Obama Uncle Seeks Permanent Residency

BOSTON, (UPI) —  Illegal alien Onyango Obama, President Barack Obama’s uncle, agreed to a December court date in Boston as he seeks to obtain permanent U.S. resident status.

A Kenyan national who was ordered deported in 1992, Onyango Obama is pinning his hopes on a federal immigration law that allows permanent U.S. residence for illegal aliens who entered the United States before 1972 and have demonstrated “good moral character,” the Boston Herald said Thursday, noting Obama was arrested for drunken driving in 2011.

The strategy was revealed in a brief hearing in Boston’s immigration court Wednesday before Judge Leonard I. Shapiro, the judge who granted asylum to Zeituni Onyango, Obama’s sister, in 2010.

Obama’s hearing Wednesday was advanced on the judicial calendar, preceding other immigration cases, but Boston immigration attorney Desmond FitzGerald said it was not a case of preferential treatment but of the simplicity of the case.

“It tells us the case has very clear issues that will not likely take a tremendous amount of time to adjudicate. Very likely the judge will be able to render a decision the day he hears the case.”

Obama’s next court date is Dec. 3.

U.S. Faces Fines For Coral Reef Damage

MANILA, (UPI) —  The United States could face fines of about $90 per square foot of damaged coral after a minesweeping vessel became grounded in the Philippines, officials said.

The USS Guardian has been stuck on the Tubbataha Reef, which is part of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in the Sulu Sea since Jan. 17. The reef is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Grace Barber, an administrator with the park’s management office, said the U.S. Navy vessel committed at least three violations when it struck the reef. The minesweeper did not obtain permission to enter the park, it did not pay a fee for entering the park and it obstructed the work of park rangers, she told The New York Times.

“The rangers have a protocol,” Barber said. “They are required to board and inspect every boat that enters the park. When the rangers asked the U.S. warship for permission to board, they were told to call the U.S. embassy.”

Additionally, the United States could be fined $90 per square foot of damage done to the coral reefs. An early estimate said 10,763 square feet of coral had been damaged.

Lt. Cmdr. James Stockman, a U.S. Navy public affairs officer, said the United States has sought permission from the Philippine Coast Guard to scrap the $277 million minesweeper to avoid further damage to the reefs by towing it out.

“The plan is to dismantle the ship into three pieces and remove the sections by crane,” he said.

Governor Wants Pennsylvania Out Of Liquor Business

PITTSBURGH,  (UPI) —  Gov. Tom Corbett Wednesday announced he plans to privatize Pennsylvania’s system of state liquor stores, using the proceeds for public schools.

Corbett said selling off the licenses would bring in $1 billion, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. But his plan must pass the Legislature, which has rejected earlier privatization efforts.

“The selling of alcohol is not a core responsibility of government, but education is,” the Republican governor told reporters at a news conference in Pittsburgh. “I believe it’s time to give Pennsylvanians what they want: choice and convenience.”

Dominic Pileggi, the Republican majority leader of the Senate, said he is not sure total privatization is needed. He suggested state laws could be changed to allow more sales of beer and wine in supermarkets and convenience stores without selling off the state stores.

Costs Mount For ‘Sandwich Generation’

WASHINGTON, (UPI) —  Costs are rising for the so-called sandwich generation, middle-age Americans with aging parents who also are raising children, U.S. researchers said.

A Pew Research Center report on social and demographic trends, issued Wednesday, said 47 percent of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a child age 18 or older. Fifteen percent of middle-age Americans provide financial support to both an aging parent and a child, the study found.

The percentage of sandwich generation adults hasn’t changed substantially in recent years, but the financial burden of providing care for again and younger family members is growing — with providing for grown children accounting for most of the added financial pressure.

The survey found 48 percent of adults ages 40 to 59 have provided some financial support to at least one grown child in the past year. Twenty-seven percent provided the primary support for their grown children.

Those numbers are up significantly from 2005, Pew said.

Twenty-one percent of middle-age adults have provided financial support to a parent age 65 or older in the past year — about the same as in 2005.

The survey was conducted Nov. 28-Dec. 5 among 2,511 adults nationwide. The margin of error is 2.2 percentage points.

Kerry, In Senate Farewell, Scores Gridlock

WASHINGTON,  (UPI) —  U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., about to take office as secretary of state, warned in a farewell speech in the Senate Wednesday about political gridlock.

Kerry didn’t mention names or parties, but in an emotional speech suggested some lawmakers have put their own interests ahead of the national interest, The Boston Globe reported. Gridlock threatens the U.S. reputation abroad and erodes relationship-building and bipartisan cooperation in the Senate, Kerry said.

The Senate overwhelmingly approved Kerry’s nomination Tuesday.

“As I prepare to represent our nation in capitals around the world,” Kerry said in prepared remarks, “I’m conscious that my credibility as a diplomat — and ours as a country — is determined to a great degree by what happens in our own capital city. We can be no stronger abroad than we are at home.

“If we posture politically in Washington, we weaken our position across the world. If democracy deadlocks here, we raise doubts about democracy everywhere. If we do not in our deeds prove our own ideals, we undermine our security and our sacred mission as the best hope of Earth.”

Kerry said the nation’s problems “come from individual choices made by senators themselves not the rules.”

“When an individual senator — or a colluding caucus — determines the comity essential to an institution like the Senate is a barrier to individual ambition or party ambition, the country loses,” he said. “Those are the moments in which the Senate fulfills, not its responsibility to the people, but its reputation as a sanctuary of gridlock.”

Kerry said a “dangerous but reversible” erosion in the quality of U.S. democracy is caused by “the decline of comity, the deluge of money, and the disregard for facts.”

Kerry, who was elected in 1984, paid tribute to colleagues, and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, who died in 2009.

Thursday Morning News Roundup 1-31-2013, It’s Getting Weird Out There

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • The dollar is at a 14-month low performance low against the euro as the Federal Reserve announced yesterday that it would keep pumping the fiat.
  • Is there an active shooter in your workplace? The Department of Homeland Security has some advice: Run with scissors.
  • Another youngster has been kicked out of school for bringing a toy gun to school. This time a 6-year-old girl was expelled for the rest of the year for bringing a clear plastic toy gun to school.
  • Meanwhile, Bronx cops spent 10 hours interrogating a hardened 7-year-old over a $5 dispute with another child. Sadly, the photo below is real.cuff0131_image

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook.

DHS Echoes The Founders On Defense

Gun grabbers like to ask the question: “Why do you need an ‘assault weapon?’”

As the Department of Homeland Security so aptly put it in its own request for proposal for 7,000 .223 cal. select fire weapons, they are for personal defense.

In Thoughts on Standing Armies, Josiah Quincy Jr. wrote in 1774:

No free government was ever founded or ever preserved its liberty, without uniting the characters of the citizen and soldier in those destined for the defence of the state…. Such are a well regulated militia, composed of the freeholders, citizen and husbandman, who take up arms to preserve their property, as individuals, and their rights as freemen.

Gun grabbers lack the moral authority to determine what weapon a lawful gun owner needs for defense or target shooting or whatever. Only the gun owner can make that decision.

Unsurprisingly, The Fed To Continue Money Pumping

At a Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday, officials at the Federal Reserve said they would continue to pump money into the economy via an $85 billion bond-buying stimulus scheme, despite a stall in economic activity in recent months under the same policy.

Citing its statutory mandate, the Fed said that the continued stimulus is an effort to maintain price stability and encourage employment growth, the latter of which must improve substantially before the central bank will back off of its ongoing stimulus.

From an FOMC statement:

The Committee expects that, with appropriate policy accommodation, economic growth will proceed at a moderate pace and the unemployment rate will gradually decline toward levels the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate.  Although strains in global financial markets have eased somewhat, the Committee continues to see downside risks to the economic outlook. The Committee also anticipates that inflation over the medium term likely will run at or below its 2 percent objective.

As unemployment rates are expected to remain around 7.8 percent for the month of January, Fed officials say that they will hold interest rates near zero until unemployment is down to 6.5 percent. Central bankers say the only way the policy will change is if inflation climbs above 2.5 percent in coming months.

The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet is estimated to have expanded in excess of $3 trillion in recent years. Recent meeting minutes of the FOMC show signs of disagreement between members of the committee over how much longer the central bank can continue quantitative easing without major and obvious economic consequence.

Some economic experts say that Americans can expect soaring food and fuel prices as early as 2014 if the Fed policy doesn’t produce dramatic economic growth this year.

Emotion, Lies And Propaganda From Anti-Gun Advocates On Capitol Hill

The politically charged American conversation about gun violence continued yesterday with the first Congressional hearing related to the matter since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. The conversation was complete with the same tired pleas to emotion and talking points that have been parroted from both sides of the debate, but the anti-gun lobby pulled all the stops.

Emotion

The image from the hearing that will undoubtedly be etched into the American psyche as it is played over and over by mainstream media will be that of the speech given before lawmakers by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the survivor of a mass shooting carried out in 2011 by a maniacal gunman in Arizona.

“This is an important conversation, for our children, for our communities, for Democrats and Republicans,” she said with exertion stemming from brain injuries caused by her attack. “Speaking is difficult but I need to say something important. Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something. It will be hard, but the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you.”

Lies And Half Truths

Another anti-gun highlight of the day involved remarks by infamously anti-gun Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) who flipped through what appeared to be a gun catalog making such absurd (or woefully ill-informed) claims as retail AR-15s are easily modified to fire up to 800 rounds per minute and two, three or four rounds at a time. She also lamented that these firearms are capable of “tremendous velocity and tremendous killing power,” which “I suspect tears young bodies apart.”

Propaganda

Following the hearings, a number of heavily slanted news reports hit the Internet.

One such example was this vilification of National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre from CNN:

Wayne LaPierre is not a large man. He does not move with the easy assurance of a skilled fighter. His head sits low on his neck, and he seems to turn from the shoulders.

His swept-back, graying hair and rimless glasses make him look like a Central Casting accountant who sleeps with a tie on. Yet, in Washington, LaPierre is a heavyweight of the first degree, a brawler who can make even brave politicians toss in the towel at the first sign of a scuffle.

As the debate about guns continues, there are still several factors related to past mass killings that are not receiving media attention or due diligence from lawmakers. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) pointed out the foolishness of a Senate hearing completely focused on categorically banning guns and magazines or implementing new license requirements without addressing issues of enforcement and mental health.

“I have a hard time telling my constituents in Texas that Congress is looking at passing a whole raft of new laws, when the laws that we currently have on the books are so woefully unenforced,” he said, criticizing the Justice Department.

The Senator went on to suggest that legislation incorporating mental health screenings with already existing gun laws could help Congress come to an agreement that offers comprise to individuals on both sides of the debate.

“Perhaps it’s time to consider our background checks laws to see if they need to be updated to screen out the growing number of people who are subjected to court-ordered outpatient mental health treatment,” he said. “…There are areas where Congress can come together right now, examine the nexus between gun crime, violence, and mental health care. I’m willing to listen to serious ideas, not just window dressing, to try to come up with solutions.”

As an aside, a recent Reason/Rupe poll demonstrated that 52 percent of Americans believe that politicians are joining the likes of Piers Morgan — who recently said he was “standing on the graves of dead Sandy Hook children” — in exploiting tragedy for political gain. Also, 51 percent of respondents to the same poll rejected the notion that American citizens should be barred from owning so-called assault weapons.

Yes, Ma’am!

As of last week, the armed forces of the United States will henceforth allow women to join front-line combat units. Defense Secretary Leon “Panther” Panetta directed the military to prepare to rotate members of the fairer sex into firing position. The decision has touched off a fairly predictable firestorm of controversy, with some stating the complete gender-integration of the military was likely overdue and others saying women in combat is an idea whose time should never arrive.

I’m of two minds on the topic. While I fully understand the desire to preserve some semblance of gender roles in an increasingly confused society, I struggle to comprehend the idea that women are somehow unable to perform properly in a firefight because they’re using different plumbing. There are no ladies’ rooms “outside the wire.” And the enemy certainly doesn’t display any hesitation about, or even awareness of, gender differences when rigging improvised explosive devices or aiming B-40s at a passing convoy. Already, women go through the same training expected of any service personnel and engage in air, ground and sea combat, although their primary assignments may vary. Indeed, the lone distinction is essentially a matter of paperwork.

Not too far off in American history, integration meant including blacks in front-line combat units. Conventional wisdom of the time stated that racial integration of the armed forces posed a danger to everything from command structure to unit morale. Find former Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Carlton Kent and tell the men under him that he was not fit to serve with them. I strongly suggest you start running before you finish. Should you survive, try out the same logic on one of the senior officers serving under Vice Adm. Carol Pottenger. Bring your floaties.

I have encountered some people who think women lack the detachment to kill without reservation. I need only two words to gun that down: Janet Reno.

From an anecdotal perspective, with whom would you rather fend off an armed assault, much less participate in one: Sarah Palin or Dennis Kucinich? Ask that same question of some half-starved North Korean zombie or cave-dwelling Akbar who smokes hash to keep the hunger pangs at bay. Something tells me Private Jong-Sun will seriously reconsider just how badly he wants Alaska after he runs into the “Mama Grizzly.”

On the other hand, I once asked Cmdr. Dick Marcinko about women serving in combat units. If that name sounds familiar, it’s probably because he’s the bestselling author of the Rogue Warrior series of novels, and he also happens to be the founder of SEAL Team Six. This guy seriously knows his warfare. Marcinko told me he opposes women in combat not because they can’t be effective soldiers — he noted Israeli military servicewomen and Eastern Bloc snipers as examples — but because of the effect their capture might have on their own units. Marcinko worried that units might take extreme risks should a female member be captured — especially given the fact that the captors are almost routinely islamofascists who force women to dress like beekeepers, find 12 year-old girls alluring and kick back with a nice “honor killing.”

Marcinko’s point is well made. But women who enlist in the military know what they might face. To suggest that they’re unaware of the occupational hazards is to diminish their quality, and I think that’s a bit unfair. If the military — which actually tends to be ahead of the curve when it comes to integration — could learn that the only color that matters is green (or Army Combat Uniform, MARPAT or MultiCam), then I have no doubt that they can learn that the gender of their colleagues matters as little in combat as the gender of the enemy.

I am not proposing some massive social engineering experiment that uses the military as the petri dish. I just honestly believe that women can be just as effective in combat roles as men. In some cases, they might even be a little bit better. My mother is a graceful, delicate woman who makes drinking a martini look like ballet, whereas I have watched my father tear tree stumps out of the ground with his bare hands. And he does what she tells him to with the unblinking obedience of a Marine boot running into the ghost of Lt. Gen. Chesty Puller. With that in mind, imagine the reaction of a cadre of hajis confronted by a battalion that includes women with Hillary Clinton’s disposition.

–Ben Crystal