a Federal Reserve that can bail out one company and not another company. That’s pretty political.”

Census: More Severely Disabled In U.S.

WASHINGTON, (UPI) — The number of severely disabled people in the United States appears to be increasing, the Census Bureau said in a report released Wednesday.

In 2010, 56.7 million people, 19 percent of the total population, had a disability, demographers said. That was 2.2 million more than in 2005, with the percentage of the population considered disabled statistically the same.

But the number and percentage of people with severe disabilities and of those requiring assistance for ordinary tasks was up, possibly because of the increase in the number of elderly residents in the United States, the report said. About 15 million people have difficulty with at least one activity of daily living like eating, preparing food or answering the telephone, and 12 million need assistance to get through the day.

“Americans with Disabilities: 2010″ was the first report on the subject the Census Bureau has done since 2005.

The report’s release was timed to mark the 22nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The data came from the Survey of Income and Program Participation.

The bureau said that only 41 percent of those aged 21 to 64 with a disability were employed, compared to 79 percent with no disability. The disabled were also more likely to be poor, with 10.8 percent of those 15 to 64 with severe disability reporting persistent poverty compared to 4.9 percent with lesser disabilities and 3.8 percent with no disability.

The average monthly income of those 21 to 64 with a disability was $1,961, while it was $2,724 for those in the same group with no disability.

The Ride Of A Lifetime

You’ll have to pardon my digression. Far more pressing concerns dominate our national consciousness, as well they should. Tragedy, war and economic chaos are indeed worthy of most of the coverage they receive in the headlines. And I will indubitably rejoin the parade of political punditry posthaste. Nonetheless, something grabbed my attention Tuesday morning; and while it might pale in apparent importance when compared the rest of the events of that and every other day recently, it meant something to me.

Sally Ride passed away Monday at the relatively young age of 61. Ride, who exemplified American exceptionalism as much as anyone ever did, was a rare breed even among her spectacularly intelligent peers in the world of astrophysicists. Yes, she was a rocket scientist; but she was hardly the lab coat-wearing, bespectacled wallflower of cliché. Ride wasn’t merely a rocket scientist; Ride was a rocket driver.

In June of 1983, Ride boarded the Space Shuttle Challenger to become the first American woman in space. She wasn’t the first of her gender to visit the heavens; two Russian women had already made the trip. But she was the first woman to visit space about whom I knew more than her name. At the time of her mission, I was a 12-year-old kid who had abandoned the standard childhood dreams of action-adventure-style spacefaring in favor of more reasonable stuff — like playing center for the New York Rangers. Ride’s beyond-stratospheric jaunt reignited my imagination. I didn’t particularly care about her gender; I just happened to be teetering on the edge of adolescent apathy at the exact moment Americans rediscovered a fascination with space flight, and I went along for the ride.

Even a preteen lad who was starting to notice girls were far less awful than he had previously thought was swept up in space fever. “Star Wars” was finishing up the part of the trilogy that should have been made. “ET” had just phoned home. The Voyager probes had delivered images of Jupiter and Saturn that far surpassed anything we had imagined. And then, Ride and her four fellow astronauts on STS-7 reminded me that science was even cooler than science fiction. Six months after Ride’s ride, a serious miscalculation on my part regarding the speed at which a Flexible Flyer becomes unstable while attempting to negotiate a very large stand of pine trees put an end to any chance I would ever have to slip “the surly bonds of earth” or even enjoy the privilege of serving in the military. I should note that the accident didn’t really change my potential astronaut status. The people who make it aboard American spacecraft are exceedingly rare. Not only do they have to be physically capable of withstanding the extraordinary demands of spaceflight, but they have to be mentally capable of being useful during such. They’re essentially Olympic athletes with genius-level IQs. Think: the star quarterback with the mind of the chairman of the physics department.

We live in an era in which a man who murders a crowd of people in a Colorado movie theater receives love notes online, and that makes bigger news than the passing of one of America’s greatest modern pioneers. More people can identify the real housewives of wherever than can name Americans who have flown into space.

Don’t mistake my remarks for some maudlin lament or “we need better role models” sermon. Nor am I offering one of those weirdly sentimental eulogies that some folks employ to connect themselves to someone noteworthy. Ride wasn’t really a great role model. She was an enormously uncommon human being, even among uncommon human beings. Only a tiny percentage of the rest of us could ever hope to equal a portion of her life’s work. In the days since her passing, details have crept out about her life that some people might find objectionable, like her 2008 endorsement of Barack Obama for President. But I say forget about all of that. Ride was nothing short of amazing. In an era in which American exceptionalism is viewed as either anachronistic or even shameful, she was neither.

–Ben Crystal

Why Are Obama, Democrats Economically Illiterate?

 

Welcome to Personal Liberty. I’m Wayne Allyn Root. My commentary today is about the economic ignorance gap between conservatives, capitalists and the dunces on the left.

Good old John Edwards was actually right about one thing. He said there were two Americas. Under Obama, the John Edwards fantasy has come true. The first America is represented by those who work in the government sector (who almost always support Obama and vote Democrat) and who think the private sector is doing just fine. The second America is represented by private-sector entrepreneurs, small-business owners and job creators (who almost always support conservative candidates and causes) who know the terrible truth: The economy is in horrible shape. The difference is due to economic ignorance. To save America, we must ignore those in the government sector and start listening to those in the private sector who are living at “ground zero.” They are the experts. They have “boots on the ground.” They understand firsthand what Obama’s policies have created: complete economic collapse.

The dirty secret rarely discussed or explained by the media is this gap between what Americans on the right think of the economy versus what those on the left think. See the polls. Democrats think the economy is in recovery with a bright future. Republicans think the economy is in horrible shape and worsening. How could two groups look at the same economy and see things so differently? Why don’t the media discuss this disparity? The simple truth is the media don’t like the answer.

The truth is Democrats who so want to support their President are either delusional or, more likely, ignorant of basic economics. Let’s call them economically illiterate. Quite frankly, it’s hard to blame them. Most Democrats I know work for big government, a big union, a big corporation or the media. They don’t sell anything. They don’t own a business or work on commission. They are paid for just showing up, never based on performance or profits. They don’t know about budgets, profits or losses. They get a safe paycheck every week and have a pretty much guaranteed job for life and a pension when they retire. They are nice people, but they don’t have a clue about what’s really going on, because they don’t sell things on Main Street. Nor do they have any of their own money at risk. Nor do they notice or care if their employer (the government) bleeds billions of dollars in losses. They can see only as far as their own weekly paycheck.

Most Democrats simply punch a clock and get paid week in and week out — the same as last year and five years ago and 10 years ago. As a matter of fact, they get automatic raises every year if they work for government. As long as they still have their job (which 99 percent of government employees do), their lives are pretty much untouched by the economic tragedy around us. No one is saying they are bad people. They aren’t. But they sure aren’t experts on how you create jobs or turn around an economy.

The private sector is a completely different story. Most of my friends who are Republican, conservative or Libertarian either work for themselves or get paid based on commission or performance (real estate brokers, stockbrokers, insurance brokers, mortgage brokers). They all know that the United States is in total economic collapse and headed for a Greece-like disaster. They know because their incomes are down by 20 percent, 30 percent, 50 percent and more. The private sector is devastated from coast to coast. We are all shell-shocked. We’ve never seen anything like this in our lifetimes.

So there you have it. The economic ignorance gap explained.

When you want to fix a clogged drain, you don’t call an economist; you call a plumber. When you want to solve a murder, call a police detective. Put out a fire? Call a fireman. You want to learn math? Call a teacher. You want bread? Call a baker. Now, I can’t do any of those things. So calling me would be a big mistake. That’s why we shouldn’t listen to plumbers or bakers or teachers or government employees (even the ones who are heroes) when we want to save our economy or create jobs. You call a job creator. Call a businessman or businesswoman. But don’t call Obama, a community organizer. Don’t call any Democratic politician. You’ll get a Great Depression. Look around.

The people who live in a government world have the same basic income year after year. They know zero about economics or the risks of using their own money to run a business on a budget (or go broke and lose everything). In their world, government takes care of you, hands you a check, protects your job for life and allows you to retire early on a $100,000 pension. Their economy is just fine. They are blissfully ignorant and protected from the harsh reality of the real world. Who protects them? Who is their guardian against the realities and harshness of life in the real world? Obama and Democratic politicians like him. No wonder they vote for Obama, idolize him and ignore reality to protect him. Their jobs and incomes depend on his benevolence and bribery.

The same goes for members of the media. New York Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman is Exhibit A. Paul Krugman — like most government employees — thinks the answer to the bankruptcy of America due to binge spending by government, is more binge spending by government. They give you Nobel Prizes for that? What’s the category: delusion? Like Krugman, the economic knowledge of Obama’s supporters comes from books. Unfortunately, the books were written by Karl Marx.

Then there’s the rest of us, struggling in Obama’s America. Those of us in the private sector, who risk our own money, run our own businesses or are paid based on performance are being decimated, watching as our life’s work is melting away. Forget about paying ourselves; we’re struggling to keep our doors open, make payroll and, now, pay for Obamacare. It’s that bad. Oh, did I forget to mention that we are being hounded and harassed by the IRS like never before in history. How can anyone run a business and create jobs in an environment like this?

How about some examples? A Wisconsin flag seller just filed for bankruptcy. In Obama’s economy a patriot can’t make a living selling America flags. Next we’ll hear that Bible sellers are going out of business, too. The ESPN Zone restaurant chain went out of business. Under Obama, you can’t make a living anymore selling cheap food and overpriced beer.

Even Vegas is in trouble. The only casinos making money are those whose revenues are mostly from Macao. Their Vegas operations are dying, but they make so much money in China it doesn’t matter anymore.

And then there’s the NFL. The richest sport in the world can’t fill stadium seats anymore. Watch any sports event nowadays, and you’ll see wide swaths of empty seats. You can’t sell anything in Obama’s America — not even tickets to popular sports events.

Think these are isolated examples? Last week we heard that U.S. manufacturing activity plummeted to the lowest level in 3 years. Then, a few days ago, we got another horrendous jobs report with only 80,000 jobs created in the whole country. This all proves what I’ve been saying for 3 1/2 years: Obama’s toxic ideas have produced a slow-motion economic collapse. Just like in Europe, add together a toxic stew of big taxes, big spending, demonization of business owners, too many government rules and regulations, union intimidation, IRS intimidation, billions wasted on green energy, billions more on high speed rail that no one wants to ride and lawyers trying to sue us all out of business (if the unions, government regulations and IRS haven’t already succeeded), and you get economic disaster. It’s all happening right now, right in front of our eyes. It’s pretty simple to connect the dots.

So the economic ignorance gap tells it all. Anyone who makes a living by selling something, anything at all, is in deep trouble. They see an ever worsening disaster under Obama — up close and personal. They fear for the survival of their businesses and they are terrified for the future of America. These are the people we ought to be listening to. The private sector is in distress. We see and feel this Obama Great Depression deepening.

The Democrats who tell pollsters “everything is fine” may be nice people, but they are economically ignorant. Dunces. Put them in the corner with a dunce hat. Worse, their gravy train is based on stealing money from Peter (taxpayers) to pay Paul (themselves). So they aren’t just ignorant; they are biased. They have a rooting interest for an economy based on spending more so their gravy train continues. No wonder they think things are just fine.

But soon, when government announces there is no money to keep paying for 21 million government employees or the bloated pensions of millions of retired government employees, their story will change radically.

Don’t believe me? Just ask a government employee in Greece what the end feels like. Obama’s supporters will soon get a dose of economic reality.

I’m Wayne Allyn Root for PersonalLiberty.com. See you next week, same time, same place. God bless.

–Wayne Allyn Root

Paul’s Fed Audit Bill Passes House

Ron Paul’s revolutionary bill to audit the Federal Reserve passed the House of Representatives overwhelmingly by a vote of 327-98 on Wednesday afternoon.

Paul’s bill received backing from all House Republicans but one (Representative Bob Turner of New York), as well as support from 89 Congressional Democrats.

Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) said of the bill: “The Fed creates trillions of dollars out of nothing and gives it to banks. Congress is in the dark. The Fed sets the stage for the subprime meltdown. Congress is in the dark. The Fed takes a dive on LIBOR. Congress is in the dark. The Fed doesn’t tell regulators what is going on. Congress is in the dark.”

He also noted that the vote occurred the same day The Washington Post published a damning story about how the New York Fed “did not communicate in key meetings with top regulators that British bank Barclays had admitted to Fed staffers that it was rigging LIBOR,” the index that sets interest rates worldwide.

Despite the victory, a Senior Senate Democratic aide said the bill isn’t likely to go anywhere in that chamber in the near future, according to the Huffington Post.

 

Los Angeles Bans Marijuana Dispensaries

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles took a hit on Tuesday. The city council approved a measure that will ban dispensaries throughout the city. The ban was passed unanimously with a 14-0 vote.

There are 762 dispensaries operating in the city. Once Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signs the law, each dispensary will be expected to shut down immediately.

The city believes that the dispensaries have caused an increase in crime. Police Chief Charlie Beck said that most dispensaries are “for-profit businesses engaged in the sale of recreational marijuana to healthy young adults.”

But those who claim to use marijuana for medical purposes think the real crime is the banning of dispensaries.

“I have anorexia. I have a back injury. I have fibromyalgia. I have other things that are wrong with me,” said one woman at the hearing. “The only thing that helps is medical marijuana.”

After the vote was announced, police were called in to manage the crowd of medical marijuana supporters.

Legality issues concerning marijuana have been hazy since an initiative was passed in California in 1996 legalizing medical marijuana. The sale of marijuana remains illegal under Federal law.

Conspiracy Theories Aren’t Always False, Just Unpopular

In the wake of the tragic events that occurred in Aurora, Colo., last week, the familiar media trend of mindless chatter, finger-pointing and political polarization has emerged. Americans following the case continue to get a slow trickle of facts about the alleged shooter, James Holmes, and his past, along with continual analysis about what his mindset may have been from criminology and psychology experts.

There are people focusing on the smaller, more sociably acceptable reasoning as to why Holmes is alleged to have carried out the horrific slaughter.

The narrative plays something like: Holmes was a loner whose mother said had a socially reclusive history. Potentially a lonely sex fiend, the man frequented prostitutes in his locale. A lifetime “nerd,” he had faced considerable stress of late as his grades failed in his Ph.D. studies and he removed himself from the program. Holmes spent much of his time locked in his apartment — which he faced losing because he was no longer a student — with  lights low playing video games and frequenting online message boards and sex sites. His neighbors didn’t know very much about him.

His online footprint is miniscule, his criminal record nonexistent; there was “no reason for him to be on anyone’s radar.” As it continues, the narrative will likely paint a portrait of a mentally disturbed man who became infatuated by the infamy of his favorite evil movie characters, driven to leave his own nasty mark on society by isolation, mental illness and sadism nurtured by what he deems societal failure to accept him and others like him.

Indeed, the media are already reporting on how the man behaves in his jail cell as he is “trying very hard to act crazy.” He refuses to cooperate with investigators, according to some accounts.

The political consequences of Holmes’ alleged actions are yet to be known, but the rhetoric from lawmakers and opinion shapers has already heated up. It began with media attempting to unsuccessfully link Holmes to political movements like the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, and continued successfully into a conversation about gun rights and Internet privacy.

At a news conference on Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department is complicit in arming Mexican drug cartels, said that the government must now think about the way in which the shooter acquired his AR-15, two Glock handguns, Remington shotgun, body armor and thousands of rounds.

“We have tried to come up with a better system with our instant background checks so that we have the ability to make sure that people who have emotional problems, people who have felony records, other people cannot get access to these kinds of weapons,” Holder said.

New York Nanny Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested that police officers throughout the country should go on strike until the 2nd Amendment is suspended.

Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) — whose husband was killed in a shooting in 1993 — offered with regard to high-capacity magazines, “It befuddles me to think those things should be sold to the general public.”

The fact that Holmes used the Internet to purchase some of the supplies he allegedly used to carry out his crime has also led some lawmakers to suggest that more online spying by government agencies would catch people like him before they act.

There are factions that stand to reap political rewards if Americans accept the mainstream story and subsequent national conversation surrounding the events in Aurora. And for this reason, a small minority of Americans have risked being deemed conspiracy theorists by their peers because they are considering alternatives to the “official” story of events.

Gun control is an issue of perpetual debate in the United States. The most recent threat to the 2nd Amendment has come in the form of a U.N. small arms treaty drafted to fight “terror” and rebellion by taking guns out of the hands of “non-state actors” — read, private citizens — of signing countries. The treaty has been met with support by some U.S. officials, including the President, but has also received harsh criticism from U.S. gun owners and the National Rifle Association. While, if enacted, the treaty would not instantly ban firearms in the United States, it would create difficulties for gun owners such as making it more difficult for hunters and sportsmen to travel internationally, possibly creating a gun registration in the United States and even banning certain guns. The treaty and NRA’s fierce opposition were making headlines in the days leading up to the Aurora events.

And remember how Holmes wasn’t on “anyone’s radar?” For months, the debate about online privacy from government spying has raged as Congress offers up one after another acronym-laden bill to give the Federal government unchecked access to online information. Each one has been met with fierce public opposition. But now, Americans are offered this from a Wall Street Journal columnist:

The Colorado shooter Mr. Holmes dropped out of school via email. He tried to join a shooting range with phone calls and emails going back and forth. He bought weapons and bomb-making equipment. He placed orders at various websites for a large quantity of ammunition. Aside from privacy considerations, is there anything in principle to stop government computers, assuming they have access to the data, from algorithmically detecting the patterns of a mass shooting in the planning stages?

The columnist goes on to suggest that now is the perfect time for Americans to willingly relinquish any expectation of protection under the 4th Amendment, to protect the country from others like Holmes.

Mainstream media attacked Natural News and other alternative news sites for simply raising questions about the timing of Holmes’ alleged actions and the erratic nature of his behavior.

In the Natural News piece, the author posits that Holmes’ attack was a false flag, pointing out:

  • Holmes could have been hand selected by silent actors to carry out his actions because of his educational involvement in mind-altering neuroscience.
  • He was equipped with tactical knowledge and bomb-making expertise and supplies that are difficult to obtain and use correctly. He is alleged to have funded his arsenal in part with the help of a Federal education grant of $26,000, the details of which are sketchy.
  • He has no background and information about his past is sparse at best.

Of course, mainstream thinkers lambast anyone who would dare to suggest that such a tragedy would be foisted upon the American public by shady operatives of some clandestine force for political manipulation. This is the United States; our government is a benevolent one with only the best interests of all involved in mind, right?

History tells a different story.

The CIA has a long and well-documented relationship with experimentation in mind control for the purpose of developing the use of unsuspecting people as weapons. From the agency’s creation in 1947 until Congressional scrutiny befell the agency in 1976 with the help of Senator Frank Church, its experiments went unnoticed.

The Church hearings brought to light the agency’s involvement in years of psychological manipulation of test subjects using drugs, hypnosis and barbaric medical procedures. It was discovered that the CIA had developed the ability to control the minds of those it had manipulated using signals, often making them carry out sexual or deviant acts that would otherwise be out of character.

You can read more about some of the CIA mind-control initiatives in declassified documents that have been compiled by a global team of researchers and intelligence experts here.

It is also no secret that Federal agencies stage incidents on a regular basis. In recent years, to perpetuate the threat of terror, the FBI has coerced individuals into going along with outlandish terror plots and provided weapons and supplies to them. It has been estimated that 14 of the 22 major terror attack threats on American soil since 9/11 were actually FBI sting operations.

With such past evidence, it is a danger to cast aside any alternate explanation of Holmes’ actions as too outlandish, fearmongering or conspiracy. And such an easily politicized tragedy should — and would in a responsible society — be vetted for means, motive and opportunity from a variety of perspectives.

The U.N.’s Gun Grab

In October 2009, while the Barack Obama Justice Department was watching guns purchased from U.S. border gun stores “walk” into Mexico straight into the hands of narcoterrorists, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said:

Conventional arms transfers are a crucial national security concern for the United States, and we have always supported effective action to control the international transfer of arms.

The United States is prepared to work hard for a strong international standard in this area by seizing the opportunity presented by the Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty at the United Nations. As long as that Conference operates under the rule of consensus decision-making needed to ensure that all countries can be held to standards that will actually improve the global situation by denying arms to those who would abuse them, the United States will actively support the negotiations. Consensus is needed to ensure the widest possible support for the Treaty and to avoid loopholes in the Treaty that can be exploited by those wishing to export arms irresponsibly.

On a national basis, the United States has in place an extensive and rigorous system of controls that most agree is the “gold standard” of export controls for arms transfers. On a bilateral basis, the United States regularly engages other states to raise their standards and to prohibit the transfer or transshipment of capabilities to rogue states, terrorist groups, and groups seeking to unsettle regions.

You may recall that before the scandal known as Operation Fast and Furious broke, Attorney General Eric Holder was advocating for tougher gun laws, blaming Americans for the flow of weapons to Mexico. Now, the Obama Administration and Clinton are “committed to actively pursuing a strong and robust treaty” — I suppose to save them from themselves.

Their commitment, however, doesn’t extend to stopping any sales that advance the Adminstration’s agenda — like arming terrorists in Syria trying to overthrow the Syrian regime.

Make no mistake: The Obama Administration is lying to you about its intentions regarding guns. And the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty being negotiated in New York this week is not about making the world a less violent place. It’s about disarming law-abiding citizens — Americans in particular — to grease the skids for the elite’s agenda. That’s why the treaty contains provisions that require countries to register all firearms and have in place a means to trace, confiscate, control and destroy them.

The Founding Fathers understood the importance of an armed citizenry. In debating the 2nd Amendment, no one questioned its intent was to maintain an armed populace to defend against a standing army, which Elbridge Gerry called “the bane of liberty.”

Pennsylvania’s proposed amendment read, “That the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and their own state, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them…” [i]

The Obama Administration is taking part in the U.N. negotiations and Obama has indicated he’d sign a treaty that did not interfere with the United States’ ability to import, export or transfer arms in support of national security or foreign policy interests or that covered ammunition and explosives or established an international enforcement body. But he’s getting a lot of pressure from his gun-grabbing constituency to sign the treaty.

If signed, the treaty would have to go to the U.S. Senate, where 58 Senators have signed letters raising concerns with any treaty that covers civilian weapons; the draft treaty says it would apply to “small arms and light weapons.”

Keep a close eye on what comes out of the U.N. this weekend.


[i] The Founding Father’s Guide to the Constitution, Brion McClanahan

Gun Sales Up Following Batman Shooting

The Aurora, Colo., shooting has ratcheted up debates about gun laws. But in the State where the shooting occurred, something else has ratcheted up: gun sales.

Background checks needed to buy a gun legally are up 43 percent after James Holmes’ alleged shooting spree. Prosecutors say that Holmes, the alleged gunman, purchased all his weapons and ammunition legally. In the aftermath of the attack, citizens of Aurora have taken to gun shops to buy their weapons legally as well, to protect themselves against people like Holmes.

Over the weekend, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigations, 2,887 people were approved to buy a gun. Gun shop owners have also reported an increase in sales.

Dick Rutan, owner of Gunners Den, a gun shop in Arvada, Colo., told The Denver Post: “What they’re saying is: They want to have a chance. They want to have the ability to protect themselves and their families if they are in a situation like what happened in the movie theater.”

Jake Meyers, who works at Rocky Mountain Guns and Ammo in Parker, Colo., told The Post: “A lot of it is people saying, ‘I didn’t think I needed a gun, but now I do.’ When it happens in your backyard, people start reassessing — ‘Hey, I go to the movies.’ ”

According to reports, gun sales have also increased in Florida and Oregon.

Two other events in recent history sparked an increase in gun sales: the election of President Barack Obama and the shooting in Arizona that injured Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed six others.

Since the Aurora shooting, media outlets have been flooded with stories about gun control. Rapper-turned-actor Ice-T even got in on the action, defending the right to bear arms.

“The right to bear arms is because that’s the last form of defense against tyranny. … If somebody wants to kill people, they don’t need a gun to do it. … The United States is based on guns,” he said during an interview with Channel 4 London.

India Bans Tourism In Tiger Reserves

NEW DELHI (UPI) — India’s Supreme Court has ordered a ban on tourism in “core zones” of more than 40 of the country’s government-run tiger reserves.

In its ruling, the court warned states failing to put the bans in place and maintain them could face contempt proceedings and fines, the BBC reported.

The court had already imposed fines on six states for not complying with earlier tiger protection directives.

The tiger population has plummeted from an estimated 100,000 tigers in India a century ago, with a 2011 census finding only about 1,700animals living in the wild.

The court’s ruling was applauded by conservationists, who had petitioned for the removal of commercial tourism activities from core or critical tiger habitats in tiger reserves.

Most tiger reserves in India have “core zones” and also have buffer zones, fringe areas that surround tiger reserves up to a distance of six miles.

Officials say that while conservation efforts by the government and wildlife organizations have helped tiger populations increase, poaching and conflicts between the tigers and people living in and on the periphery of the tiger reserves remains a threat.

'Snapshot' Glasses Improve Visual Memory

DURHAM, N.C. (UPI) — Doing a physical activity while wearing eyewear that simulates a strobe-like experience can increase visual short-term memory retention, U.S. scientists say.

Participants in a Duke University study engaged in physical activities, such as playing catch, while wearing eyewear that limited vision to only brief snapshots of the activity.

Compared to participants who played catch without the eyewear, the study found participants who trained with the strobe eyewear gained a boost in visual memory abilities, a university release reported.

“Humans have a memory buffer in their brain that keeps information alive for a certain short-lived period,” Greg Appelbaum, Duke professor of psychiatry, said. “Wearing the strobe eyewear during the physical training seemed to boost the ability to retain information in this buffer.”

The strobe eyewear disrupted vision by only allowing the users to see glimpses of the world, causing them to adjust their visual processing in order to perform normally, researchers said.

This adjustment seemed to produce a lingering benefit, they said, and once participants removed the strobe eyewear there was an observed boost in their visual memory retention that was found to still be active 24 hours later.

“Improving human cognition is an important goal with so many benefits,” Appelbaum said. “Interestingly, our findings demonstrate one way in which visual experience has the capacity to improve cognition.”

 

Drought, Cull Reduce Australian Camel Herd

CANBERRA, Australia (UPI) — Numbers of wild camels in Australia have dropped by a quarter in recent years because of drought and a government-ordered cull, a wildlife survey shows.

Introduced in the 1800s as pack animals, the camel population was estimated at on million a few years ago but has fallen to 750,000, the Australian Feral Camel Management Project said.

The remaining camels now form the world’s biggest wild animal herd, it said.

With few natural predators and vast areas with little human population in which to roam, feral camels have caused significant environmental damage, put pressure on native Australian species by reducing food sources and destroyed habitat, officials said.

In 2010 the Australian government endorsed a control plan, including culling, the BBC reported.

Since then, the camel numbers have been decreasing, officials said.

“Between 2001 and 2008, it was estimated that there could have been as many as a million feral camels in the outback,” Jan Ferguson of the not-for-profit company Ninti One, which manages the AFCMP, said.

“Since then, however, there has been a major drought, the feral camel management program has come into effect and population survey techniques have been improved.”

Camels roam freely across an area of 1.3 million square miles in the states of Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland, as well as the Northern Territory.

Apple Uncages Mountain Lion OS

CUPERTINO, Calif. (UPI) — Apple’s new Mac OS X Mountain Lion brings the company’s desktop and laptop computers closer to the iOS operating system of its iPad and iPhones, experts say.

Mountain Lion, released Wednesday, is the ninth significant upgrade to OS X in 11 years and in its look and feel echoes many features in the OS of Apple’s prized tablet and smartphone, USA Today reported.

Features from the iOS mobile system such as Notification Center, Notes, Reminders, Game Center, Messages, Dictation and AirPlay Mirroring have made their way into Mountain Lion.

Twitter and Facebook integration comes by way of a handy “share” button within apps, allowing users to share photos, videos, Web links and documents.

Apple’s iCloud online storage service is also integrated in Mountain Lion.

The new OS carrying version number 10.8, which Apple says contains more than 200 new features over its predecessor Lion 10.7, is available only as a download from Apple’s App Store, priced at $19.95.

NASA Makes Mars Landing Preparations

PASADENA, Calif. (UPI) — NASA says it has adjusted the orbit of its Mars Odyssey spacecraft to provide a more prompt confirmation of the August landing of the Curiosity rover.

The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft carrying Curiosity can send limited information directly to Earth, but before the landing, Earth will set below the martian horizon from the descending spacecraft’s perspective, ending that direct route of communication, the space agency reported Wednesday.

Re-positioning Odyssey will help to speed up the indirect communication process, scientists said, noting that without the orbital adjustment Odyssey would have arrived over the landing area about 2 minutes after Curiosity’s scheduled landing.

“Information we are receiving indicates the maneuver has completed as planned,” said Mars Odyssey Project Manager Gaylon McSmith of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “Odyssey has been working at Mars longer than any other spacecraft, so it is appropriate that it has a special role in supporting the newest arrival.”

Two other Mars orbiters, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the European Space Agency’s Mars Express, will also receive radio transmissions from the Mars Science Laboratory during its descent but will be recording information for later playback, NASA said.

Only Odyssey can relay the information immediately, the agency said.

Most Obese Kids Have Heart Risk Factor

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — Two-thirds of severely obese children have at least one cardiovascular risk factor, researchers in the Netherlands found.

Dr. Joana Kist-van Holthe of the Department of Public and Occupational Health, at the University Medical Center, Amsterdam, and colleagues conducted a nationwide surveillance study from July 2005 to July 2007.  Pediatricians in the Netherlands were asked to report all new cases of severe obesity in children ages 2-18 to the Dutch Pediatric Surveillance Unit.

Pediatricians were asked to complete a questionnaire for every severely obese child regarding sociodemographic characteristics and cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure, fasting blood glucose and blood lipids.

Eighty-seven percent to 94 percent of the pediatricians completed the surveys for 2005, 2006 and 2007.

The researchers found 500 children with newly diagnosed severe obesity were reported.

The study, published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, found 67 percent had at least one cardiovascular risk factor — 56 percent had high blood pressure, 14 percent has high blood glucose, 0.7 percent had type 2 diabetes and up to 54 percent had low high-density lipoprotein, the “good,” cholesterol.

In addition, 62 percent of severely obese children ages 12 or younger had one or more cardiovascular risk factors, the study said.

Study: Fewer U.S. Teens Having Sex

WASHINGTON (UPI) — The average age — 16 — at which U.S. teens begin having sex hasn’t changed in about 20 years, federal health officials say.

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told AIDS 2012, an international conference in Washington, the proportion of American high school students — ages 14-17 — who have ever had sex fell from 54 percent to 47 percent from 1991 and 2001, then hovered at that level until 2011, USA Today reported. Among blacks, those who said they had sex dropped from 82 percent to 60 percent.

The CDC researchers used data from the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey from 1991 to 2011.

More high-schoolers used birth control, the researchers found. Among all sexually active students, those who said they used a condom the last time they had sex increased from 46 percent to 60 percent, and among black students usage rose from 48 percent to 65 percent, the study said.

Kevin Fenton, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Tuberculosis Prevention, said new infections of human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS, has fallen from a mid-1990s peak to a plateau of about 50,000 a year during the last decade.

It Is Possible To Overeat Healthy Foods

CHICAGO (UPI) — It is possible to overeat healthy foods, such as fruit and vegetables, a U.S. registered dietitian said.

Brooke Schantz, a registered dietitian at the Loyola University Health System near Chicago, said overeating healthy foods is easy to do, but the same rules apply to healthy food as junk food.

“While fruits are nutritious, too much of even a healthy food can lead to weight gain,” Schantz said in a statement. “The key is to remember to control the portion sizes of the foods you consume.”

Weight fluctuates based on a basic concept — energy in versus energy out — so if total caloric intake is higher than the energy you burn off during a day, people gain weight, Schantz said.

“If it is lower, you will lose weight,” Schantz said in a statement. “I have had many patients tell me that they don’t know why they are not losing weight. Then they report that they eat fruit all day long. They are almost always shocked when I advise them to watch the quantity of food they eat even if it is healthy.”

There is one exception — non-starchy vegetables are difficult to overeat unless they are accompanied by calories from sauces, cheeses and butter, Schantz said.

“This is due to the high water and fiber content of these vegetables coupled with the stretching capacity of the stomach,” Schantz said. “But, limit vegetables high in starch, such as peas, corn and potatoes.”

People Eat Less When Food Is 'Segmented'

ITHACA, N.Y. (UPI) — Segmenting food — providing a visual cue to divide up food — results in people eating less of the food offered, U.S. researchers found.

Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab, had two groups of college students — 98 students total — eat tubes of potato chips, some of which contained chips dyed red, while they were watching video clips in class.

The study, scheduled to be published in the journal Health Psychology, found the red chips served as subconscious “stop signs” that curtailed the amount of food consumed.

In the first study, the red chips were interspersed at intervals designating one suggested serving size, or seven chips, or two serving sizes, or 14 chips. In the second study, this was changed to five and 10 chips.

Unaware of why some of the chips were red, the students who were served the segmented tubes ate 50 percent less than their peers.

“People generally eat what is put in front of them if it is palatable,” Wansink said in a statement. “An increasing amount of research suggests that some people use visual indications such as a clean plate or bottom of a bowl to tell them when to stop eating.”