Gun Grabbing Chicago Policies Not Helping As Homicides Rise

According to a crime-tracking blog, stripping residents’ 2nd Amendment rights isn’t doing much to get guns out of criminals’ hands in the Windy City.

Crime In Chicago tallies 510 shootings and 105 homicides through the first four months of 2013.

The blog provides daily updates on violent crime, and maintains data on crime in the city from previous years.

For 2012, the site reports 2,670 shootings in Chicago, an increase of 20 percent from the 2,217 shootings in 2011. Homicides in 2012 totaled 535, compared with 441 in 2011.

Mormon Bishop Ends Attack On Woman, Using His Samurai Sword

A weapon in a good guy’s hands — be it a gun or, maybe, something else — is far from dangerous.

For a woman who was being attacked Tuesday in front of a Salt Lake City home, a 29-inch samurai sword proved to be her salvation.

That’s because homeowner Kent Hendrix awoke to a commotion, went outside and saw the woman being mugged. His son had told him something bad was happening outside, so Hendrix grabbed his sword on the way out and approached the scene.

One look at the blade and its wielder, who also happens to be a Mormon bishop and a fourth-degree black belt, was enough to convince the alleged perpetrator to scram. Hendrix noticed the man appeared to have dropped a tube of Chapstick as he fled, so Hendrix snapped it up and yelled, “I’ve got your DNA and I’ve got your license plate [memorized] — you are so done!”

An hour later, suspect Grant Eggerston turned himself in. He was booked for robbery, attempted burglary, trespassing and violation of a stalking injunction.

Hat Tip: The Blaze

 

Bone Up On Your Rights Before Encountering A Bad Cop

A helpful video produced by Flex Your Rights, an educational nonprofit that seeks to inform Americans about their Constitutional protections against state infringement, offers some invaluable advice on how to handle an encounter with a police officer who has more on his mind than protecting and serving.

The video enacts 10 different dramatic scenarios portraying encounters with aggressive, mean and just plain crooked cops that illustrate — frighteningly, at times — how innocent people have very little wiggle room when a bad cop with a sense of entitlement throws them off their guard. Aside from the immediate danger a cop with evil intent presents, victims face an equal danger in defending their actions, in the aftermath, when they have to explain their side of the story in court.

Explains narrator Billy Murphy, criminal defense lawyer and former judge:

There are lots of good police out there doing what needs to be done – and I don’t need to tell you that there are also a few too many cops who don’t respect the basic rights of innocent people…and even the nicest cop will use your mistakes against you. That’s precisely why every citizen – every one of you – must possess the tools to confidently assert your rights if you have to.

The video, which has been in circulation since 2010, can be bought directly from the organization’s website.

Or you can check it out on YouTube. Just be sure to share.

 

Credit Company Ends Financing For Small Gun Shops, Cites Mass Shootings

One of the Nation’s largest consumer finance companies will no longer provide consumer credit service to gun shops, citing “tragic events” and a changing financial services industry.

GE Capital, which contracts with American retailers to extend point-of-sale credit to customers, announced Wednesday it would tighten up on a policy it had originally approved in 2008 to “cease providing consumer financing programs to merchants whose primary business is to sell firearms.”

The company is headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., and employs many people who live in nearby Newtown, the site of last December’s school murders. Peter Lanza, the father of alleged shooter Adam Lanza, holds a vice president’s position within the company.

“As a responsible lender, we regularly review our lending policies and products to meet changing conditions and requirements,” said the company’s statement. “In 2008, we adopted a policy to cease providing consumer financing programs to merchants whose primary business is to sell firearms. Recently, we implemented a more rigorous audit process in our sporting goods segment in light of industry changes, new legislation and tragic events that have caused widespread reexamination of policies on firearms. This process has affected less [sic] than 75 retailers…”

Of course, the pullout doesn’t apply to general retailers or sporting goods stores that offer guns as part of their larger consumer inventory. Stores like Wal-Mart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, which sell guns, won’t be affected, but local mom-and-pop stores will be.

The company sent letters earlier this month to stores who had agreements, telling owners “GE Capital Retail Bank has made the difficult decision to discontinue offering the GE Capital Sport Finance program to your store(s).” GE also pulled the plug on merchant services accounts for Visa and Mastercard point-of-sale terminals in gun stores that had agreed to go with the company for its credit and debit card-swiping service.

GE Capital isn’t the first finance company to shun those who make their living from gun-related sales and services. In fact, the company’s exit marks the removal of gun stores’ only remaining option for offering consumer financing for their products, according to Bloomberg.

Lawmakers Trying To Exempt Themselves From Obamacare

That’s right: Congressional kleptocrats are meeting in secret to sort out a legal way they can exempt themselves from having to join the very same insurance exchange groups they created when they voted for President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010.

POLITICO broke the story late Wednesday, revealing that leaders from both parties, as well as the Obama Administration, have, for months, been holding confidential meetings to discuss exempting members of Congress and Capitol Hill aides from participating in one of the central pillars of Obamacare.

Never mind that regular Americans don’t have a voice in Washington to assure them the same kind of exemptions.

The story quotes an anonymous source who reveals just how aware of their crimes Congressional leaders like House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) really are: “Everyone has to hold hands on this and jump, or nothing is going to get done.”

There’s no way to know how pervasive all these discussions have been, or if libertarian-leaning conservative darlings like Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) have, in private, taken any kind of principled stand against such hypocrisy — or if they were ever even included in the scheme’s  loop of information.

It’s strange, at the least, that no Obamacare opponent in Congress has blown the whistle on these meetings, if they’ve been going on for months. A lot of political capital could have accrued to the right conservative tattler over a story like this one. Maybe silence is an honor-among-thieves thing in Congress.

With that said, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) ripped the talks after the story hit, telling Breitbart through a spokesman that McConnell:

[D]oes not support, and is not involved in drafting, legislation that would do special favors for Congress when his constituents are still facing the increased premiums and taxes, the mountains of red tape, the loss of health care plans they like and want to keep and fewer jobs under Obamacare…It’s no surprise that Democrats would want to exempt themselves from the train wreck they created in Obamacare, but Sen. McConnell believes the entire country should be exempt from this historic mistake. The law is a disaster and needs to be repealed.

One source told POLITICO the talks are, in part, intended to prevent “brain drain” on Capitol Hill, since Obamacare mandates could motivate Federal employees to enter the private sector to get out from under the plan’s coverage setup for government workers.

That’s a telling statement, if for no other reason than that it reveals just how destructive Obamacare is to capitalism and the profit motive and how it inversely rewards merit and individual accomplishment.

Too, it reveals how Washington leaders see the circumstances as exemption-worthy when they encounter a specific problem that conflicts with the wisdom belied by their own voting patterns.

Hey, we’ve all got problems.

As they prepare to implement Obamacare, States like Maryland are having millions of them.

U.S. Underground Economy Getting Bigger As Traditional Economy Contracts

Analysts cited in a CNBC story Wednesday believe the mainstream economy in the U.S. would look a lot worse, if not for a burgeoning off-the-grid network of transactions that has kept many Americans afloat as traditional employment has suffered.

Experts believe the underground economy may account for as much as $2 trillion per year in the United States, with all of those untaxed transactions falling beneath the radar of the Internal Revenue Service.

Tellingly, one professor compares the circumstances surrounding the surge in the American underground economy to those of developing countries, with participants motivated by a combination of desperation over generating income by traditional means and resignation that things aren’t going to fix themselves.

“You normally see underground economies in places like Brazil or in southern Europe,” said Fordham University professor Laura Gonzalez. “But with the job situation and the uncertainty in the economy, it’s not all that surprising to have it growing here in the United States.”

DARPA Developing Satellite-Free GPS-Replacement Technology

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is developing an alternative for global positioning systems the military hopes to use as a means of weaning soldiers from any need for dependence on a systemic array of satellites and signaling networks.

Citing concerns that enemy technology can scramble GPS signals, confuse American equipment and strand men in the field, DARPA and researchers at the University of Michigan are working on autonomous locating devices that could be carried individually — residing on tiny chips that use accelerometers and gyroscopes to pinpoint a person’s position and direction of travel.

“DARPA envisages using this technology to replace GPS in some contexts, especially in small-caliber ammunition or for monitoring people,” observes France24.

Store Pulls Pressure Cookers, Weiner Comes Clean, ‘We’ve Had Enough Bushes,’ Celebs Consume Poverty Lifestyle, Taxing The Flu: Thursday Morning News Roundup 4-25-2013

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.

 

  • The Williams-Sonoma chain of upscale kitchen stores has decided to temporarily remove pressure cookers from its Massachusetts stores. Insensitive Crate & Barrel, meanwhile, is still selling them. And, at last check, evil gas stations were still selling explosive gasoline.

 

  • Disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner, who’s trying to make a political comeback in a bid for the New York City mayor’s office, admitted Wednesday there may be more embarrassing photos of himself floating around besides the 2011 ones he tweeted that led him to resign from office.

 

  • Amid talk that son Jeb may be considering a run at the Presidency in 2016, former first lady Barbara Bush doesn’t sound enthused about the next generation of Bushes entering national politics. “He’s by far the most qualified man, but no,” Babs told the “Today” show. “We’ve had enough Bushes.”

 

  • Ben Affleck and other celebrities are attempting to raise awareness for worldwide hunger by pledging to live for $1.50 per day as part of the Global Poverty Project’s “Live Below The Line” campaign. For people who feel guilty about being wealthy, choosing a week of austerity stems from the same consumerist impulse as buying a new Jaguar.

 

  • Congress is set to impose a 75 cent per-shot tax on flu vaccines administered in the United States, in anticipation of raising more than $100 million to fund a “no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system for resolving vaccine injury claims.” The fund itself has been around since 1988, and has paid out $2.5 billion. Its current balance without the tax? $3.5 billion.

 

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

U.S. Gives Preferential Treatment to Saudi Travelers As Number Of Post-9/11 Immigrants Surges

Amid an ongoing debate over the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill and its hasty omission of national security measures and only three weeks after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) granted “trusted traveler” status to Saudi Arabia, CNS News has published a report revealing the number of Saudi students living in the United States has increased fivefold since Sept. 11, 2001.

Whether you’re a 9/11 truther or a believer in the official line that 15 of the 19 men who plotted and carried out the attacks were from Saudi Arabia (and may have had help from some pretty high places) doesn’t matter: The comparatively light scrutiny Saudi nationals receive when attempting to enter the U.S. is cause for concern.

According to the report, there were 5,579 Saudi nationals enrolled in U.S. colleges at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks. Last year, there were 34,139.

The Presidential infatuation with Saudi Arabia transcends political parties; George W. Bush was slammed post-9/11 for targeting Iraq while holding out on any sort of condemnation of Saudi extremism. Bush was President for most of the period between 2001 and 2012, and much of the influx happened under his watch. But the Saudi number has taken off under Barack Obama; it jumped from 22,704 to 34,139 — a 50.4 percent increase — last year alone.

Glenn Beck has been making a lot of noise since last week’s Boston Marathon attacks about a Saudi national who initially received some scrutiny from the FBI and DHS as a possible suspect. The student, Ali Al-Harbi, came to the United States via Boston, ostensibly to enroll at an Ohio university that has no record of his attendance.

Beck maintains that Al-Harbi went from primary suspect marked on DHS’ ‘No-fly” list to witness to free man to victim in a matter of hours because of an Obama Administration cover-up, one that presumably hides inscrutable arrangements between the White House and the Saudi government.

States Get Crafty In Effort To Ease Cost Of Obamacare

Lawmakers in Washington State have devised a way to bail State government out of massive new costs related to funding Obamacare mandates, by rearranging part-time public worker classifications so that more employees become eligible for coverage under a Federal exchange program — where they’ll be covered by Federal, instead of State, dollars.

In order to do that, a lot of part-time workers will have to give up their present coverage, choosing instead from among private plans set up under an exchange program run by the State. How will that save the State money? Because health exchanges, a key feature of President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, are eligible for Federal subsidy.

For States like Washington that have signed on to Obamacare, it’s a futile attempt at exerting some measure of sovereignty in implementing an unfunded — or grossly underfunded — Federal mandate.

The more States realize how big a chunk Obamacare will take from their annual budgets, the more they’ll seek ways to displace that burden by “qualifying” more covered individuals for insurance coverage that the Federal government, under the new law, must pay for.

But doing so debases insurance coverage and drives up premiums, as more people who previously went without coverage join the ranks of the insured. And in order for Obamacare States to keep up with the jump in enrollees and the accompanying jump in State costs, they will have to agree to more subsidizing by the Feds — subsidizing that comes across only if the States agree to all the terms.

It’s a vicious cycle. The Federal government can continue to justify an expansion of sovereign powers over the States as long as it regulates them into an untenable position of either accepting Federal subsidies, per the terms of the Act, or opting out altogether and watching their annual public revenues disappear under the crushing weight of Medicaid.

Washington State’s proposal isn’t the only example of a State government innovating ways  to put the costs of Obamacare back on Washington, D.C. Because the Obamacare plan stipulates that anyone who works more than 30 hours a week is a “full time” employee for coverage purposes, States like Virginia already have slashed wage-grade public employees’ hours in order to put them in the group eligible for Federal subsidy.