Why Cruz Doesn’t Trust Republicans, Obama Has No Business Asking China To RIMPAC, Crime Victim Charged For Using Gun That Saved Him, NRA Honors Kid Who Ate Pop Tart Until It Resembled Gun: Afternoon News Links 5-30-2013

Brush up on the day’s headlines with Personal Liberty’s P.M. Edition news links.

Here’s Why Cruz Doesn’t Trust The Republicans

Last week, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told the Congressional establishment he didn’t trust them, whether Democrat or Republican, with the task of crafting a budget that will force government to spend within its means. His “Let me be clear: I don’t trust the Republicans” retort to Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) has resonated with true fiscal conservatives nationwide since then. Here’s Why: Read more…

Obama Administration Invites China Into Military-To-Military Joint RIMPAC Naval Exercise

The United States is moving forward with plans to include the Chinese navy in next year’s Rim Of The Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, the largest international warfare exercise in the world. The L.A. Times says U.S. allies should boycott RIMPAC until the U.S. rescinds that invitation, and they’re right. Read more…

Oregon Man Fires Warning Shot At Felon Attempting To Break Into Home, Gets Hauled To Jail

The intended victim of a home invasion in Medford, Ore., was charged with unlawful use of a weapon, reckless endangerment and menacing after he allegedly told the would-be perpetrator, who was attempting to break in through the back door, to get off his property and followed it up by firing a warning shot into the ground. Read more…

Kid Who Ate A Pop Tart Until It Looked Rather Like A Gun Receives Free Lifetime NRA Membership

The National Rifle Association presented 8-year-old Marylander Josh Welch a free lifetime membership, valued at $550, in a lighthearted demonstration of the absurdity of Josh’s school suspension over a gun-shaped pastry. But Welch clearly thinks the whole hoopla over getting in trouble at school for eating a pastry until only the silhouette of a gun remains is just stupid. Read more…

Obama Administration Invites China Into Military-To-Military Joint RIMPAC Naval Exercise

The United States is moving forward with plans to include the Chinese navy in next year’s Rim Of The Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, the largest international warfare exercise in the world.

China’s never participated in the U.S.-led RIMPAC; in fact, it’s never been invited before. But the Pentagon issued an invitation this year, falling in line with President Barack Obama’s evident desire to mollify military relations with a country whose military leaders have gone on record as hopeful for the day when their own fighting power will present a practicable challenge to that of the United States’.

“Our allies should signal their intent to withdraw from the exercise if China participates. Failing that, the invitation should be withdrawn. RIMPAC is for allies and friends, not nations planning to eventually wage war on the United States,” wrote the Los Angeles Times Thursday. “While the Chinese plan to dominate their waters and eventually ours, we are helping them increase their effectiveness with invitations to RIMPAC and other exercises and by including them in joint operations like the one directed against Somali piracy…There is something very wrong at the core of the Obama administration’s and the Pentagon’s China policies.”

Including a country — one possessed of the hostile military momentum China has long been building — in a strategic exercise intended as practice for warding off hostile military threats is both strategically foolish and tactically suicidal. As it continues to grow, both in fleet size and in technological capability, China’s navy, in particular, is positioning itself to wield tremendous political influence at home, regardless of China’s diminishing dependence on American economic fortunes. Is the President really ready to take China into American confidence to so great an extent?

Oregon Man Fires Warning Shot At Felon Attempting To Break Into Home, Gets Hauled To Jail

The intended victim of a home invasion in Medford, Ore., was charged with unlawful use of a weapon, reckless endangerment and menacing after he allegedly told the would-be perpetrator, who was attempting to break in through the back door, to get off his property and followed it up by firing a warning shot into the ground.

According to KDRV-TV, 36-year-old Corey Thompson warded off  the in-progress break-in by grabbing his AR-15 and telling 40-year-old Jonathon Kinsella, a wanted felon, that he’d better stop.

Police responding to a disturbance call at the apartment complex allegedly heard a gunshot, followed by the sight of Kinsella running toward the parking lot. They apprehended Kinsella, then arrested Thompson because, they said, that warning shot could have ricocheted off the ground and hurt someone.

Police have confiscated the weapon until Thompson, an Iraq veteran, has proven his innocence.

Kid Who Ate A Pop Tart Until It Looked Rather Like A Gun Receives Free Lifetime NRA Membership

The National Rifle Association presented 8-year-old Marylander Josh Welch a free lifetime membership, valued at $550, in a lighthearted demonstration of the absurdity of Josh’s school suspension over a gun-shaped pastry.

Josh received the membership from Maryland State Representative Nicholaus Kipke at a local Republican fundraising event “during a tongue-in-cheek presentation that involved a Pop-Tart fashioned into a pistol and gun safety tips,” the Baltimore Sun reports.

Josh was suspended from Park Elementary School for two days in March, after he noticed the Pop Tart he’d been munching on had begun to resemble a pistol in profile and, perhaps unwisely for the then-7-year-old, shared that bit of information with classmates.

Although Josh’s family clearly acquiesced in his participation at the Republican event, he said no one in his family is an NRA member (expect himself), and that he really didn’t know what the NRA is all about. But he clearly thinks the whole hoopla over getting in trouble at school for eating a pastry until only the silhouette of a gun remains is just stupid.

“Everyone keeps asking me why I did it,” he said. “I don’t know why I did it. … I wish people would stop asking me about it.”

Here’s Why Cruz Doesn’t Trust The Republicans

Last week, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told the Congressional establishment he didn’t trust them, whether Democrat or Republican, with the task of crafting a budget that will force government to spend within its means. His “Let me be clear: I don’t trust the Republicans” retort to Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) has resonated with true fiscal conservatives nationwide since then.

In a Breitbart column Thursday, contributor (and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General under President Ronald Reagan) Al Regnery has taken Cruz’ now-famous declaration and used it as the jumping-off point for a little history lesson that serves as an instructive refresher on how, for years, establishment Republicans led the charge toward fiscal irresponsibility that President Barack Obama has simply accelerated.

From Medicare Part D to No Child Left Behind and from the Wall Street bailout to the “original” Republican White House economic stimulus program, establishment Republicans are guilty of the same fiscal foolishness as the current Presidential Administration is perpetrating.

It’s a good read, so check it out and pass it along.

Losing Our Religion, RNC Files F.O.I. for B.O.’s Benghazi Email, IRS Weeding Out Legal Marijuana, Driver’s Licenses For Illegals In Connecticut, You Can’t Escape Detroit: Thursday Morning News Roundup 5-30-2013

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 number of Americans who think religion’s influence is at a low ebb is the highest it’s ever been, according to a new Gallup survey. While 77 percent said the prestige of religion is low, 75 percent also lamented that same perception, saying the country would be stronger if religion played a more prominent role in people’s lives.

 

  • The Republican National Committee (RNC) is filing a Freedom of Information Act request to get at all the Benghazi-related email communication that passed between President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and the U.S. State Department. If it contains the words “Libya” or “Benghazi” and it was sent between Sept. 11, 2012, and Nov. 7, 2012, the RNC wants to read it.

 

  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) hasn’t targeted just the Tea Party to wield the Obama Administration’s agenda. A report Wednesday reveals the IRS has also been targeting businesses that sell medical marijuana in the 18 States where it’s been made legal, evidently in an effort to demonstrate the power of the Feds against the (lesser) powers of the States.

 

  • The Connecticut State Senate passed a bill today that would allow illegal aliens to get driver’s licenses, vehicle insurance and registration. Governor Dannel Malloy, fresh off his triumphant signing of an aggressive gun-grab bill, is expected to sign off on the drivers’ license legislation as well.

 

  • Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is suggesting more laws to help the shrinking, financially crippled city retain its population. He endorses a proposal that would force new city employees to commit to seven years’ of residence in the Motor City. Detroit had nearly 2 million residents at the height of the 1950s automotive boom; today there are only 700,000.

 

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

Fort Worth Police Shoot And Kill 72-Year-Old Who Checked On His Neighbor

Jerry Wayne Waller, a 72-year-old who lived in east Fort Worth, Texas, heard his neighbor’s security alarm going off early Tuesday morning. He lived in an area where most people knew their neighbors, as well as others who lived down the street. So he went outside his house to see what was going on.

But the Dallas-Fort Worth police had already arrived to take care of things. They didn’t let Waller leave his own property alive.

From yesterday’s CBS-DFW television report:

The 72-year-old man didn’t even make it to the house across the street before he was shot. He died on his own property.

Waller reportedly was armed at the time — presumably a precaution before venturing into a potentially dangerous situation, however unlikely it might have seemed. But the police presence raised the potential for danger considerably.

“We heard five shots,” said Becky Haskin, a former Fort Worth city council member who lives in the area. “They were just rapid-fire; one after the other.”

A spokesman for the police department said the officers “felt threatened by the man with the handgun and he was shot.”

At the scene after the killing, Haskin said the badged offenders were “sobbing uncontrollably and very distraught.”

Viewed from a distance, those among the Dallas-Fort Worth police who’ve perpetrated this and similar crimes must be among the most trigger-happy and skittish cops the whole of America’s municipal police population has to offer.

On Wednesday — i.e., only one day ago — we shared the story of the latest civilian death at the department’s hands, that of 350-pound asthmatic Jarmaine Darden, whom DFW cops shot with a Taser, from couch to floor, three times before he stopped breathing and died. That killing marked the fifth documented time DFW police have killed someone with a Taser since 2001.

Haskin said Waller and his wife were good neighbors who always took pride in their community.

“They are just a nice retired couple that loved working in their yard, having family over, and grandkids.”

No police were hurt in Waller’s killing.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Appeals Court Ruling: If We’re Guilty Of Profiling, So Are The Feds

Last week, a Federal court found the Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff’s office guilty of racial profiling in the enforcement of immigration law for singling out Latinos under Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s program of immigration patrols.

Now, the hard-nosed, controversial sheriff with jurisdiction over the Nation’s fifth-largest city is appealing the ruling, saying that the training his deputies received came straight from the same playbook used by Federal immigration enforcement officers.

“One hundred of my deputies were authorized and trained by the Federal government, ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), to enforce Federal immigration law,” Arpaio said in a video-recorded statement. “Now, a Federal Court has ruled that Federal training was unconstitutional, and it led to racial profiling. We will appeal this ruling.

“You know, as Sheriff I uphold the law. The Court’s order is clear. We will no longer detain persons believed to be in the country without authorization whom we cannot arrest on state charges. I have already instructed my deputies.”

The ruling came after a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of Latino groups by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other nonprofits.

Over a three-year period covered by the lawsuit, the Marciopa County Sheriff’s Office detained thousands of illegal immigrants in raids and police stops. U.S. District Judge Murray Snow ruled that Arpaio had guided deputies to violate the 4th and 14th Amendment rights of those imprisoned — even when the imprisoned were not, in fact, U.S. citizens — by initiating contact with suspects not only on the sole suspicion that they might be illegal immigrants, but also because of their appearance, their use of Spanish or their Latino accent.

Defense attorneys have already pledged to use the ruling to exonerate illegal immigrants who are still being detained on pending charges, although it’s not known how many such cases could be reversed.

The ruling also comes with a cease-and-desist order that effectively gets the Sheriff’s Office out of the immigration enforcement game. In testimony, Arpaio had defended his department’s encroachment on what the ruling claims is an enforcement endeavor subject only to Federal jurisdiction: “Ours is an operation, whether it’s the state law or the Federal, to go after illegals; not the crime first, that they happen to be illegals. My program, my philosophy is a pure program. You go after illegals. I’m not afraid to say that. And you go after them and you lock them up.”

Arpaio began enforcing immigration law at the county level in 2006.

Former IRS Head Went To White House 118 Times During Scandal Years

Douglas Shulman, who served as Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from 2008 until late 2012, was a tremendously frequent visitor to President Barack Obama’s White House during the time the agency was involved in actively discriminating against Tea Party conservatives.

According to the Washington Examiner, Shulman, a George W. Bush appointee who nonetheless made campaign donation to the Democratic National Committee, visited with the Presidential Administration an average of one time a week between 2010 and 2011. His five-year term expired in November.

By contrast, former IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, who served under George W. Bush from 2003-2007,told the Examiner he visited the White House only a single time during his entire tenure, saying that experience left him feeling like he’d “moved to Siberia” because of the aloofness of the Bush Administration from the agency’s operational activities.

IRS Acting Director Steven Miller, who succeeded Shulman in November, also made repeated visits to the White House.

Shulman said he couldn’t remember why he went to the White House so frequently, though some of the visits were probably about the IRS’ role in implementing Obama’s health care reforms, he told a congressional committee. Logs show Shulman met with two West Wing officials working on health care.

“The IRS has a major role in the money flow,” Shulman explained to Congress.

But while the health care-related visits were explained in the logs, many others included no explanation. Other sources said the IRS and White House were also talking at the time about an investigation into excessive IRS spending on employee conferences, travel and awards.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said Shulman’s frequent visits make it hard to believe that the IRS and White House never talked about the investigation into the IRS targeting of conservative groups, which was going on at the time — something the White House vigorously denies.

Indeed, the extent of the ongoing interaction between the Obama Administration and the IRS casts doubt on the President’s already implausible claim that, under his leadership, the agency had operated independently of influence from the executive branch. And aside from its own sinister implications, the oft-repeated excuse that Obamacare would need the IRS as a deployment, data-gathering and enforcement arm doesn’t line up with the number or timing of the 118 visits — a fact not lost on Commentary magazine’s John Steele Gordon:

Obama’s sole interest in the tax code has been to raise rates on high earners. So what was the commissioner doing going to the White House more than once a week on average?

One explanation would be the statutory involvement of the IRS in implementing Obamacare. But that bill was signed into law in early 2010. White House logs show on several occasions that he [Shulman] talked with White House staff about health care, but many other times no reason is given for his visit or whom he saw, which in itself is odd.

By his own admission he knew by the spring of 2012 (he resigned in November, 2012) that organizations with the words “Tea Party” in their names were being targeted for extra scrutiny. Is it really believable that someone who had a Wall Street career before coming to Washington five years ago was so politically naïve that he didn’t see the potential for scandal in that information and give the White House a heads-up? And, assuming he did so, is it believable that none of those White House staffers–who can hardly claim political naiveté–did not pass the information along to the president, leaving him to learn of it in the papers?

If so, there are a lot of potential customers to snap up the Brooklyn Bridge at a bargain rate.

Shulman testified before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight last week that, of those 118 times, he met with the President on four occasions, the last of which he said took place on June 5, 2012. He also testified he’d not once discussed any Tea Party complaints with any Administration official during any of his visits.

During that same two-year period, Shulman received more than 130 separate complaints from conservative members of Congress requesting the IRS look into the targeting of conservative nonprofit groups.

Test: Most ‘Honey’ Isn’t Real

A recent test by Food Safety News reveals that three-fourths of the “honey” mass produced and sold in chain supermarkets isn’t, technically, real honey.

That’s because the removal of microscopic pollen particles takes away the ability of food inspectors to determine the source, and the safety, of the modified product. And the majority of grocery store honey is exactly that: modified. Most honey sold in the U.S. is put through a process called “ultra filtering” before it hits the shelves, and that removes honey’s signature ingredient – pollen.

According to the study:

Ultra filtering is a high-tech procedure where honey is heated, sometimes watered down and then forced at high pressure through extremely small filters to remove pollen, which is the only foolproof sign identifying the source of the honey. It is a spin-off of a technique refined by the Chinese, who have illegally dumped tons of their honey – some containing illegal antibiotics – on the U.S. market for years.

Here’s a listing of the brands that didn’t make the cut:

HONEEEEEEY

Texas Set To Approve E-Privacy Protections Stronger Than Federal Law

A bill awaiting Texas Governor Rick Perry’s signature would put the Lone Star State ahead of Congress in protecting the privacy of citizens whose emails, thanks to an existing legal loophole, are currently subject to warrantless seizure.

The law, already approved by both chambers of the State Legislature, follows reforms recommended to Congress by privacy advocates with ties to technological industries. If approved by Perry, it would close a loophole that currently allows law enforcement to seize unopened emails 180 days old (or older), as well as all opened emails, simply by acquiring an administrative subpoena. Instead, investigators would be forced to obtain a search warrant before snooping through any private emails.

Congress is currently considering similar reforms to the 27-year-old Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), but has not yet approved an amended version that emerged from the Senate Judiciary Committee in late April.

Still missing from the final version of the Texas law is a recommended requirement that police obtain a search warrant before tracking residents’ locations through their cellphones’ geolocation data.

U.S. Government Continues To Silently Endorse Saudi Diplomats’ Virtual Enslavement Of Domestic Workers In Virginia

About a month ago, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began investigating the escape of two Filipino women from a mansion in a Washington, D.C., suburb occupied by a Saudi Arabian diplomatic contingent.

The women had apparently been held in a condition of domestic servitude approximating slavery — something common back in theocratic, male-dominated Saudi Arabia.

Diplomatic immunity reigned supreme in the ensuing investigation, and very little new information has been — or likely ever will be — revealed about that case. The two women, who had been working 14 hours a day, seven days a week without pay and living among the Saudi military attaché after their passports allegedly had been taken from them, ended up in protective custody after escaping. A Saudi embassy spokesman in the United States clammed up when pressed about what was going on in the house.

Now, another alleged foreign national has come forward with a similar human trafficking story, relating how she was essentially kidnapped into domestic slavery at another Virginia home occupied by Saudi diplomats in the Washington suburbs.

NBC 4 in Washington interviewed the woman, speaking under the assumed name of Sheila, by phone. A Kenyan, she had arrived legally in the United States by way of Saudi Arabia on a work visa. Until she established a tentative Facebook communication with an area man, after briefly interacting with him on an Internet page for Kenyans living in the area, she had no contact with the outside world. She wasn’t allowed to go outside. With her passport illegally confiscated and the clock ticking on her work visa, she said, where would she go?

Her escape happened after she agreed to make a break for it with the help of the Facebook associate, whom NBC 4 dubbed “Marikio.”

The rescue ended up being a harrowing one — particularly, Marikio said, because he knew if he called 911, he risked a chance that Sheila’s boss could convince police to arrest him instead, because he was in the country illegally.

Still, Sheila — wearing a head scarf and a veil — ran from of the lobby of Skyline Towers on Seminary Road and jumped into his car. It was the first time the two had met.

Marikio said Sheila was gaunt and in obvious pain. She told him she was hemorrhaging from an untreated medical condition. He told her to go back inside and get her passport, and he’d take her to a hospital.

“She was sick, and she was shaking, and the police asked her, ‘Do you want an ambulance?'” Marikio recalled. “She said yes and the ambulance came.”

But, Marikio said, when she went back for her passport, she was held by the family she worked for.

“She went back, the guy was holding her. He was still holding hostage. She was screaming with her cell phone. … I say, ‘Go out!'”

Said Sheila, “I was afraid, because maybe they could have killed me. Because they have taken all my documents. They have taken my passport.”

Police officers ordered the boss to return the passport, and he did. Sheila then received medical treatment.

These diplomats are people whom both current and previous Presidential Administrations continue to embrace, with nary a comment on their subversion of Constitutional freedoms, both in spirit and in fact, as guests in the United States. While immune from criminal prosecution, Saudi diplomats/kidnappers could, in theory, reasonably expect some form of faceless public excoriation from American leaders of the sort that would bring shame on their behavior while in this country. But instead, Americans get to hear about it on the local TV news, and from conservative websites like TheBlaze, with no national exposure for the culture of domestic islamofascism being perpetrated with the silent approval of the American government.

Handicapped Texas Man Shocked To Death With Taser On Suspicion Of Drugs That Apparently Weren’t There

A 350-pound asthmatic man was sleeping on the couch at his Fort Worth, Texas, home on May 16 when the cops showed up with a warrant to search his house. They were looking for cocaine.

Jarmaine Darden had asthma severe enough that he wasn’t able to sleep lying down. He had to sleep sitting up. From Monday’s CBS DFW report, it appears Darden’s relatives were at his home when the cops showed up and let in the cops.

That didn’t stop the “zero-tolerance” officers from immediately treating the situation like a standoff with a dangerous criminal. According to the victim’s mother:

They physically pulled him off the couch because, like I said, he was asleep. They pulled him off the couch and they tried to put him on his stomach. He can’t breathe on his stomach. He don’t even lie on the bed on his stomach.

He had his hands behind his back the whole time. But me and about five other people were hollering the whole time, ‘He cannot breathe like that. Please handcuff him on his side.’

Instead, Darden’s brother said, the cops warned the victim that unless he hit the floor on his stomach so they could cuff him, he’d get hit with the Taser. He didn’t — he couldn’t — and then they used the Taser on him. Darden immediately started having trouble breathing. They used the Taser on him again. In total, cops used the Taser on Darden three times. Then, he stopped breathing. Shortly after the 4 p.m. “raid” was over, an ambulance came and took Darden to the hospital; compression CPR was administered on the way. But Darden never revived. His relatives, including his two teenage sons, are in shock.

“He wasn’t resisting. He was actually trying to lay on his side, so they could handcuff him on his side, because that pressure on his lungs will cut off his air and he’ll stop breathing,” said Darden’s mother, who was at the scene. She told WFAA that she and other relatives kept pleading with the cops, “He can’t breathe like that — he’s not fighting you.”

Darden had one drug conviction on his record and, as part of his probation, took — and passed — frequent random drug tests.

In their incident report, police noted that Darden resisted arrest. Five others in the house were arrested, but there’s no mention of any drugs being found. And the only thing police are saying to the media is that they were “met with resistance” at the home.

Darden’s death marks the fifth time someone’s died after being shocked with a Taser by Fort Worth police since 2001. The department settled with the family of one victim (a man who died after being shocked for an astonishing 49 seconds in 2009), paying out $2 million in an agreement that saw the offending officer keep his job without reprimand. The department admitted to no wrongdoing, despite the fact the death was ruled a homicide.

‘Judge Shopping’ AG Holder Spurned By Two Judges Before Third Granted Secret Subpoena Warrant

When U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder decided to unleash the hounds on FOX News reporter James Rosen, he had Ronald Machen, U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C., go looking for a court order to obtain a warrant that would allow the Department of Justice to subpoena Rosen’s communications without the reporter or his employer ever knowing about it.

Machen was shot down by Judge John M. Facciola, who noted “[T]he subscriber therefore will never know, by being provided a copy of the warrant, for example, that the government secured a warrant and searched the contents of her email account.”

All the DOJ had to do to get the warrant approved was to let the subject — in this case, Rosen — know that a warrant to subpoena his communications records was being served. But then, that wouldn’t have been much of a secret, and the DOJ would have lost its ability to indefinitely monitor Rosen’s records without detection.

So the DOJ went judge shopping, according to an investigation by Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker. Even though two judges had ruled a secret subpoena wasn’t legal, Machen appealed and got Royce C. Lamberth, chief judge in Federal District Court for Washington, D.C., to reverse those decisions.

Incidentally, Lamberth apologized last week for not making records of the Court’s communication with the DOJ public for a full 18 months — an apology that, of course, came only after the Rosen scandal had broken.

At any rate, how can the DOJ, which answers to President Barack Obama, claim it knew of nothing out of the ordinary in the Rosen case? It had to go to extraordinary measures to get the legal permission it needed to monitor a reporter without his knowledge and without a window of time to limit the reach of the secret investigation.

House Judiciary Committee Investigates Whether AG Holder Lied Under Oath

The Hill is reporting that the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee is investigating testimony Attorney General Eric gave May 15 concerning his Department’s role in the Associated Press secret surveillance scandal.

Specifically, the committee is looking into the veracity of Holder’s claim, under oath, that he’s “never been involved in, heard of, or would think would be a wise policy” for the Department of Justice to target any member of the press who refuses to disclose sources.

But the report notes:

However, NBC News reported last week that Holder personally approved a search warrant that labeled Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen a co-conspirator in a national security leaks case.

The panel is investigating whether NBC’s report contradicts Holder’s claim that he had not looked into or been involved with a possible prosecution of the press in a leaks case.

Interestingly, news of the DOJ’s targeting of Rosen (and even his parents) hadn’t broken at the time Holder gave his AP testimony, highlighting another seemingly recurring characteristic of the Administration of President Barack Obama: the time to be sorry about lying to cover your tracks should come only once you get caught doing it.

IRS Attack Ads, Russia Arms Syria For Peace, Texas Slashes Business Taxes, D.C. Scamming Motorists, Drones In Deutschland, Fear The Chair: Tuesday Morning News Roundup 5-28-2013

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.

  • A group of House Republicans is prepared to launch an ad campaign against four incumbent Democrats this week tying the lawmakers to the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups applying for nonprofit status.
  • Russia is going to deliver anti-aircraft missiles to the Syrian government in order to deter “hotheads” from getting involved in the country’s civil war.
  • Look out, liberals. Texas, already the Nation’s strongest State economy, just made it easier for businesses to profit in the Lone Star State. The Legislature passed more than $1 billion in tax cuts before recessing for the summer.
  • “Three golden miles” in Washington, D.C., have reaped the city an average of $30,500 per day in speeding and red light camera fines — $28 million since the start of 2011. The “offenders” are mostly unsuspecting motorists from Maryland and Virginia. New York Avenue is the hot spot, so beware.
  • A German railway is set to roll out miniature drones at night in order to catch people defacing trains with graffiti.
  • Doctors at the University of California at Los Angeles and Ohio State are launching a big PR campaign to declare war on… sitting down. “Sitting is the new smoking,” says Anup Kanodia of Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center.

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

–Staff writer Sam Rolley contributed to this report.

Patient Consent At Risk As Genome Sequencing Breakthroughs Divide Medical Community

A forthcoming report in Science magazine argues that patient consent and confidentiality are under fire, after the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) recently adjusted its formal recommendations to doctors that, for the most part, now leave the patient out of the decision-making process over how much data researchers can mine from their unique genetic codes.

According to a summary prepared in advance of the report:

Informed consent is the backbone of patient care. Genetic testing has long required patient consent and patients have had a “right not to know” the results. However, as 21st century medicine now begins to use the tools of genome sequencing, an enormous debate has erupted over whether patients’ rights will continue in an era of medical genomics.

Recent recommendations from the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) suggest no. On March 22, the ACMG released recommendations stating that when clinical sequencing is undertaken for any medical reason, laboratories must examine 57 other specific genes to look for incidental findings. These findings must then be reported to the clinician and the patient. In an April 25 “clarification,” ACMG said that failure to report these findings would be considered “unethical.” The patient has no opportunity to opt-out of the testing of the 57 genes, except to decline all sequencing. The recommendations also apply to children.

The study, a joint effort by Susan M. Wolf of the University of Minnesota, George J. Annas of Boston University and Sherman Elias of Northwestern University, argues that the all-or-nothing sequencing of a patient’s genetic code would be beneficial, if only the patient could have a say over the “all-or-nothing” part.

“The ACMG’s ‘minimum list [of 57 genes]’ includes mutations in genes that patients have long been able to refuse testing for, including cancer risk mutations (such as BRCA1) and cardiovascular risk mutations,” the authors argue. But, they add, there are myriad practical, medical reasons — as well as principled ones — why the control over the reach of genetic sequencing — and the information it yields — should rest solely in patients’ hands.

The patient may already be battling another disease, such as advanced cancer, or be late in life and see more burden than benefit in added genetic information. The patient may also fear that ‘extra’ results in their medical record will invite risk of discrimination.

Ominously, the “minimum list” of 57 genes currently on the table for data mining is expected to grow significantly, according to the ACMG. That, the report warns, places even greater urgency upon lawmakers to craft new legislation, or enforce existing law, if applicable, that strongly favors patients’ rights.

Fitness Is Key To Preparedness

Preparedness is not just about what you can buy or grow, or what you can hoard. It’s not just about how many guns and rounds of ammo you’ve saved up, how finely tailored your bug-out bag is or how many weeks’ worth of food you’ve stored.

It’s about surviving. And if the day comes when you and the people around you can’t rely on technology and the sophisticated infrastructure that supplies the food and comfort to which we’ve become accustomed, you’ll have to rely on yourself — and that means work.

Hard work — a lot harder than most of us are used to — demands that you be in adequate physical shape.

Fitness is something many Americans tend to view as a consumer luxury. People buy gym memberships out of vanity, to socialize or to burn off steam. Often, those gym memberships are abandoned after the thrill of novelty wears off.

But whether you go to a gym, exercise at home or do something active outdoors, it’s important that you don’t neglect your own fitness — because it’s one of the most important parts of any survival strategy.

In fact, it’s arguable that sound physical fitness, anchored by a mind ready to adapt and to lead, is more important than any amount of anticipatory preparedness. What good is four weeks’ worth of freeze-dried food if you aren’t up the challenge of fighting off those who’d seek to take it from you?

You are at the center of whatever contingency plan you’ll enact if things in your world — locally, regionally or nationally — go bad. And that means that your body and mind will be more crucial than any amount of critical consumer goods to your, and your family’s, well-being or survival in the event of a catastrophe that forces a change in the way you live.

Most of us aren’t very physically fit. We live among the world’s most affluent Nations, and consumer culture — despite its benefits as a driver of civilized economic prosperity — has left most Americans bereft of any true understanding of the nasty, brutish and short quality of human life and the default competitiveness of human beings pitted against each other in the hope of acquiring the very finite resources necessary for survival.

That sounds a bit philosophical; and, in your otium, you can intellectually engage the human condition at your leisure. But if something happens that forces you and your family into a new mode of living — one that demands only the cultureless and the necessary, that has no place for leisure and its ephemera — you’re going to be living in a reality that never feels abstract. You’re going to have to be up to the task of coping.

If you’re serious about preparing for the worst, you have to maintain a body that affords you, perhaps literally, a fighting chance. If you’re currently free from chronic maladies, it’s especially crucial that you take seriously your role in whatever prepper plan you’re devising, because you are likely to be one of the linchpins of others’ fortunes. Children, the elderly, the ill, the weak and the physically compromised are not capable of what you’re capable of.

This isn’t a story about how to get in shape. People are physically different, and some bodies respond differently to different stimuli. There are a lot of ways to get in shape and stay that way; and there’s no shortage of good information, and opinions, on the topic. It’s important to note that you don’t have to spend any money or buy a ton of fancy equipment or join a health club to be physically fit — so long as you have the mental discipline to devise and follow an exercise routine. Your body, along with a sound understanding of how to condition it through applying different forms of physical stress, are all that’s required.

So if you’re out of shape and unable to physically defend yourself; walk a long distance and help others travel with you; row a boat; or take point on the cycle of gardening, constructing, all-hours watching, leading and even thinking (which itself exacts a physical, calorie-burning price) on your own — and others’ — behalf, it’s time to regard your body and your mind as the most essential and sacred components of any preparedness plan you’ll ever set in motion. There’s little point in building fences or learning tactical firearms defense if you’re unable to cover ground on your own two feet. Conflict inevitably will come to that, if, as they say, the SHTF.

Besides, being physically fit enriches your life in the here and now — regardless of whether you live to see the Apocalypse.

How do you and your family stay in shape? Let us know what works for you and what doesn’t. And be sure to share any stories about the simple, free and maybe even fun things you do that keep you and your loved ones physically fit.

Palin On Obama’s IRS Attack Dog: ‘Will We Stand For This?’

Sarah Palin has written a few guest columns for Breitbart, but Wednesday’s piece on what the Internal Revenue Service-Tea Party scandal means for every American is by far the best.

Palin talks about how, since the beginning of the Tea Party movement in 2006, Constitutional conservatives have successfully been marginalized in the press, despite the fact that the Administration of President Barack Obama evidently has considered the true conservative movement a far greater threat to his own agenda, and his political ambition, than he ever did mainstream establishment Republicans.

That’s evidenced, a companion story by Craig Shirley points out, by the fact that the IRS targeted only Tea Party-type nonprofits over at least the past two years, passing over run-of-the mill Republican groups — taking for granted  that establishment Republicans were never an impediment to liberalism under Obama:

The unspoken 600-pound gorilla in the room is that the IRS did not go after Republican Party groups. There has been some noise made in that direction, but it is just that — noise. The real IRS vendetta was aimed at the Tea Party movement and not at the myriad GOP inside-the-beltway groups like American Crossroads or Americans for Job Security or any of the other interlocking GOP seen as front groups for corporate America.

…The Republican Establishment is pea green with envy but also embarrassment “that the IRS did not think them worthy of harassing, or even worse, on the same side as the IRS. In other words, the IRS saw the GOP as too feckless to worry about. Either explanation is not very appealing for the national Republicans.”

Now, says Palin, more Americans are seeing the sinister side of enabling the IRS to enforce Obama’s social policies, exactly as the Tea Party called it, back when everyone thought small-government conservatives who bothered to organize were just a bunch of stone-throwing kooks:

Please remember that some of us warned America about the dangers of having the IRS play such a big role with the administration of Obamacare. We were laughed at and mocked relentlessly back then. It sure doesn’t seem funny now, does it?

This IRS scandal is especially terrible because Americans live in fear of the IRS like no other entity because this monstrous bureaucracy has the power to take your hard-earned money. Your wages are the sum of your labors; hence, the IRS has the power to steal the fruits of your labors. Average Americans live in fear of making an error on their tax returns that could cost them massive amounts of money, plus their reputation and good name.  If a small business makes a mistake, the IRS can shut them down and send them to jail.

The IRS has always been the face of intimidating and controlling big government. Now it’s the face of corrupt big government that actively attacks the people it is supposed to serve. This isn’t the change America was hoping for, Mr. President, but it certainly is transformative.

The collective disgust — and it’s coming, now, from true conservatives, liberals and everyone in between — over the ease with which a Presidential Administration can now wield aloof, dispassionate Federal agencies against the people should catalyze a majority against the Orwellian reality of big government power.

These Obama administration scandals are a sad and stark reminder that only limited government can ensure liberty. At our core, we Americans just want to be left alone to live freely, peacefully, and productively.

… It’s time for all Americans to stand together and join in the growing outraged chorus that looks at our out-of-control government and says, “Enough is enough!”

Read the full commentary at Breitbart and pass it along.

‘Budget Cuts’ Leave Attacked Oregon Woman Out Of Luck When She Calls 911

As an ex-boyfriend attempted to break into her home, allegedly intent on assaulting her both physically and sexually, an unidentified Oregon woman did what everybody’s instructed to do: She called 911.

A dispatcher answered. The woman described the situation, saying, “If he gets in the house, I’m done.”

That’s when the dispatcher advised her to… figure it all out herself.

“Uh, I don’t have anybody to send out there. You know, obviously, if he comes inside the residence and assaults you, can you ask him to go away? Do you know if he’s intoxicated or anything?”

What had actually happened, in the magic phone-land between the 911 call and someone picking up on the other end, was that the woman’s call had been rerouted from the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office to the Oregon State Police. That’s because there wasn’t anyone available at the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office to answer, after there had been layoffs that limited local police service only from Monday through Friday, during business hours. This assault occurred over the weekend, in the wee, pre-dawn Sunday morning hours in August 2012.

As the unidentified woman waited for the eventual intrusion, which ultimately culminated in Michael Bellah allegedly throttling the victim by the throat and sexually assaulting her, the dispatcher offered compassionate reassurance:

“It’s unfortunate you guys don’t have any law enforcement out there.”

Bellah was arrested by State police — after the incident, of course — on charges of kidnapping, sex abuse and assault. He pleaded guilty. His victim told the dispatcher, mid-assault, that Bellah had allegedly put her in the hospital once before, in a similar attack.

The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office let go of 23 deputies, along with its entire Major Crimes Unit, after it lost a major Federal timber subsidy, according to Oregon Public Radio. The U.S. government owns about 70 percent of the land in the county, and property owners have voted down ad valorem tax increases to fund public services. The sheriff’s department now operates with six deputies, who don’t patrol on weekends. It’s not known whether the victim had access to a firearm.

Sheriff Gil Gilbertson has advised residents who fear domestic assaults, which don’t routinely conform to business hours, to consider moving to an area where law enforcement can protect them around the clock.

The sheriff didn’t say anything about citizens arming themselves. Since protecting and serving in rural Oregon counties has become a carrot-and-stick game with Federal subsidies as the victory prize, it’s evidently more important than ever that citizens at least know they’re on their own when it comes to keeping themselves, and their loved ones, safe.

Oregon’s gun laws, for now, are closer to the spirit of the 2nd Amendment than those in many other States, although recent proposed legislation would place new restrictions on residents’ powers to own so-called assault weapons and limit magazine size to 10 rounds.

Cruz To RINO McCain: I Don’t Trust You, And I Don’t Trust Democrats

On April 26, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told a group of Tea Party supporters in his home State that his Republican colleagues in the Senate had acted like “a bunch of squishes” in cutting gun-control deals with aggressive Democrats ahead of the infamously ill-fated Manchin-Toomey gun control act.

Cruz, along with other libertarian-minded Congressmen like Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Justin Amash (R-Mich.), have been cultivating a reputation for standing on principle, even if it means alienating the party establishment.

But on Wednesday, Cruz took that fight away from friendly audiences and went straight to the Senate floor, sparring with Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) over what’s wrong with conservatives who strike liberally diluted devils’ bargains.

The topic was the Senate’s attempt to pass a budget — its first in four years. Led by McCain, moderate Republicans have been urging holdouts to go along with their Democratic colleagues and set up a budget conference committee to iron out differences between the Senate version of the budget and the one already passed by the House of Representatives.

Cruz and Paul, along with conservatives Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are fine with that approach — if the conference committee can guarantee the budget won’t come back with a provision that raises the Federal debt ceiling, which Democrats, of course, favor.

“If we go to conference without the debt ceiling being taken off the plate, it is a 100 percent certainty that the debt ceiling will be raised,” said Cruz.

McCain knows this. Why else would he, essentially, ask Cruz and his cohort of real conservatives to just take the whole thing on faith? Here’s McCain’s attempt at shaming Cruz into gullibility from the Senate floor:

Let’s put some confidence in — if not in the conferees appointed here, but in the conferees who will be appointed on the other side of the Capitol, who are of our party, who are fiscal conservatives just like we are. Instead of blocking, what I assure my colleagues — all three of them here, that is a minority of the minority of Republicans in the United States Senate — that [the majority] wants to move forward with a budget, which we spent so many hours and so much effort in achieving.

McCain followed that up Wednesday by pretending to be baffled at the idea that principle can trump compromise. “Basically, here, what we’re saying on this side of the aisle is, we don’t trust our colleagues on the other side of the Capitol, who are in the majority,” he said.

Damn straight, said Cruz, whose Jiu-Jitsu retort from the Senate floor used McCain’s words to drive home his own point about the corruption and moral inertia plaguing the leadership of both parties:

The senior senator from Arizona urged this body to trust the Republicans. Let me be clear: I don’t trust the Republicans. And I don’t trust the Democrats. And I think a whole lot of Americans, likewise, don’t trust the Republicans and the Democrats because it is leadership in both parties that has gotten us into this mess.

Unfortunately, one of the reasons we got into this mess is because a lot of Republicans were complicit in this spending spree. And that’s why so many Americans are disgusted with both sides of this house. Because we need leaders on both sides…to roll up our sleeves, to compromise, to work together and fix the problem; fix the enormous fiscal and economic problems. Stop bankrupting our country.

And every Republican who stands against holding the line here is really saying, ‘Let’s give the Democrats a blank check to borrow any money they want with no reforms, no leadership to fix the problem.’”

McCain stopped short of calling Cruz a “wacko bird,” but he did describe the conservatives’ skepticism as “bizarre,” and he preened over his conservative pedigree — all while Senate Democrats reveled in the spectacle of Republicans feuding.

“I’ll match my record against anybody’s on debt and the deficit, and that includes the Senator from Florida [Rubio],” said McCain.

Obama Heckles Heckler, President’s Speech Transcribed, McCain And His Dem Friends, FBI Agents In Boston Arrests Die, Obamacare’s Skimpy Coverage: Afternoon News Links 5-23-2013

Brush up on the day’s headlines with Personal Liberty’s P.M. Edition news links.

Obama To Gitmo Speech Heckler: ‘Part Of Free Speech Is…You Listening’

President Barack Obama had a hard time getting through parts of his foreign policy speech at the National Defense University Thursday, thanks to Medea Benjamin, co-founder of left-leaning, female anti-militarism group Code Pink. Read more…

Obama Speech Reveals Possible Foreign Policy Redirect—Transcript Provided

President Barack Obama delivered his first major speech on counterterrorism of his second term Thursday, claiming that he will restrict the use of unmanned drones and making other statements that—if true—represent a dramatic shift in the Administration’s foreign policy approach. Read the full transcript…

McCain Sides With Dems On Budget Debate

Senator John McCain criticized fellow Republicans this week, saying that GOP objections to moving forward with a budget — even one that increases the debt ceiling — could encumber future Republican initiatives. Read more…

Two FBI Agents In Boston Bomber Arrest Die In Fall From Helicopter Training Exercise

The FBI released a statement this week confirming the deaths of two FBI agents who specialized in elite counterterror operations and were involved in the arrest of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Read more…

To Avoid Obamacare Costs, Employers Preparing ‘Skinny’ Insurance Plans

In order to avoid having to pay penalties under Obamacare’s mandatory-coverage rule, many employers are readying a new, lower tier of “skinny” healthcare policies that will cover preventive care, but won’t pay for hospital stays. Read more…

To Avoid Obamacare Costs, Employers Preparing ‘Skinny’ Insurance Plans

In order to avoid having to pay penalties under Obamacare’s mandatory-coverage rule, many employers are readying a new, lower tier of “skinny” healthcare policies that will cover preventive care, but won’t pay for hospital stays.

Under Obamacare, employers who don’t provide employees minimum coverage can face a $2,000 per-worker penalty. But the new cut-rate policies, which won’t cover surgery, prenatal care or diagnostic work such as X-rays, qualify employers as participants in mandatory minimum coverage.

The new tier of low-benefit plans will still subject employers to government penalties, but most are expected to be less than $100 per worker.