The Worm Has Turned, Don’t Delay Me, Bro!, IRS Vs. Son Of A Preacher Man, ‘Assume You’re Being Watched’ Says Drudge, March Of The Magical Gay Elves: Wednesday Morning News Roundup 5-15-2013

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.

  • POLITICO isn’t known for Barack Obama bashing. That’s what makes this analysis, released late Tuesday, all the more fascinating. The President’s own party kin are jumping ship on his Administration, as scandals pile up and the Democratic rank and file sickens of his petulant “holier-than-thou rhetoric.”
  • The President’s half-brother got the expeditious treatment when his “charity,” the Barack H. Obama Foundation, applied to the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status back in 2011 — as conservative nonprofits sat on the sidelines, waiting for the same approval. Worse, Malik Obama’s group got retroactive tax exemption dating back to late 2008.
  • The son of Billy Graham came forward Tuesday, revealing that the nonprofit bearing his father’s name was among the conservative groups stonewalled by the IRS’ artificially Kafkaesque demands for documentation before granting the group tax-exempt status.
  • Matt Drudge, he of the venerable Drudge Report, has a warning for anybody with anything significant to say — especially about the government — following news that the U.S. Department of Justice had secretly and illegally culled two months’ worth of data from the AP’s phone records: “Assume all your communications are being monitored.”
  • Tired of all the confessional, self-segregating coming-out parties the media throws for gay celebrities who Must Be Good Because They’re Gay? So’s Bret Easton Ellis, the self-confessed, sorta-gay author of Less Than Zero and American Psycho. Writing against the grain in Out magazine, Ellis said the media-maudlin “reign of the Gay Man as Magical Elf” is much ado over “what should be considered just another neutral fact that is nobody’s business.”

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

It Goes Deeper: IRS Shared Conservatives’ Confidential Info With ProPublica Journalism Group

ProPublica, the nonprofit news organization that specializes in investigative journalism, revealed Wednesday that the same Internal Revenue Service office alleged to have intentionally bogged down Tea Party nonprofits and other conservative groups with needless documentation demands during the run-up to the 2012 Presidential election also shared the still-pending, confidential tax-exemption applications of nine of those groups with — you guessed it — ProPublica.

According to a story posted to ProPublica’s website late Monday, the group had, for months, reported on the activities of several political nonprofits — with the financial information redacted — because the general topic was newsworthy during election season.

But in light of the ongoing IRS scandal involving alleged sabotage of the Obama Administration’s potential enemies, the agency also admitted it’s only fair play to disclose, now, that the IRS supplied much of the information ProPublica had used in its earlier reports:

In response to a request for the applications for 67 different nonprofits last November, the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent ProPublica applications or documentation for 31 groups. Nine of those applications had not yet been approved–meaning they were not supposed to be made public. (We made six of those public, after redacting their financial information, deeming that they were newsworthy.)

… Before the 2012 election, ProPublica devoted months to showing how dozens of social-welfare nonprofits had misled the IRS about their political activity on their applications and tax returns. Social-welfare nonprofits are allowed to spend money to influence elections, as long as their primary purpose is improving social welfare. Unlike super PACs and regular political action committees, they do not have to identify their donors.

Applications for tax-exempt status are not allowed to be made public until after the IRS has approved a nonprofit group’s tax-exempt status. Notably, the agency reports that the IRS never offered up any liberal nonprofits’ applications for tax-exempt status. And the IRS hasn’t gotten back with ProPublica after the group requested to know who at the IRS is responsible for originally sharing the off-limits information.

ProPublica was launched with funding from the Sandler Foundation to “strengthen the progressive infrastructure” in investigative journalism. It received $125,000 from the George Soros-funded Open Society Foundations, an amalgam of other international foundations that, themselves, also are predominantly funded by Soros.

Rand Sums It Up: Obama Is Drunk On Power

Whatever your party ideology is, whatever the ideals — left or right — you profess as critical to the understanding of how America’s ongoing experiment in free Constitutional Republicanism will continually emerge successful, you have to hew to what you believe.

Elected leaders whose explanations of their vision for the Nation resonated with enough voters to put them in office actually have to enact their visions, or at least do things, once in office, that don’t subvert the principles they sold to the people at the time they campaigned for their favor.

President Barack Obama had a lot of political raw material to work with in 2008, positioning himself as a transparent, open and accessible answer to the cultivated perception of the George W. Bush White House as a devilish, secretive, power-mad boys’ club — a pillaging cabal of Statists who appeared on TV news shows as guys who reveled in the expansion of power to achieve honorable aims by sinister, ignoble, illegal means.

Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Ari Fleischer, Condoleezza Rice: The names still conjure, in the memory, the indelible image of the unique power culture that emerged in the W. era.

So what if you have to give up your privacy? Did you see what just happened to those two towers, all those people? So what if you’re inconvenienced by a little roughhousing at the airport? Don’t you want to play even a passive role in securing the homeland? So what if there weren’t any weapons of mass destruction? We ended up taking out a real bad guy, didn’t we? Hey, we don’t make the weather; but don’t you want the Federal Emergency Management Agency to nail things down while the Corps of Engineers hires some guys I know to make sure your polluted, depressed industrial corridor doesn’t have to be relocated to the Atchafalaya basin? And so it goes.

But none of that surprised anyone. The Republican White House of 2000-2008 walked as it talked. If the Feds wanted to snoop on you and if they wanted you to bleed a little for the greater good, Fleischer and Scott McClellan got out in front of a Presidential Seal symbol and told you why their boss thought it was a good idea. In so many ways, they said: “This is the President’s agenda, and this is why he thinks it’s the best thing for the Nation. We know we’ve got the power; now watch us use it.”

Nothing remotely approaching even that degree of openness has emanated from the White House since 2008, when Obama said this to the leaders of Federal agencies:

My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.

With each snoop scandal; with each cover-up; with each wiretap amendment or backdoor cybersurveillance revelation; with each executive order to keep documents classified; with each internal memo telling department heads to make spending cuts painful on Americans; with every silence on whether Americans are fair game for drone strikes; with each coordinated attack on the 2nd Amendment or quiet assault on the firearms free market; with each inexplicable concession to the Saudi terrorist-birthing regime; with each flush of a Freedom of Information Act request down the toilet; with each unresolved, unaddressed lie about what the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was doing tracking guns in Mexico: With each of these revelations, and more, the Obama White House adds another spectacular dollop of hypocrisy to a crooked Presidential legacy unparalleled, so far as we know, since the administration of Richard Nixon.

Obama does not walk his talk. The message is diametrically opposed to the deed. And there is no way on Earth it’s inadvertent, no way to cobble together an apology of such hypocrisy as simple misplaced idealism or the seeking of noble goals by ignoble means. Hell, no one — but no one — knows what the goals are anymore. Talking points are hollow.

And it’s gotten too egregious to seem rooted in rationality. The inconsistencies between talk and action are just too perplexing. The delusional pathology presents similarly to that of an addict or a drunk.

On Monday, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told FOX News:

I think of what Lincoln said. He said … if you really want to test a man, give him power.

I think, in that sense, the president is failing that test of power, because he has extraordinary power and he’s supposed to be able to be wise enough to restrain himself.

But he’s using the power of government to investigate his enemies. He’s tapping the phones of the press. And it turns out last year he signed legislation that allows him to detain an American without a trial and send them to Guantanamo Bay.

This sounds like a president somewhat drunk on power — not cautious about how he uses his power.

Can a bender this wild last four more years?

Obama Gets Washington Post’s Top ‘Honor’ For Lying On Benghazi

The Washington Post dismantled President Barack Obama’s insistence on Monday that his administration has, from the beginning, acknowledged last year’s Benghazi, Libya embassy assault as a terrorist attack.

At a Monday news conference, Obama told reporters, “The day after it happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism.”

The paper put that statement through its venerable “Pinocchio Test,” a sort of tongue-in-cheek star-rating system (they use Pinocchios instead of stars) that assesses the degree of B.S. in various officials’ public promises.

The Pinocchio Test found Obama’s verbal legerdemain to be worthy of the most dubious of honors: Four lying Pinocchios out of a possible four:

During the [2012 Presidential] campaign, the president could just get away with claiming he said “act of terror,” since he did use those words — though not in the way he often claimed. It seemed like a bit of after-the-fact spin, but those were his actual words — to the surprise of Mitt Romney in the debate.

But the president’s claim that he said “act of terrorism” is taking revisionist history too far, given that he repeatedly refused to commit to that phrase when asked directly by reporters in the weeks after the attack. He appears to have gone out of his way to avoid saying it was a terrorist attack, so he has little standing to make that claim now.

Indeed, the initial unedited talking points did not call it an act of terrorism. Instead of pretending the right words were uttered, it would be far better to acknowledge that he was echoing what the intelligence community believed at the time – and that the administration’s phrasing could have been clearer and more forthright from the start.

IRS Silent In Face Of Congressional Demand For Discriminatory Documents

Last Friday, the Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives demanded the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) turn over copies of all internal communication that referred to self-styled conservative groups that contained words like “conservative,” patriot” or “tea party.”

As of Tuesday, despite mounting revelations that the IRS may be guilty of more than just discriminating against conservatives during an election season, the agency hadn’t replied. CNS News reports that Wednesday is the deadline that the Ways and Means committee had established for the IRS to come clean.

The agency’s acting commissioner is set to testify before the Ways and Means Committee this Friday, at a hearing that also will hear testimony from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Jay Carney: ‘People’ In The White House ‘Were Aware’ IRS Targeted Conservatives, But No One Acted

Is there even a script anymore?

Presidential press secretary Jay Carney admitted Tuesday that there were “people” in the White House who knew conservative nonprofits were complaining that the Internal Revenue Service had been, to borrow the President’s phrase, “gumming up the works” as they attempted to achieve the same timely tax-exempt status their liberal-leaning peers enjoyed ahead of the 2012 Presidential election.

But, he said, nobody troubled themselves to do anything.

“I’m sure people were aware of, and knew, some of the stories that had been reported about the complaints, but we were not aware of any activity or of any review conducted by the inspector general until several weeks ago,” Carney said, responding to a question by Chuck Todd of MSNBC.

Todd wasn’t satisfied with an answer like that, so he pressed Carney further. That elicited this from the President’s mouthpiece:

Let’s just say that — well, first of all, for all the reasons why distance between — you know, why the IRS should not be politicized, you know — there has to be that distance.

But on the specific question that you had, I want to wait and see what the report says and wait and see what we actually know happened and what the facts are before we comment beyond what the president said yesterday on this matter, and before we make any decisions or pronouncements about what actions should be taken. I mean, you heard the president say what he believed and what he feels what is reported about specific targeting turned out to be true. But we need to see if that’s actually the case.

Tough-guy actor Claude Akins once hawked a product on TV by famously tossing aside his lines to go straight into testimonial mode, telling the director, “I don’t need this script.”

The same thing evidently happened a while back at the White House, somewhere between the 2012 campaign and the President’s crazy trip to Texas last week.

But the Obama Administration does need a script. Carney can’t take much more.

Barack Passes The Buck, It’s Gonna Blow!, Pelosi Loves IRS Scandal, Spies Like This?, Black Gold Back Again: Tuesday Morning News Roundup 5-14-2013

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.

 

  • President Barack Obama used White House press secretary Jay Carney to dissemble on Monday’s damning news that the Department of Justice had secretly monitored phone communications at The Associated Press. “We are not involved,” said Carney, who told reporters to go ask the DOJ.

 

  • A volcano near Mexico City has officials preparing to evacuate tens of thousands of people, as the 17,887-foot “Popo,” which lies 40 miles South of North America’s most populous city, has begun showing signs of life.

 

  • Instead of condemning the Internal Revenue Service for targeting conservative nonprofits during the 2010 election season, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is running straight at the controversy with arms wide open. She thinks the scandal provides an opportunity to take down more conservative groups.

 

  • Russia arrested an American named Ryan Fogle in Moscow early Tuesday on suspicion of spying for the CIA after agents allegedly encountered him with two wigs, three pairs of sunglasses, a microphone, a knife and a bunch of money.

 

  • The United States is expected to generate one-third of the world’s new oil over the next five years, slowing dependence on Mideast petroleum and proffering lower domestic energy costs. Will American economic policy over the same period deal with flush times better than in the past?

 

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

Senator On Guns: ‘Confiscate, Confiscate, Confiscate!’

It’s always nice when gun grabbers out their agenda in ways that belie their intentions.

Audio from a Senate hearing on gun control last week outed three State Senators who lingered after talks were finished, with each sharing a slice of elitist thought that has little to do with upholding Constitutional oaths, but lots to do with expanding the state’s control over individual freedoms and widening the cultural gap between citizens and the elected class.

From the May 9 meeting of the Senate Budget and Appropriation Committee, three or four women can be heard discussing a renewed strategy for gun control, following the defeat of the Manchin-Toomey Act in the Senate last month.

The audio quality is spotty, but the tone of the conversation — as well as the unambiguous nature of that portion of the talk that was clearly captured — reveals a smug and condescending take on just what the 2nd Amendment really means to the Americans it was conceived to protect.

“We needed a bill that is going to confiscate, confiscate, confiscate,” the first woman, whose identity still isn’t known, appears to say.

“They want to keep the guns out of the hands of the bad guys, but they don’t have any regulations to do it,” responds State Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-N.J.).

“They don’t care about the bad guys. All they want to do is to have their little guns and do whatever they want with them,” intones State Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-N.J.).

“That’s the line they’ve developed,” finishes State Senator Linda Greenstein (D-N.J.).

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMptQ_YfvzE&w=560&h=315]

It doesn’t matter who said it. Perhaps the strongest indictment of the gun-control agenda comes not from that remark, but from Cunningham’s belittling attitude toward American gun owners who, she scorns, want to “have their little guns and do whatever they want with them.”

Well, actually — yeah. They do want to have their little guns and do whatever they want with them. To deride that conviction is just another way of mocking the 2nd Amendment’s guarantee that the right to bear arms “shall not be infringed.”

IRS Double Standard Tax Dragnet Also Sought Out Advocates of Constitutional And Government Reform

It wasn’t just Tea Party types whom the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) singled out for extra tax scrutiny over the past two years. The politically driven effort to stymie the goals of suspected conservatives extended to nonprofits and social-welfare groups that advocate for changes in government spending and educating the public on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

On Friday, the IRS apologized for going after more than 70 groups that had “patriot” and “Tea Party” in their names — groups that, starting ahead of the 2012 election season, had become deluged with extra paperwork demands after applying to the agency for tax-exempt status.

In all, though, there were about 300 groups that faced similar stonewalling. All of them had applications that were “flagged” by the IRS for extra documentation and investigation as they sought nonprofit tax exemption. And they all had a lot in common: They all betrayed some dissatisfaction with the U.S. government or the desire to educate the public about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which functions independently within the treasury Department to audit IRS practices, is investigating the origin of the agency’s discrimination, including how it was authorized, by whom and when it all started.

FOX News reported Monday the Inspector General’s office has a rudimentary timeline of events that political opponents of both President Barack Obama and moderate RINOs were already being harassed in early 2010. But:

[I]t shows that the list of criteria [was] drastically expanding by the time a June 2011 briefing was held. It then included groups focused on government spending, government debt, taxes, and education on ways to “make America a better place to live.” It even flagged groups whose file included criticism of “how the country is being run.”

By early 2012, the criteria were updated to include organizations involved in “limiting/expanding government,” education on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and social economic reform.

Under Obama, the IRS is looking more like a policy deployment and enforcement arm of for the executive branch than a dispassionate and aloof tax-collection agency.

For elected chief executives who aspire to dictatorship, it makes sense. That’s because, if a President wants to enact his extraConstitutional whims with an absolute minimum of resistance, there’s no other government agency that possesses such a unique combination of fear-inspiring absolutism and ubiquity. Everyone (in theory) pays taxes, and almost everyone is too afraid of criminal and financial repercussions to view the IRS as that part of government that can be reasoned with. Perfect.

Take the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) as one example.

“Obamacare relies very heavily on the IRS,” said former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich Monday. “Why would you trust the bureaucracy with your health if you can’t trust the bureaucracy with your politics? … There are bureaucrats in the IRS who are capable of ruining your life while lying about it.”

In 2014, when Obamacare is the law of the land, taxpayers will have to complete an additional IRS form that will require their personal identifying health information, including information about their health insurance provider and how long they’ve been covered.

Gosnell The Murderer, Feds Spying On the AP, Senate Majority Leader Defends IRS, Courts Rubber-Stamp Classified Info, Pot’s OK In Vermont: Afternoon News Links 5-13-2013

Brush up on the day’s headlines with Personal Liberty’s afternoon update.

  • Kermit Gosnell, who severed the spinal cords of infants born in spite of abortion attempts at his West Philadelphia clinic, was convicted Monday of three counts of first-degree murder. Read more…
  • In what is being called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” by the news organization’s top executive, The Associated Press has discovered that the Justice Department secretly acquired two months’ of phone records on its reporters and editors. Read more…
  • Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has urged his fellow lawmakers to avoid jumping to conclusions with regard to allegations that the Internal Revenue Service singled out conservative nonprofits for excess filing requirements. Read more…
  • One Federal judge told fellow government employees Monday that courts are too lax in considering the actual merit of most Presidential claims that information should remain classified for the sake of national security. Read more…
  • The Vermont House of Representatives voted Monday on a bill, already amended by the State Senate, that would decriminalize marijuana if approved by the Governor. Read more…

Vermont House Moves To Decriminalize Marijuana

The Vermont House of Representatives voted Monday on a bill, already amended by the State Senate, that would decriminalize marijuana if approved by the Governor.

The bill would remove criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce, instead imposing a civil fine after the same fashion as a traffic ticket. Anyone under 21 caught with marijuana would be ordered to submit to a substance abuse screening and would face no jail time.

Governor Peter Shmulin, a Democrat, is expected to approve the bill later in the current Legislative session.

Federal Judge Says President Gets His Way Too Easily With Courts When Hiding ‘Classified’ Documents

One Federal judge told fellow government employees Monday that courts are too lax in considering the actual merit of most Presidential claims that information should remain classified for the sake of national security.

According to a POLITICO report, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said most Federal courts are “far too deferential” to the executive branch when determining whether information is legitimately classified.

“It bothers me that judges, in general, are far too deferential to Exemption 1 claims,” said Lamberth. Exemption 1 claims can allow information, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), to be withheld under executive order.

Lamberth, who was addressing a crowd of employees gathered at a conference for employees who handle FOIA requests, explained he’d observed instances of egregious abuse of the FOIA policy by U.S. intelligence agencies and that courts should be more diligent in considering the merits of future classification claims made by the executive branch.

Entitlement-Inflated University Costs May Soon Succumb To Market Forces

Ever since the first round of ex-soldiers went to college for free on the post-World War II G.I. Bill, the U.S. higher-education network of public and private universities has had its own miniature Federal Reserve-style money printer, in the form of Federal student aid entitlements.

Pell grants, subsidized student loans and an array of other demographically restricted entitlements, targeted at students, have kept free market forces out of the pricing equation for both students and universities, a 50 year-old phenomenon that has incrementally — and artificially — driven up the cost of tuition at schools whose financial aid offices serve as pass-through centers for Federal student aid.

For the universities, the “extra” money brought in by inflated tuition — paid in full, by and large, through a combination of students, Federal aid and, to a lesser extent, university endowments — has been nice. They’ve been able to keep the focus on education for those students and faculty who’ve been serious about the reasons for pursuing a college or postgraduate degree, while simultaneously blurring the meaning of what college is really all about by enticing future students with lavish amenities.

In a column last week, Washington Examiner Senior Analyst Michael Barone made a compelling argument that this financial fantasy world — one that’s coddled the universities and deceived students into believing they’ve gotten real, dollar-for-dollar value from their Federal subsidies — has already gone bust:

Government helped to produce an ever-increasing demand for higher education. So higher education administrators saw no need to compete on price. Higher tuitions just gave your school more prestige.

Now the higher education bubble has burst. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that that the average “tuition discount rate” offered incoming freshmen last fall by private colleges and universities has reached an all-time high of 45 percent.

At the same time, their “sticker price” tuitions have increased by the smallest amount in the last dozen years. Tuitions for in-state students at public four-year colleges and universities also increased by the smallest amount during that period.

Applicants are negotiating bigger discounts than they used to. Market competition has kicked in.

What has happened is that in a recessionary and sluggish economy potential customers have been figuring out that a college diploma may not be a good investment — particularly if it entails six-figure college loan debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

Back in 2011, the cumulative total of outstanding student loan debt in the United States surpassed the $1 trillion milestone — more than Americans collectively owe on credit cards. What have students been getting for the money they owe, as well as the money the Feds are paying their schools on students’ behalf? More administrators. “The scariest number I’ve seen is that in the Cal State system between 1970 and 2008… the number of faculty only went up 3 percent, but the number of administrators went up 237 percent,” said Sean Flynn, a Scripps Economics professor. “The entire educational system has had massive amounts of money thrown at it and most of it has gone to things that have not improved the actual educational outcomes.”

Market forces are starting to kick in, as college costs finally soar too high to make attendance feasible for parents and students. Yet even with Federal aid “discounts,” the blot doesn’t mean tuition will be dropping. Rather, it’s likely to settle out and grow at a rate that resembles the rest of the Nation’s free market.

Hillsdale College, a private school in Michigan, bucked the Federal Aid carrot-and-stick game way back in 1985, ending all participation in Federal financial aid programs after a decade-long tussle with the Feds. Hillsdale did it in order to remain truly independent from Federal controls handed down in the form of contingency-based subsidies:

In 1975, the federal government said that Hillsdale had to sign a form stating that we did not discriminate on the basis of sex. Hillsdale College had never discriminated on any basis, and had never accepted federal taxpayer subsidies of any sort, so the College felt no obligation to comply, fearing that doing so would open the door to additional federal mandates and control. Our trustees pledged two things: first, that the College would continue its long-standing policy of non-discrimination, and second, that it would not accept any encroachments on its independence. The case went to court…To avoid the hassles of government control, Hillsdale College announced its decision to end participation in all federal financial aid programs in 1985.

Hillsdale College’s 2013 asking price of $21,390 is a lot of money for students and parents to shell out over four years (or more). But the college still offers financial aid from privately sourced endowments, defraying the expense for students who qualify under terms the college — and not the government — has established. It’s also notable that Hillsdale’s sticker price is substantially less than the Federal-aid inflated $29,056 that private U.S. colleges, on average, are charging in 2013.

Department Of Defense Censors 3-D Print Gun Schematic: ‘The United States Government Claims Control’

One of the key proponents of a technology allowing a plastic gun to be assembled through a three-dimensional printing process has been forced to remove all firearms-related schematics from a personal defense website that had made the designs available for free.

The U.S. Department of Defense sent a letter last Thursday to Defense Distributed, the free speech and 2nd Amendment advocacy group behind the website, demanding all the material be taken down. Defense Distributed had created a companion website known as DEFCAD, a self-described “makeshift” site intended to host firearms-related files previously self-censored by Makerbot, which manufactures 3-D printers and provides info on how to use them.

You can still visit the site and browse all the stuff that, before last week, was available for 3D enthusiasts to download. The “Liberator” schematic was downloaded 100,000 times in only two days. But all the “download” links, for all the schematics, have been changed. It’s now a “look, but don’t touch” affair.

The government censor came only three days after the group announced it had successfully test-fired its first prototype of a 3-D printed weapon it had dubbed the “Liberator,” a device whose only non-plastic component is its metal firing pin:

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drPz6n6UXQY&w=560&h=315]

 

The DEFCAD site now has an alert at the top of all its pages:

DEFCAD files are being removed from public access at the request of the US Department of Defense Trade Controls. Until further notice, the United States government claims control of the information.

When you scroll down to the area of each page where downloads had previously been available, this is what you see:

DEFCAD_DENY

While 3D printers are still more expensive than most guns, the theoretical endgame of the new capability — which essentially democratizes the process of manufacturing firearms and makes it possible to create guns at home, away from the existing infrastructure of dealers, licensing and background checks — is already drawing the wrath of liberals in Congress.

Residents Taking Over Public Services In Financially Crippled Detroit

Residents on lawn mowers have formed a “Mower Gang” in Detroit, determined to maintain public aesthetics in a city where there’s not enough public money to pay enough workers to keep overgrown parks, roadsides and medians usable and clean.

TheBlaze reported Friday that many people who’ve chosen to persevere in their near-bankrupt city, whether wealthy or not, are contributing their money, skills and time to keep up many of the public services that the city simply can’t handle.

“When the system fails us, you have to become the system,” one volunteer explained.

In addition to providing landscape maintenance, Detroit volunteers are also equipping the city with new ambulances and squad cars for cops, as well as planting trees in parks and other public spaces.

Detroit came under State control in March, when Governor Rick Snyder appointed a financial manager to navigate the withering city out of an immediate $327 million budget deficit, as well as figure out a way to tackle more than $14 billion in debt.

Illinois Can’t Keep Up With Inundation Of Firearm Permit Requests

The little card that identifies Illinois residents as lawful gun owners has gotten incredibly hard to obtain, as State police report an enormous backlog of applications since December of last year.

According to a CBS Chicago report, Illinois State Police are already 76,000 applications behind in processing citizens’ requests for Firearms Owner Identification (FOID) Cards — and that was before April, when an additional 28,000 applications poured in.

The approval process is designed to approve or deny an applicant’s request within 30 days, but budget cuts and understaffing are supposedly exacerbating the delays.

A lobbyist with the National Rifle Association is also pushing the State to expedite the renewal process for gun owners whose cards are expiring. FOID cards must be renewed every 10 years.

 

FAA Refuses To Disclose Nuisance ‘Mystery Aircraft’ To Residents, City Leaders

The Mayor and city council of Quincy, Mass., have been trying to get some kind of statement out of officials with the Federal Aviation Administration regarding a two-week-long ordeal in which residents have seen — and heard — some kind of unidentified, low-flying aircraft buzzing over the city every night, from sundown to sunup.

Officials know the aircraft isn’t a part of any State or local police patrol, so it obviously must be something Federal — or at least sanctioned by the Feds. But the FAA’s not talking.

Even if the agency won’t reveal what the aircraft is for intelligence reasons, local officials are sympathetic — so long as the Feds will at least, for residents’ peace of mind, describe the general nature of the flights.

The FAA refuses.

“I specifically asked, ‘Is it a law enforcement flight? Can we tell people that?’” city council member Brian Palmucci told CBS Boston. “He said, ‘No, we can’t tell you that.’ Then I asked that when folks call me can I at least tell them that it is something that they shouldn’t worry about; it’s something they shouldn’t be concerned with? He said, ‘I can’t tell you that.’”

According to the witnesses, the aircraft flies only when the weather is clear. Observers also say the plane isn’t a drone, and that it is being flown by someone inside the craft.

“We’d like to be able to give our citizens some answers, but we don’t have any answers,” said Mayor Tom Koch.

Immigration Bill Expands Authority Of DHS Empire, Allows Big Sis To Overrule Enforcement

If the immigration reform bill before the Senate passes, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano will gain the power to pre-empt the enforcement efforts of the Nation’s Immigration and Customs officers on a case-by-case basis.

In a letter submitted to Congress Thursday by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council of the Nation’s largest Federal employees’ union, along with nearly 30 county sheriffs from across the country, the law enforcement community called upon lawmakers to object to language in the bill that would give DHS appointees far-reaching discretionary powers that would undermine the efforts of on-the-ground agents who make arrests in accordance with the law:

Congress can and must take decisive steps to limit the discretion of political appointees and empower ICE and CBP [Customs and Border Protection] to perform their respective missions and enforce the laws enacted by Congress. Rather than limiting the power of those political appointees within DHS, S. 744 [the bill] provides them with nearly unlimited discretion, which will serve only to further cripple the law enforcement missions of these agencies.

…Unfortunately, S. 744 provides no guarantee of increased border security. Instead, it relinquishes Congress’ authority to establish border security measures to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which will then develop its own unilateral border security plan.

… The degree to which this legislation tolerates both past and future criminal activities ensures legalization and a path to citizenship for many criminal aliens and gang members currently residing in the United States.

What kind of “unlimited discretion” would pass from enforcement agents, working under Congress’s authority, to Big Sis?

  • The power to waive misdemeanor criminal convictions (which, in some States, can include assault, DUI and vehicular homicide) for purposes of determining an illegal’s “Registered Provisional Immigrant” status.
  • The discretion to open legal eligibility to illegals who have committed document fraud and evaded court-ordered removal hearings.
  • Giving the DHS Secretary discretion to pardon any crime that would make an applicant ineligible, if that applicant can claim family unity, a humanitarian need or any other mitigating factor that the Secretary, according to her own definition, “believes is in the public interest.”
  • Granting the DHS Secretary “sole and unreviewable discretion” to deem eligible any illegal who previously has been deported — even though the bill states that deportees aren’t otherwise eligible even to apply for legal status.

After fighting over the significance of Republicans’ demands to put border security ahead of any policy reform, the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected a GOP-led effort Thursday that would have included language intended to slow the path to legal residence for those immigrants already living in the U.S. illegally.

Can You Smell What Barack Is Cooking? President Evangelizes Liberalism To Latent Hispanic Voters On Texas Jobs Visit

It requires generalization, assumption and condescending disdain to complete a circle of logic that presumes a lemming-like, groupthink mentality as a defining characteristic of all the members of an amorphous and diverse ethnic population.

So NPR stepped up and did a generalizing, assuming and condescending story Thursday on how, if President Barack Obama can start getting himself in front of the State’s Hispanic citizens, they’ll start voting more often. The presumptuous part is, of course, that they’ll vote Democratic and turn the political tide in Red Texas. The story doesn’t go into much detail about why that’s so. It’s just a simple fact mainstream media seems to take for granted.

Texas Governor Rick Perry was set to greet Obama in Austin Thursday, with the President hitting the Lone Star State as the first stop on his “Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity” economic pep rally tour.

The visit is ostensibly all about jobs and the economy, a way for Obama to refocus one of his key administrative ambitions after botching one hare-brained Congressional collaboration after another since the start 2013. But the Texas trip also gives the President a chance to extend the poison apple of liberal policy to what NPR portrayed as a massive segment of would-be voters in Texas that, if treated generally, hasn’t shown much interest in politics.

Ahead of his arrival in a low-regulation, pro-business State with an economy among the Nation’s strongest, the President had already signaled he’d follow his established pattern of co-opting others’ success and then flipping the script.

On Wednesday, Wayne Slater of The Dallas News succinctly forecast how Obama’s strategy would unfold:

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says the president is traveling to Texas tomorrow because while there’s lots of gridlock and partisan infighting in Washington, the Lone Star State is home to the kind of economic growth Obama wants to highlight…

…Some words you’re likely to hear tomorrow in Texas: middle class, economic opportunity, education, jobs.

Some words you won’t hear: Battleground Texas, an effort by several Obama campaign veterans to relocate in the state and begin a project aimed at turning reliably Republican Texas blue.

“Obama lost Texas by more than 1 million votes last year. But Democrats believe their fortunes in the Lone Star State may soon change, thanks to demographics and a new organizational push,” offers NPR, quoting a political demographer who adds there’s “a lot of upside potential for the Latino vote.”

Why, for liberals, does that assumption persist?

Selling quick fixes, mediocrity and safety nets in a race-baiting perversion of the American dream does work — so long as the people who’re buying are uninformed.

The ambitions of generations of blacks in the U.S. have been squelched by liberals whose goal was never to stand to the side while the cream of humanity rose to the top, but to keep as many warm-bodied, functionally illiterate constituents as ignorant as possible, for as long as possible, through entitlements that exempted individuals from the real world; that exempted them from walking the arduous path toward a fundamental education; toward the job market; toward a free, self-willed and prosperous life.

No pain, no gain. And liberals love to take away the pain, to the absurd point of creating a second, parasitic fantasy world — one that feeds off the real one with which it’s become conjoined. Many of the black politicians who have helped carry out that mission were born into the liberal-led entitlement matrix of the post-Civil Rights era, and have never known life outside the bubble. Now they do their masters’ dirty work by proxy.

Don’t make the mistake of accepting that Hispanics who vote have no choice but to vote with liberals. That may one day prove true, from one end of the country to the other, but there’s absolutely nothing inevitable or predestined about it. The insidious liberal campaign to compartmentalize Hispanics into voter chattel isn’t as entrenched or opaque as the same effort among American blacks. And it doesn’t have to win out among Hispanic citizens who believe America is a place that’s supposed to give industrious and hardworking people a fair shot at a better life.

Just ask Texas’ own Ted Cruz.

Chasing The Green Energy Dragon: Obama-Backed Plan Spent $11 Million For Each New Job

The U.S. Department of Energy released updates Wednesday to its maintained list of loan guarantee projects.

The Institute For Energy Research (IER) crunched the numbers and discovered that five years’ worth of taxpayer-diverted funds for renewable energy projects has produced not much more than 2,000 new, permanent jobs since President Barack Obama originally announced his plan, which was to manufacture 5 million jobs from green initiatives over a 10-year period.

“[T]the data are…revealing: for the over $26 billion spent since 2009, DOE Section 1703 and 1705 loan guarantees have created only 2,298 permanent jobs for a cost of over $11.45 million per job,” noted IER.

If Your Husband Kills You To Shut You Up, ‘That’s How It Is In Our Religion,’ Warns Controversial Islamic ‘Life Coach’

A woman who styles herself a “life coach” for Muslims advises other Islamic wives to shut up or face their exasperated husbands’ religiously justified violence with the dignity their pre-ordained domestic role demands.

“Women talk ceaselessly. It’s the woman’s fault if she’s killed,” said Sibel Uresin in an Islamic print magazine column. “It looks better on a woman to be naive, polite and soft, and that’s how it is in our religion.”

Uresin advised women not to offer their opinions, even when their advice is more informed than their husbands’. That’s because they’ve become smug as they’ve begun to enjoy greater economic freedoms, and they have begun to believe that sort of license extends into the home — which, she believes, it clearly doesn’t.