Thursday Morning News Roundup 1-24-2013

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.

  • Joe Biden really, really wants to be the President. God help us.

 

  • The New York Police Department has portable scanning technology that lets police officers see from a distance whether someone is carrying a concealed weapon.

 

 

 

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

Loneliness Is Dangerous

COLUMBUS, Ohio (UPI) — Loneliness boosts inflammation, which is linked to coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease, U.S. researchers suggest.

Lead author Lisa Jaremka, a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State University, and colleagues found people who were more lonely showed signs of elevated latent herpes virus reactivation and produced more inflammation-related proteins in response to acute stress than people who felt more socially connected.

Reactivation of a latent herpes virus is known to be associated with stress, suggesting loneliness functions as a chronic stressor that triggers a poorly controlled immune response.

“It is clear from previous research that poor-quality relationships are linked to a number of health problems, including premature mortality and all sorts of other very serious health conditions. And people who are lonely clearly feel like they are in poor-quality relationships,” Jaremka said in a statement.

“One reason this type of research is important is to understand how loneliness and relationships broadly affect health. The more we understand about the process, the more potential there is to counter those negative effects — to perhaps intervene,” Jaremka said.

The findings, presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology annual meeting in New Orleans, were based on a series of studies conducted with two populations: a healthy group of overweight middle-aged adults and a group of breast cancer survivors.

Benghazi Testimony Leaves Questions Unanswered

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally fielded Congress’s questions about the Sept. 11 terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Despite her theatricality during the Senate hearing, Clinton’s testimony left much to be desired from lawmakers who are still seeking answers about the attack.

“For me, this is not just a matter of policy. It’s personal,” Clinton said at one point, choking up. “I stood next to President Obama as the Marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at Andrews. I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, the sisters and brothers, the sons and daughters, and the wives left alone to raise their children.”

That moment was seized by mainstream media as the defining point of the Secretary of State’s testimony. Largely ignored, however, was the fact that Clinton didn’t satisfactorily answer any of the questions related to the State Department’s bizarre initial response to the attacks.

The Secretary of State was criticized by Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) for not recognizing the possibility for violent acts against the consulate in the destabilized country.

In a terse exchange with Clinton, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) made clear that he felt the top diplomat’s response to the attack should have been a “career ending” failure.

“Had I been president and found you did not read the cables from Benghazi and from Ambassador Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post. I think it’s inexcusable,” he said.

“I think we can understand you’re not reading every cable,” Paul said. The Senator said he didn’t suspect Clinton of “bad motives” but that Benghazi was a “failure of leadership.”

In response, Clinton pointed out that an accountability review board appointed by the State Department had determined that the mistakes made in responding to the Benghazi attack we’re made at levels below her office.

“I am the Secretary of State. And the [Accountability Review Board] made very clear that the level of responsibility for the failures that they outlined was set at the Assistant Secretary level and below,” she said.

The Secretary of State said a department task force has translated the 29 recommendations for improving security delivered by the review board into 64 specific “action items” and that 85 percent of the items are expected to be completed by the end of March.

Paul also asked Clinton about the possibility of the Benghazi attack being related to a CIA-backed scheme to collect weapons in Libya in order to clandestinely arm Syrian rebels.

“Is the U.S. involved with any procuring of weapons, transfer of weapons, buying, selling, anyhow transferring weapons to Turkey out of Libya?” he asked.

Clinton brushed off the question, saying: “To Turkey? I will have to take that question for the record. Nobody has ever raised that with me.”

Paul pressed on: “It’s been in news reports that ships have been leaving from Libya and that they may have weapons and what I’d like to know is the annex that was close by, were they involved with procuring, buying, selling, obtaining weapons and were any of these weapons being transferred to other countries, any countries, Turkey included?”

The Secretary of State suggested that Paul should take up the matter with the CIA.

Clinton concluded her prepared testimony by telling Congress that the United States must continue to garner influence in unstable parts of the world like the Mideast and Africa.

“We have come a long way in the past four years, and we cannot afford to retreat now,” she told the Senate committee. “When America is absent, especially from unstable environments, there are consequences. Extremism takes root, our interests suffer, and our security at home is threatened.”

North Korea Vows Stronger, More Nuclear Military

Despite condemnations and expanded sanctions from the U.N. Security Council following a December rocket launch, North Korea has vowed to expand its nuclear and military capabilities.

The Security Council expanded existing sanctions against North Korea this week, unanimously passing a resolution proposed by the United States and even backed by North Korean ally China. The resolution tightens sanctions on North Korea’s space agency, a bank and a number of trading companies and individuals in the country.

“This resolution demonstrates to North Korea that there are unanimous and significant consequences for its flagrant violation” of previous resolutions, said U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice.

The resolution promises that the U.N. will take significant action against the nation if a third nuclear test is carried out.

The Hermit Kingdom responded swiftly to the new U.N. resolution, vowing that it would not back down from its nuclear ambitions.

“We will take measures to boost and strengthen our defensive military power including nuclear deterrence,” its Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency KCNA.

“There can be talks for peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and the region in the future, but no talks for the denuclearisation of the peninsula,” the statement went on.

U.S. officials fear that, given the opportunity to test nuclear devices, North Korea will effectively develop a long-range nuclear missile that could potentially strike the West Coast of the United States.

Is Obama Smarter Than A Communist?

 

Hello, I’m Wayne Allyn Root for Personal Liberty. You know that famous TV show “Are you Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” Well that show has inspired me to ask: “Is Obama smarter than a communist?” Many socialist and communist leaders seem to have learned a lesson that Obama has not.

Remember when Obama said, “I just want to spread the wealth around”? If income redistribution works, if tax-and-spend is a model for America, why are Greece and Spain bankrupt basket cases threatening to bring down the entire European Union? Greece and Spain have both been led by Socialist Party politicians. They both have big taxes, big spending, big unions, big governments — just like Obama wants. Yet both Greece and Spain have unemployment rates above 26 percent and youth unemployment above 56 percent.

With that record of devastating failure, why did Obama just raise U.S. income tax rates to the levels of Greece and Spain? Greece’s income tax rate is 40 percent. Spain’s top rate ranges from 40 percent to 50 percent. In America we just raised the top rate to about 40 percent, plus add in Obamacare taxes, plus add in State and local taxes, and, of course, Obama took away deductions, too. Can you even imagine? We chose to emulate Greece and Spain right at the moment of disaster, at the moment of devastation, at the moment of 26 percent and 56 percent unemployment — right as they are headed into economic oblivion. With Obama’s re-election we chose Greece and Spain.

By the way, with high income taxes and value added taxes (a national sales tax), why are Greece and Spain both bankrupt and insolvent? Why would Obama want higher taxes for America, when Greece and Spain prove the model doesn’t work? Each country is going through a national nightmare. Thousands of trees are missing… because citizens can no longer afford to pay for electricity or fuel to heat their homes, so each night they go into parks and forests to cut down trees for firewood. Families are digging through dumpsters for food. Government employees go unpaid for months. This is what socialism and high taxes get you. And we chose Obama for another four years? Maybe we should check whether American voters are as smart as a 5th grader.

All those Greek voters elected socialist politicians because they promised fat pensions, free healthcare and lavish early retirement. Does that sound familiar? Now, they face unimaginable poverty for years to come. This proves that when politicians promise chocolate cake with no calories, they should be put in prison for fraud.

Cuba has been a Marxist state since before I was born. Its leader, Raul Castro, is a proud communist. Yet Cuba recently passed the most sweeping reforms in its history. Castro is slashing more than 1 million government jobs, cutting entitlements, encouraging more private sector entrepreneurship, giving more power to private companies and reducing state spending.

One of the trademark features of Cuba’s socialist system — the universal monthly food ration — will be phased out. Castro said the ration given all Cubans since 1963 had become an “unsupportable burden” for Cuba’s bankrupt and crumbling government.

So get this: A Cuban communist leader is cutting 1 million government jobs and eliminating Cuba’s version of food stamps. Meanwhile, Obama keeps adding government jobs and food stamp use is setting all-time records in America; 47.7 million Americans are on food stamps. Tell me again: Who’s the communist and who’s the capitalist?

Even Russia’s Vladimir Putin (then serving as prime minister) seemed to have learned a common 5th grade history lesson on socialism, when during a 2008 speech at the opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he stated: “In the 20th century, the Soviet Union made the state role absolute… In the long run, this made the Soviet economy totally uncompetitive. This lesson cost us dearly.”

Putin and Castro have learned their lessons from experience. But Obama? It sounds like he needs to attend re-education camp. Or at least do over the 5th grade.

Obama just raised our income tax rates to 40 percent and eliminated deductions; and, of course, he’s already passed a raft of new Obamacare taxes. He wants to take the cap off Social Security taxes and add a VAT tax (national sales tax). Add it up. Under Obama, Americans could soon have a tax rate above 70 percent. Not the super rich. These rates will apply to small business owners.

Now contrast those taxes with today’s tax rates in formerly Communist countries:

  • Russia: 13 percent flat tax.
  • Bulgaria: 10 percent flat tax.
  • Georgia: 15 percent flat tax.
  • Romania: 16 percent flat tax.
  • Czech Republic: 15 percent flat tax.
  • Albania: 10 percent flat tax.
  • Kazakhstan: 10 percent flat tax.
  • Lithuania: 15 percent flat tax.
  • Slovakia: 19 percent flat tax.
  • Bosnia: 10 percent flat tax.
  • Serbia: 12 percent flat tax.
  • Hungary: 16 percent flat tax.
  • Estonia: 21 percent flat tax.

So ask yourself again, “Is Obama smarter than a communist?” Looking at those tax rates, it would be easy to mistake the United States under Obama for a socialist country.

While the big-tax, big-spend, big-government economies of Europe are floundering, examine how the low-tax model is performing around the world. Hong Kong, with its 15 percent flat tax and no capital gains tax, has 3.3 percent unemployment. That’s down in the 4thquarter of last year from 3.4 percent in the quarter before that.

Singapore has a tax of 3 percent to 20 percent, with unemployment at a remarkable 1.9 percent.

Obviously, high taxes kill jobs. Case closed. Obama must have missed that 5th grade lesson.

So I’ll ask the question again: Is Obama smarter than a communist? Perhaps someone should sit Obama down with all these communist and ex-communist leaders and get him educated. Fast. Before the U.S. economic collapse is beyond repair. Before the America we know and love is gone forever.

ACLU Sues Police Over Videotaping Of Officers

Although Federal courts have upheld the rights of citizens to record police activities in public, police and other law enforcement officers continue to intimidate and often wrongfully arrest people who do it.

For instance, on Sunday, photographer Carlos Miller and a friend were assaulted by armed thugs at the Miami-Dade Metrorail. Miller’s crime? He was using his phone to video the station.

Miller runs the website Photography Is Not A Crime, so he knew he was well within his rights to photograph public places as well as his police encounter. He already has a lawsuit pending against Miami-Dade Metrorail for a previous assault by a security guard. The latest incident will probably escalate the suit to Federal court.

The American Civil Liberties Union last week filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Temple University photojournalism student who was arrested by Philadelphia police two years ago.

Chris Montgomery and a friend were in downtown Philadelphia when they saw a dispute involving a group of teens. When police responded, Montgomery used his iPhone to record the action. Police later approached Montgomery and told him to stop recording. Montgomery was arrested, his phone was confiscated and he was held in a cell for 45 minutes. When he was released, the video had been deleted from his phone.

The complaint is the first of several that the Pennsylvania ACLU plans to file alleging retaliatory behavior by officers, attorney Mary Catherine Roper told The Washington Post. It seeks monetary damages and confirmation of the public’s right to videotape.

“It is not and, under our Constitution, could not be a crime,” the lawsuit states.

According to the suit, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey issued a memo several months after Montgomery’s arrest instructing officers to allow themselves to be recorded in public. But two people were arrested for videotaping a traffic stop six months after the memo was issued.

All police encounters should be videotaped. Technology has made this a simple task.

However, don’t count on thuggish law enforcement officers respecting your right to do so.

What Does The 2nd Amendment Mean?

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.—Amendment II

Some of the recent attacks on the 2nd Amendment and lawful gun owners by the gun grabbers have focused on the meaning of the words in the Amendment. Particularly, gun grabbers have zeroed in on what the Founding Fathers meant by the words “well regulated Militia.”

So what did the Founders mean when they penned and approved those words? As Thomas Jefferson suggested in a letter to William Johnson, “On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”

According to An American Dictionary of the English Language, Vol. II by Noah Webster, published in 1828, the definition of “regulated” is this: “adjusted by rule, method or forms, put in good order, subjected to rules or restrictions.”

The Random House College Dictionary (1980) gives one more definition dating from 1690 and relating to troops: “properly disciplined.”

So well regulated, to the Founders, meant a group of troops put in good order and properly disciplined. So who were these troops?

The word “militia” is a Latin abstract noun meaning “military service,” not an “armed group,” and that is how the Latin-literate Founders used it. The collective term for army or soldiery was “volgus militum.” So they did not mean a standing army or a regular national guard.

The Militia Act of 1792 further defines it as the whole people, particularly, “every able-bodied man” from age 18 to 45.

Remember that the Founding Fathers had just participated in a bloody revolution. They feared a standing army. When there was a need for an “army,” men came from the surrounding area, bringing whatever weapons they possessed, to be led by a man or men with previous military service. Sometimes the State provided them with weapons, ammunition, horses, etc., if they did not have their own.

As Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts put it: “What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty…. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.”

In his An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787, Webster wrote: “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States.”

Tench Coxe described the militia this way: “Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom? Congress shall have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American … The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the People.”

In a speech at the Virginia Ratifying Convention, George Mason said: “I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”

“A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves … and include… all men capable of bearing arms. … The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle,” wrote Richard Lee as The Federal Farmer.

“[W]hereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them; nor does it follow from this, that all promiscuously must go into actual service on every occasion. The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it,” Lee also wrote.

“O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone; and you have no longer an aristocratical, no longer a democratical spirit. Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all?” said Patrick Henry during the Virgina Ratifying Convention.

It’s clear the Founders intended that everyone be armed — not just for hunting or for self-defense, which were givens, but to protect themselves from tyranny.

Finally, what is meant by “infringed”? Again, back to An American Dictionary of the English Language, this time Volume I:

“Infringed—Broken; violated; transgressed.”

Further, infringe is defined: “To break, as contracts; to violate, either positively by contravention, or negatively non-fulfillment or neglect of performance. A prince or a private person infringes an agreement or covenant by neglecting to perform its conditions, as well as by doing what is stipulated not to be done. To break to violate; to transgress; to neglect to fulfill or obey; as to infringe a law. To destroy or hinder; as to infringe efficacy.”

Liberty lovers should see the 2nd Amendment as inviolate. Not only will the laws being proposed by the gun grabbers infringe on the 2nd Amendment; but many, if not most, of the laws already on the books infringe on the Amendment as well.

The 2nd Amendment does not grant Americans the “right to keep and bear arms.” That right is held by all at birth. What it does is acknowledge that right and restrict any infringement upon it.

The Constitution and Bill of Rights was written to restrain government, not the people.

The Divine Right Of Obama

I watched the coronation — sorry; inauguration — of Emperor Barack the Magnificent I — sorry; President Barack (don’t say “Hussein”) Obama. As he recited the oath of office for the second time in as many days (he took the “official” oath in the Oval Office on Sunday), a light switched on. At first, I thought it might just be the camera lights reflecting off of that fright wig stuck to the first lady’s cranium. But the light was actually a revelation, one much greater than the knowledge that Obama should put that thing back before the janitor notices it’s missing. Obama, who has made it clear that he thinks as highly of the Constitution as I do of The New York Times, placed his hand on not one but two copies of the Bible — one belonging to Martin Luther King Jr. and the other belonging to President Abraham Lincoln.

Obama — who believes he can overrule the 2nd Amendment by what amounts to imperial fiat; Obama, who endorsed Attorney General Eric Holder before, during and after Holder’s criminal mendacity regarding Operation Fast and Furious; Obama, whose nationalization of the Nation’s health held down the Interstate Commerce Clause and beat the justice out of it; Obama, who brazenly lied (and still lies) to the country about the Benghazi, Libya, massacre — literally swore to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” on an actual stack of Bibles. The arrogance to do so with a straight face, despite it being an affront to Nation, office and Almighty God, sets the bar at a whole new level. He even “tweeted” while in church… really.

What sort of person can so easily lie, not to mention blaspheme like the little kid in “The Exorcist”? I’m aware that many of you believe Obama is a Muslim. I doubt it. Others may believe he is a Christian. Not bloody likely. Others still may consider him a fairly typical American “Christmas and Easter” type. You’re all off the mark. Before you firebomb Bob Livingston’s in-box with demands that he replace me with “The Wizard of Id,” hear me out: the Obama I watched on Monday with his hand on two copies of a book by which he does not abide, swearing an oath in which he does not believe, is a spiritual man. And he attends Mass every single day. Indeed, he holds to his holy strictures with the devotion of a Trappist monk. His temple attracts millions of believers: The First (and Only) Church of Barack Hussein Obama.

He floated through the oath with such ease; it was almost enough to keep us from noticing that Beyonce lip-synched the national anthem. He thrilled the assembled throng with his plans for the coming years, including more debt, more war and less of something he referred to as “climate change.” I believe that might be the current moniker for the hoax formerly known as “global warming” and even more formerly known as “global cooling,” although normal people just call it “weather.” He demanded an end to partisanship, “We cannot… treat name-calling as reasoned debate,” while his minions booed Representative Paul Ryan. And he even worked in some material about a new dedication to immigration amnesty, which will probably grant citizenship to every Tomas, Diego and Javier south of the Rio Grande.

Only a man with absolutely no regard for the Bible and the Constitution could treat them both so shabbily. Only a man with absolute faith in himself could immediately turn to his minions and murder the truth so casually. And only a congregation mostly comprised of people who have either abandoned or forgotten the lessons of both of the aforementioned texts could cheer him on.

Hey, I can’t blame the guy for reveling in his own myth. I’m man enough to admit that if I’d gone through life so rarely hearing the word “no,” I might not have turned out so fabulously. I do blame him for forgetting the difference between fact and fantasy. And I do blame his supporters for attacking me for pointing out the difference.

The liberal deification of Obama violates not only the 1st Amendment, but the first commandment. We don’t recognize a monarch in this country. We don’t have a national deity either — ask any liberal, if you can get him to stop whining about prayer in schools long enough to listen. The man I saw take the oath of office believes he’s both.

More Earning Degrees In U.S.

WASHINGTON, (UPI) —  The number of people with academic degrees, particularly doctorates and master’s, grew substantially in the past decade, the U.S. Census Bureau said Wednesday.

The department said a statistical survey — Educational Attainment in the United States: 2012 — found the population with a doctorate grew by about 1 million, or 45 percent, from 2002 to 2012, while the group with master’s degrees grew by 5 million, or 43 percent.

The population with an associate degree rose by 5 million, or 31 percent, and those whose highest degree was a bachelor’s increased 25 percent to 41 million.

The report found 21 million women held bachelor’s degrees as their highest level of education as of 2012, compared to 19 million men. Women also outnumbered men in earning master’s degrees, 9 million to 7.4 million.

Men held more doctorates — leading women 2 million over 1.2 million — and held 1.8 million professional degrees, compared to 1.2 million for women.

The number of those without a high school or GED diploma fell by 13 percent to 25 million.

Among people 25 and older who reported earnings in 2011, the average income for people with bachelor’s degrees but no higher degrees was $59,415. People with high school diplomas but no college reported average earnings of $32,493.

The report is based on statistics from the Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement, which surveys people annually in about 100,000 homes in February, March and April each year.

Poll: Fewer Watch Obama’s 2nd Inauguration

PRINCETON, N.J., (UPI) —  Fewer Americans watched the inauguration ceremonies for Barack Obama’s second presidency than did his first swearing-in four years ago, Gallup said.

Thirty-eight percent of Americans said they watched or listened to the inauguration ceremonies live while 27 percent said saw, read or heard news coverage of the events, results of a Gallup poll released Tuesday indicated.

This year’s percentage of viewers was down considerably from a combined 80 percent who watched the ceremonies live or saw news coverage of them in 2009, Gallup said.

Reported viewership of Monday’s ceremonies was similar to George W. Bush’s second inauguration, the Princeton, N.J., polling agency said.

Sixty-five percent of Americans who watched or saw news coverage of this year’s ceremonies rated Obama’s inaugural address as excellent or good, Gallup said.

Results indicated fewer Americans said the 2013 inauguration made them more hopeful about the next four years than those who expressed such sentiments in 2009. Thirty-seven percent said they were more hopeful about the next four years, compared with 62 percent after Obama’s first inauguration.

Results are based on nationwide telephone interviews with 513 adults conducted Monday. The margin of error is 6 percentage points.

There’s No DUI On Segway In Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn., (UPI) —  There’s no such thing as drunken driving while on a Segway in Minnesota, the state Court of Appeals said in a ruling posted Tuesday.

The appellate court said the battery-powered, self-balancing, two-wheeled personal transit machine simply is not a motor vehicle, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

That means a drunken driving charge against Mark A. Greenman, 48, of Hamel was tossed out of court even though his blood-alcohol level was found to be 0.19, or more than twice the legal limit.

Greenman was stopped by Medina city police Feb. 4 and charged with driving while impaired after an officer spotted his Segway drifting twice across the center line in the road, court documents showed.

The court’s ruling sat well with Greenman, a lawyer who told the Pioneer Press “the court got it right.”

“I think that if people want to take the Segway to the bar, they can do that now,” said Greenman, who also has another similar case pending against him. “And I think they always should have been able to.”

The ruling by a three-judge panel was split 2-1.

“Had the Legislature intended to prohibit drivers from operating Segways while under the influence of alcohol, the Legislature could have included a specific provision proscribing that conduct, as it has done in so many other instances,” Judge Margaret H. Chutich wrote for herself and Judge Natalie E. Hudson.

Judge Roger Klaphake dissented, contending “vehicle” as defined in traffic regulations includes every self-propelled device that transports people or property on a highway, and the Segway meets that definition.

Suspected Drug Lab Had No Drugs

NEW YORK, (UPI) —  The New York Police Department said a raid on a suspected drug lab found only a man mixing table salt with baking soda.

Police said officers raided a Manhattan co-op Monday on drug manufacturing allegations and discovered a man creating several pounds of a white substance, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

Investigators initially suspected the substance to be illegal bath salts, a designer drug, but they soon discovered the 44-year-old man was only mixing table salt with baking soda.

Police said the man may have been suffering from a mental illness and was taken to Roosevelt Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. They said he may have believed he was creating bath salts.

Third Car Crashes Into New Jersey Store

SOMERVILLE, N.J., (UPI) —  Emergency responders in New Jersey said a car that crashed through a 7-Eleven was the third car in recent memory to crash into the store.

Steve Weinmann, the Somerville Rescue Squad’s president, said the car plowed through the front window of the convenience store around 2 p.m. Saturday and ended up completely inside the shop, NJ.com reported Tuesday.

Weinmann said no injuries were reported from the incident. He said it was the third time in recent memory that a vehicle has crashed into the store.

“But usually, they just put the nose through the front. This is the first time I’ve seen the whole car go into the store,” Weinmann said.

NJ.com said it was unable to reach police for comment.

Man Holds Sign Seeking Kidney Donor

BEAVERTON, Ore., (UPI) —  An Oregon man holding a sign at the roadside said he isn’t seeking money — he’s looking for a kidney donor.

Earl Martinez, 28, of Beaverton said he was born with a genetic kidney disease that required him to receive dialysis treatments for four hours three times a week during the past 18 months, KOIN-TV, Portland, Ore., reported Tuesday.

“I definitely don’t need money,” Martinez said from the roadside. “I just need a kidney.”

Martinez said the genetic disease, Alport Syndrome, prevents him from receiving kidney donations from family members.

“Need Kidney Donor,” his sign reads.

“My insurance would cover all medical costs on my side and the donors side,” Martinez said. “The donor would have no medical costs at all.”

Hundreds Of Gallons Of Soda Frozen To Road

EXETER, Pa., (UPI) —  Police in Pennsylvania said hundreds of gallons of soda froze to the surface of a road in the collision of two tractor-trailers.

Investigators said the tractor-trailers collided around 12:40 a.m. on the Exeter Township side of Route 422’s Schuylkill River Bridge and one of the trailers split open, spilling hundreds of gallons worth of 2-liter soda bottles onto the road, The Reading Eagle reported Tuesday.

Police said the soda instantly froze to the surface of the road and westbound lanes were closed for more than five hours while a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation crew cleaned up the wreckage and de-iced the highway.

Police are investigating the cause of the crash.

The drivers, Phillip Schmidt, 50, and Timothy Moyer, 63, were not injured, authorities said.

Deal With Budget, Pentagon Tells Congress

WASHINGTON, (UPI) —  U.S. congressional leaders are called on to ensure the U.S. Defense Department has the financial means necessary to make the nation secure, a spokesman said.

The Defense Department has expressed concern about the $500 billion in defense spending at stake should lawmakers fail to agree on budget issues.

Congress in a New Year’s Day vote postponed a series of automatic budget cuts known as sequestration until the end of March. The deal delayed more than $54 billion in military spending reductions.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said spending cuts were “a drag” on Defense Department dealings.

“I think it is a justifiable concern on their part and responsibility to address it rests with Congress,” he said. “It’s time to move beyond the ‘fiscal cliff’ and get a deal done.”

Budget issues, he added, were having an effect on the morale of service personnel deployed overseas.

U.S. Air Force Gen. William Shelton said that, despite budget concerns, his defense team was keeping a close eye on U.S. satellites monitoring foreign threats.

Countries like North Korea, he said, have “very immature” space programs, though there are growing threats that extend beyond immediate budgetary concerns.

“Others around the world are very mature and have developed things that we know would be deleterious to our efforts in space,” he was quoted by the Defense Department’s news service as saying.

Clinton: Did Not See Security Request

WASHINGTON, (UPI) —  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a Senate panel she did not see requests for extra security in Libya prior to the Sept. 11 attack.

She also said she did not deny any requests, and procedures were being put in place that any future secretary would see security messages.

Clinton’s voice broke with emotion as she talked about the families of the victims of the Libyan terror attack.

U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attack on the Benghazi consulate Sept. 11, the 11th anniversary of the terror attacks on New York and Washington.

“I directed our response from the State Department,” she told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Citing an administrative review board report, she said there were “no delays in decision-making, no denials of support from the Pentagon or the administration … the board said our response saved lives and it did.”

She also stressed that on the day of the attack, “In that same period, we were seeing violent attacks on our embassies” across North Africa. She cited a demonstration in Cairo in which protesters were trying to come over the U.S. Embassy walls.

Clinton said the United States must still be represented in dangerous places.

“Let me underscore the importance of the United States continuing to lead in North Africa and around the world,” she said. ” That is why I sent Chris Stevens to Libya. … He knew the risks … [but] they cannot work in bunkers and do their jobs. That’s why we must do everything possible” to give them security.

Clinton also said the attack didn’t happen in a vacuum, citing the problems created within the security apparatus of the region caused by the various government revolutions.

Clinton, her voice breaking, said to her the attack was personal, noting she stood beside President Obama as the caskets of the four people killed in the attack, including Stevens, were returned to the United States.

Wednesday Morning News Roundup 1-23-2013

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.

  • Get ready to see what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has to say about the terror attacks last September in Benghazi, Libya. She will deliver a long-awaited testimony to Congress today.
  • More Presidential fiat is likely on the way as talk increases about the possibility of President Barack Obama bypassing Congress and implementing much of his environmental agenda unilaterally through regulations and executive action.
  • The “most transparent Administration in history” is not very transparent at all, say journalists and watchdogs. Are we supposed to act surprised?
  • The House Republican plan to ignore the debt ceiling for four months has full Presidential approval. Bipartisanship at its finest, screwing the American taxpayer.
  • Police in Florida have been accused of misusing a driver database to look up private information about relatives, celebrities and romantic interests. Who’s watching the watchers?

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

Obama, The Duplicitous

During inauguration festivities on Monday, President Barack Obama proclaimed that a decade of war is now ending. Would that it were so.

While he was making this proclamation, Reuters reported the United States has begun transporting French soldiers and equipment to Mali as part of its logistical aid to French forces fighting Islamists in the northern part of the country. Britain, Belgium, Canada and Denmark are also transporting French materiel.

Those militant Islamists the French are fighting are part of the same group NATO armed and used to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi in Libya, and the same ones it’s arming in Syria to keep that nation in turmoil. It’s also part of the same group the United States has been fighting on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The U.S. continues to rain death and destruction down on the people of several African countries from Predator drones. That region and Syria will be powder kegs for years to come.

Meanwhile, Chinese leaders have instructed the People’s Liberation Army to get ready for war.

China’s General Staff Headquarters issued a harsh directive last week to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to prepare for war, writes Generational Dynamics. The directive stated:

In 2013, the goal set for the entire army and the People’s Armed Police force is to bolster their capabilities to fight and their ability to win a war … to be well-prepared for a war by subjecting the army to hard and rigorous training on an actual combat basis.

Although past directives have directed soldiers to be prepared in case of war, this year’s directive, for the first time, uses the Chinese word “dazhang,” which means “fighting war,” and uses it 10 times in the 1,000-word directive, according the website.

Apparently, Chinese war hawks have decided the United States is bluffing in the East China Sea and Obama’s strategic “pivot” of U.S. military strategy in the Asia-Pacific region is for show. They are taking their calls for wars against regional neighbors to the airwaves of Chinese TV and radio and to Internet blogs and public speeches.

Among the highlights:

  • Calls for “short, sharp wars” to assert China’s sovereignty.
  • Strike first, prepare for conflict. One term used was “kill a chicken to scare the monkeys.”
  • A short, decisive war, like China’s clash with India in 1962, would deliver long-term peace.
  • “Since we have decided that the U.S. is bluffing in the East China Sea, we should take this opportunity to respond to these empty provocations with something real,“ wrote Chinese Air Force Colonel Dai Xu in the Global Times.
  • “The United States would ‘run like a rabbit’ if China went to war with Japan over the Diaoyu Islands,” Rear Admiral Zhang Zhaozhong told state television on August 12.

Remember, the United States has mutual defense treaties with Japan and the Philippines and assists Taiwan with defense.

Partly out of conflicts of Obama’s own making and partly out of conflicts he may not be able to control, the prospects for the end to perpetual war are slim at best.

Gun Control In Senate Likely A Tough Sell

Legislators with gun grabbing ambition and with the full backing of President Barack Obama are set to push the Senate to pass draconian gun control legislation in coming weeks. But the news isn’t all bad for 2nd Amendment advocates.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called on supporters to help him fight expanded gun control laws in a frantic email sent by his campaign manager, Jesse Benton, early this week.

“You and I are literally surrounded,” said the email. “The gun-grabbers in the Senate are about to launch an all-out-assault on the Second Amendment. On your rights. On your freedom.”

The email said the White House proposals on gun control essentially set the groundwork for an all-out gun grab that:

  • “[W]ill criminalize firearms by how they look.”
  • Includes a “thinly-veiled national gun registration scheme hidden under the guise of ‘background checks.’”
  • And will ban large ammunition magazines.

“It is almost hard to believe the sheer breadth and brazenness of this attempt to gut our Constitution,” the email goes on.

McConnell has pledged to do everything he can to oppose increased gun control throughout the Nation.

Meanwhile, Senator John Barasso (R-Wyo.) told CNN’s Candy Crowley in an interview this week that the threat to the 2nd Amendment from Democrats may not be as menacing as it appears. This, he contends, is because new gun control legislation puts Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in a tight spot in the lead up to key Senate elections.

“He has six Democrats up for election in two years in States where the President received fewer than 42 percent of the votes. And he doesn’t want his Democrats to have to choose between their own constituents and the president’s positions,” Barrasso said.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is planning to introduce a ban on so-called assault weapons on Thursday. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said he is ready to introduce a ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition and that he has 16 Senate co-sponsors.

Prince Harry Says Taking Lives Is Like Playing Video Games

While guns continue to be vilified by the Presidential Administration and some lawmakers as the sole benefactor in killings, Prince Harry of Wales said something in a BBC interview that should give pause to those who claim violent video games do not affect a person’s psychological state.

There has been little focus by lawmakers or the mainstream media on the possibility that the rash of mass killings carried out by males in their 20s in recent years could be a byproduct of recreational activities. But in a recent interview, the British prince unwittingly offered a shining example of why a look beyond the guns involved in gun violence is needed as he compared the horrors of war to playing video games.

Harry, who co-piloted an Apache helicopter during a 20-week tour in Afghanistan, told the BBC that taking the lives of insurgents was no different than kicking back on the couch and playing video games.

“It’s a joy for me because I’m one of those people who loves playing PlayStation and Xbox,” the 28-year-old said. “So with my thumbs I like to think I’m probably quite useful.”

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid responded to the Prince’s comparing killing in war to playing games: “To describe the war in Afghanistan as a game demeans anyone–especially a prince, who is supposed to be made of better things.”

Mujahid continued: “It shows the lack of understanding, of knowledge. It shows they are unfamiliar with the situation and shows why they are losing. … It’s not a game. It’s very, very real.”