NRA ‘Helps’ Bombers, Florida Leashes Drones, Obama Hisses In Defeat, Cops Shame New York Governor On Guns, Ex-Sexual Predators Get Scarlet Letter: Thursday Morning News Roundup 4-18-2013

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.

  • One MSNBC host believes the National Rifle Association is “in the business of helping bombers get away with their crimes” because the organization has fought to keep elements that can be traced to a production point out of gunpowder. Sheesh.


  • The Florida Legislature has voted to place limits on what the State’s cops can do with drones. The Governor is expected to sign into law a bill that would require police to obtain a warrant before they could use camera-enabled drones for surveillance.


  • This brings to mind something about a pot and a kettle: President Barack Obama called gun rights groups “liars” in a fit of anger after his centerpiece gun-control legislation was handily defeated Wednesday. The President called it “a pretty shameful day for Washington.” Aren’t they all?


  • The Albany Police Officers Union has attacked New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for his recent gun-grabbing legislation, which the officers describe as “flawed,” “shameful,” “purposely burdensome on law-abiding citizens” and morally wrong. They also note that the Governor’s goal was politically motivated and makes no one safer. Bingo!


  • Once they’ve been freed from jail, people who’ve been convicted of rape in Bradford County, Fla., settle down somewhere, and then the cops come and stick a giant red sign in their yards letting everyone know they’ve got a sexual predator in their midst. Why let them go in the first place?


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

–Sam Rolley contributed to this update.

FBI Data Shows Criminals Won’t Be Caught In Gun Grab Dragnet

How many bad guys do you think try to buy guns from licensed dealers, the retailers whom Congress wants to slap with further restrictions on instant verifications for gun sales? How many criminals are getting access to their guns via “traditional,” on-the-grid avenues, initiating transactions that route them through background checks designed to ensure those very creeps aren’t the ones who can get their hands on firearms?

One-fourth? Ten percent? Five?

Try less than 1 percent. In fact, it’s less than half of 1 percent. Since 1998, there have been 590,070 attempts by convicts — guilty of both felonies and misdemeanors — to buy firearms from gun dealers who must check their criminal past on the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) system. That’s out a total of 167,488,942 background checks done on all gun sales for the same period.

Both sets of figures come straight from the FBI. Hat tip to CNS News for doing a little arithmetic: Those 590,070 convicts who tried to buy a gun through legitimate means represent a mere .35 percent of all gun-buy attempts over the past 14 years.

Senate Democrats busied themselves Wednesday trying to scrounge up enough votes to move ahead with an amendment to the laughably-titled Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, one that would close the so-called “gun show loophole” by mandating background checks on firearms transactions between private individuals.

They lost, with the amendment failing to pass in a 54-46 vote. Without the amendment’s approval, the whole Act’s chances of making it through the early days of the Democrat-controlled 113th Congress likely will be sunk.

Complicating matters more for supporters of the Gun Grab Act was the introduction of an “alternative” gun control bill Wednesday by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas). That bill may have its critics, once pundits from the right and left have a chance to pore through its language; but a rundown of the bill’s highlights indicates, at least in spirit, a piece of legislation written with the understanding that criminals, by definition, can’t be touched by draconian gun laws that serve only to restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens.

Highlights of the Grassley-Cruz bill include:

  • No expansion of the existing NICS background check system.
  • Creating a task force to prosecute those who fail criminal background checks when attempting to buy guns.
  • Requiring the U.S. Department of Justice to report to Congress periodically on its prosecution of those who attempt to buy guns illegally.
  • Making third-party “straw purchase” trafficking illegal.

For the most part, the bill looks, at first glance, to target government and law enforcement agencies already tasked with enforcing existing laws instead of going after individual citizens with expanded Federal restrictions. Cruz couched the bill just so at a Wednesday morning press conference:

Rather than restricting the rights of law-abiding Americans, we should be focusing on keeping guns out of the hands of violent criminals, which this legislation accomplishes. While the Obama Administration continues to politicize a terrible tragedy to push its anti-gun agenda, I am proud to stand beside my fellow senators to present common-sense measures that will increase criminal prosecutions of felons who try to buy guns, criminalize straw purchasing and gun trafficking, and address mental health issues.

Sounds fair. But these bills have a way of coming out of committee — if they get off the ground at all — looking far different than they did going in, and Cruz may yet be criticized for introducing any “alternative” that even smells like gun control — regardless of its publicity value — when simple opposition to the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act would have served the original 2nd Amendment very well.

The Grassley-Cruz amendment was up for a Senate vote late Wednesday, so stay tuned.

UPDATE: The Senate defeated the Grassley-Cruz amendment in a 52-48 vote late Wednesday, as well as a ban on “straw trafficking” by a 58-42 margin.

Four Years After Obama’s Stimulus, Jobs, Growth and Infrastructure All M.I.A.

Bunker-style concrete toilets, doles to delayed or bankrupt green energy start-ups, $30 million for a spring training home for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and — the irony — an $18 million redesign for the website so the government can spin its own version of how successful the program has been: Here’s the predominant legacy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Sure, States have received millions upon millions of dollars in ARRA project funds for roads, bridges and “public works,” many of which are just now coming up for construction bids.

But that’s just an extension of an already-backward carrot-and-stick relationship between the Federal government and the States, all of which are beholden more than ever before to the Feds for conditional funding and more powerless than ever before to assume Constitutionally unenumerated sovereign prerogatives that Washington lapped up long ago.

Even Texas, for all its leaders’ cock-and-bull about standing up to the executive branch, is as guilty as any State when it comes to cheating on the 10th Amendment when the Federal-funding mistress comes calling. Only California and New York have taken more ARRA stimulus money.

A new story published by Reason dismantles the Obama Administration’s assertion that ARRA has created lasting jobs and that the nearly $1 trillion invested in the President’s first-term economic stimulus plan is showing economic dividends that outlive the lifespan of the short-term projects it helped fund. A survey of businesses that accepted ARRA funds or contracts found that seven of every 10 companies either didn’t hire workers or ended up having to lay off the ones they did hire:

We found that only 41 percent of the companies that received stimulus grants or contracts actually hired workers for the relevant project. The other 59 percent either hired no workers for the stimulus project or reduced their payrolls because they couldn’t afford to retain all their staff even with the stimulus money coming in.

Within the 41 percent of companies that did hire workers, the survey found that 55 percent kept all their workers once the project was done. But 30 percent were…forced to lay off workers once the government money stopped flowing. Another 15 percent of companies hired workers but couldn’t retain all of them. These findings suggest that ARRA did not create much lasting employment among firms that received grants or contracts for stimulus projects.

Look closely at Edward Tufte’s “Lights-On” map of America, an Obama Administration bauble that purports to impress the eye with a graphic representation of where every ARRA-stimulated project across the fruited plain is located. If you squint, all those little shiny lights start to look like a birds-eye view of 831 billion little dollar signs, now scattered to the four winds.


UPDATE: Expanded Gun Background Checks FAILS In Senate Vote

Not so fast, gun grabbers. The U.S. Senate voted 54-46 late Wednesday against a critical addition to a Democrat-supported gun-control bill, one that the bill’s supporters sorely needed in order to keep the entire piece of legislation alive.

The amendment, sponsored by Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), would have added a requirement to the proposed Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act mandating background checks on gun sales between private buyers and sellers, an effort to repair the so-called “gun show loophole” that supporters wrongly believe places massive numbers of guns into criminal hands.

The Administration of President Barack Obama had been waging an aggressive campaign to mobilize support for the overall bill. But the Senate’s smackdown of the gun show loophole amendment is already being described as “devastating” to the President’s overall gun control agenda.

Worth noting: RINOs who followed through with their pledge to gut the 2nd Amendment by supporting Wednesday’s lost cause: Republican Senators Susan Collins (Maine), Mark Kirk (Ill.), John McCain (Ariz.) and Toomey voted in favor of the failed amendment.

Amendments To Cyberstalking Bill Lack Teeth

A couple weeks ago, we previewed a forthcoming Congressional rush job to mark up the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) behind closed doors.

Described by opponents and privacy protection advocates as a “backdoor wiretap” measure that gives the Federal government even greater warrantless surveillance powers over private electronic communications, CISPA is one of a number of measures Congress is taking up during “cyber week,” a late-April push on several digital initiatives that all promise to expand Federal snooping powers.

Now comes word that some CISPA opponents may be appeased by a new amendment produced by the closed-door talks — one that would require companies to share “cyberthreat” data with the Department of Homeland Security, headed by Secretary Janet Napolitano, as a first step before the same information gets passed on to the military. The big change is the inclusion of the “civilian” DHS as a middleman agency that reviews the data, rather than allowing companies to communicate the same information directly to the military.

Don’t be fooled. Handing Big Sis secretly culled data so she can simply turn around and pass it along to Big Brother is nobody’s idea of a safeguard. Amendment or not, CISPA — and the way it’s being amended outside the view of the public — still stinks.

BREAKING: President Target Of ‘Suspicious’ Package; Positive Test For Ricin

Several mainstream media outlets are reporting that the FBI and Secret Service have intercepted a suspicious package, or envelope, intended for President Barack Obama.

MSNBC is reporting that the package has initially tested positive for ricin, an organically derived protein that can be fatal if inhaled, even in miniscule quantities.

The parcel was intercepted at an off-site screening facility for mail addressed to the White House. Investigators believe they know the source of the mailing, but haven’t made any arrests.

Reports of parcels targeting Obama, as well as U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), are mounting since Monday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon. The FBI, which has taken over that investigation as well, currently isn’t linking the bombing with the targeting of Washington politicians.

Sleeping Man Shot 16 Times May Sue Police For Abuse

Auburn, Wash., resident Dustin Theoharris could end up costing the Kings County Sheriff’s Department a lot of money.

He wasn’t even the reason the cops went to the house where he was sleeping on the night of Feb. 11, 2012 to make an arrest. He didn’t own the house; in fact, he was only renting out a bedroom. Before police showed up that night, they didn’t even know Theoharris existed. They were there to pick up another man on a failure-to-appear charge — which they quickly did, without incident, before sweeping the place for contraband in the hope of adding to their suspect’s charges.

Cops would later learn that Theoharris was an alleged recreational drug user, but he sure wasn’t in the process of committing a crime when police woke him from a dead sleep by bursting through his bedroom door. Disoriented from the intrusion, Theoharris reached for a small flashlight.

One of the two officers who had burst into the room told the sheriff’s office in the immediate aftermath that, as Theoharris started to reach for the flashlight, the dazed young man announced to the cops that “he had four guns.”

That bit of verbal legerdemain represented some quick thinking on the part of the Detective Aaron Thompson because he and officer Kristopher Rongen had just drawn a lot of unwanted attention to themselves, put their careers in jeopardy and were about to have to explain to other officers in the house what they had just done — and why.

Because as Theoharris reached for his flashlight, Thompson and Rongen emptied 16 rounds into his body. The two cops had fired a total of 20 shots. Theoharris ended up on the floor, bleeding from wounds to his face, arms, legs and torso. His jaw and shoulder were shattered; he had also suffered organ damage and a fractured spine. But somehow, through multiple surgeries, he lived.

There weren’t “four guns” in the room; there were only two – the two the cops brought in with them. A locked gun case in a separate room contained a rifle owned by Theoharris.

Predictably, prosecutors panned the incident and sided with the cops, saying the perpetrators were justified in their use of force — all 16 bullets’ worth — against what they perceived to be a threat.

Never mind that any perception of threat was created entirely by the police themselves; that in the span of about 10 seconds, the cops had taken Theoharris from zonked-out slumber to all-out anguish; that the police didn’t enter his room with anything resembling a tactical plan; that they had no business entering his room in the first place; that their premise of searching the residence for guns — in order to slap an additional felony charge onto the man whom they’d already apprehended — at the very least required them to knock at Theoharris’ door and announce themselves.

The cops invoked their 5th Amendment powers when called by the district attorney’s office to testify about what they’d done.

Now, Theoharris is preparing a lawsuit — one that could cost Kings County many millions of dollars. And, while some may decry the waste of public funds that will attend a crippling verdict, it’s a good thing.

Because as long as law enforcement officers know that they can base their aggressive behavior on the presumption they are themselves immune from criminal law, torts are just about the only legal recourse their victims have. It’s too bad that recourse can be only a punishment, and not a deterrent.

Why Won’t The USDA Say Which Stores Get Food Stamp Money?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture won’t disclose which retailers profit most from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka food stamps), despite pressure from some health and media organizations to reveal where the money’s going.

Unlike Medicaid and other public-spending juggernauts, which do reveal statistics on where the free money ends up, the food stamp program’s books remain on lockdown under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

It’s tough to know whether there’s a sinister reason lurking behind the USDA’s refusal to disclose how much money retailers are making off food stamps, how much stores charge food stamp users per product or which products food stamp users are even buying.

But a 2011 report done by a Tulsa newspaper showed that Wal-Mart was Oklahoma’s biggest retail beneficiary of the food stamp program, taking in half of that State’s food stamp dollars at the point of sale.

‘Just A Training Exercise,’ DHS Keeps You Safe, Breaking Down Venezuela, State-Controlled Media In The EU, MSM Tardy To Abortion Murder Trial: Friday Morning News Roundup 4-12-2013

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.

  • It’s already begun: a university track coach near the scene of Monday’s Boston Marathon explosions told his local TV station he thought it was strange that bomb sniffing dogs were already hanging out near the start and finish lines, while cops were hanging out on rooftops. “They kept making announcements to the participants do not worry; it’s just a training exercise,” he said. “Evidently, I don’t believe they were just having a training exercise.”
  • In a twist of sick irony (or sinister planning) on the heels of the Boston Marathon bombing, the Department of Homeland Security began featuring a “how DHS keeps you safe” section on its website this morning complete with an infographic titled “A Day in the Life of Homeland Security.”
  • The race to replace dead Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is a lot closer than it ever was when Chavez campaigned. The government went ahead and proclaimed Chavez’s hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, the winner of Sunday’s national election — and people started rioting in the streets. Early returns had shown Maduro ahead of opposition challenger Henrique Caprilles by less than a single percentage point, and Caprilles wants a recount of 300,000 votes. The National Assembly says there’s no recount happening. One academic observer predicts unpredictable violence as people lose faith in the integrity of the political process.
  • Control the message, control the masses. European Union officials, angered by British press coverage of its activities, are pouring millions of euros into initiatives to create a state-controlled media. The European Commission claims it wants to create a “moral compass” for the press, as it seeks new national and Europe-wide regulatory powers over journalists.
  • Better late than never. After getting slammed for a month by independent news outlets for snoozing on the grisly multiple-murder trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, mainstream newspapers and TV stations are finally starting to show up. The Washington Post’s Melinda Henneberger vomited all over herself explaining why her paper and others have eschewed coverage of Gosnell, who’s accused of slicing and dicing late-term newborns who managed to survive intended abortions and laughing about it.

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

–Sam Rolley contributed to this update.

NYPD Entrapment Tactic Another Tool In Relentless Push For State Control

If you see a stray wallet orphaned on the ground and pick it up, aiming to call the Department of Public Safety or simply to drop the wallet, intact, off at the local sheriff’s office, would you think twice for fear of being arrested for theft?

In New York City, you should think twice. For years, the NYPD has staged lost-wallet or dropped-credit-card scenarios in a bid to haul away the intrepid soul who’d dare nibble at the bait.

Thankfully, one Bronx judge has recognized the practice for what it is: entrapment. In January, Judge Linda Poust Lopez threw out a larceny case against a local woman whom cops arrested, at gunpoint — after they first planted a phone, money and cigarettes in a car, staged an incident that made the car appear to have been abandoned, and then lay in wait.

The woman, Deirdre Myers, and her teenage daughter, Kenya, lived in a building near the setup and happened to be outside on their stoop. They saw a guy pull up in the car get out, and start running from police in close pursuit. As he was “caught,” the fake suspect yelled out that he had left his items in the car; but, of course, he was just an undercover officer, his role in the charade fulfilled.

Kenya approached the car and saw the alleged belongings through the still-open door, and her mother approached the car with the intent of grabbing them.

“We live within walking distance of the 44th precinct. We thought we could just take it there. We wanted to turn it in to the police,” Deirdre Myers told the New York Daily News.

Even after the cops drew down on the mother and daughter and placed them in handcuffs, Myers thought a quick conversation with the officers would straighten things out. She spent the night in jail instead. That all happened in 2010, and the case has taken two years to resolve. The cops never backed down on Myers, with prosecutors continually urging her to plea to the charge.

That’s the NYPD’s “Operation Lucky Bag,” a baiting tactic the department has justified since 2006 for being effective in isolating would-be mass murderers or terrorists. Of course, what it really does is create a lazy crutch for beat officers to meet arrest quotas while expanding state power by qualifying the entrapment setup as simply an innocuous form of undercover sting.

But a sting involves probable cause, often is preceded by the issue of at least a search warrant, and manifests because investigators have demonstrated to a magistrate that one or more perpetrators are likely to be charged with specific crimes. Stings aren’t predicated on police hunches about how human nature will inform a random person’s response to seeing some lost property.

Although Lopez tossed the case and scolded the police in the process, the court action doesn’t invalidate the NYPD’s use of the entrapment tactic. Myers, however, is suing.

Rick Perry Tells PTR ‘Come On Down’ To Texas To Make Your Guns

“Hey, PTR,” tweeted Texas Governor Rick Perry Friday, after learning the Connecticut gun maker had announced it would flee its home in the “Constitution” State. “Texas is still wide open for business!! Come on down!”

No surprise, huh? Governors and legislatures in Texas and other Red States in the southern and western United States have differentiated themselves from their liberal peers in New York, Connecticut, Maryland and even Colorado by rolling out very public welcome mats, all in the hope that the outbound gun manufacturers will land in their backyards.

Legislatures in most of the States whose officials have courted companies like Magpul, Colt Competition and PTR have already passed resolutions this session resolving to protect their residents’ 2nd Amendment rights from any Federal encroachment.

That may seem like idle bluster from conservative politicians who want to pander to their conservative constituents, but it’s more than that.

The Administration of President Barack Obama has urged Congress to approve a gun-control bill in the wake of scary mass shootings like those in Sandy Hook, Conn., and Aurora, Colo. And if activity in the Senate last week is any indication, the President is halfway home in getting his wish. A bipartisan agreement in the Senate has produced consensus on a bill, the “Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act,” that States like Texas have already sworn not to recognize.

Manufacturers like PTR and Magpul have said they’re leaving their gun-grabbing States on the principle that it’s not right to make and sell something in States where residents can’t buy their products, and it’s good business for the gun makers to put down roots where State governments are committed to upholding 2nd Amendment powers for the long haul.

Footnote: What is it with Obama-backed legislation and deceptive titling? First, the Patient “Protection” and Affordable Care Act; now, the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights “Protection” Act? Why invoke “protection,” except as a crude branding tool designed to throw a smoke cloud over the true intent of laws like Obamacare and now this Federal gun grab?

These laws protect and enrich only those elites who make the laws. They protect no American citizen with their disgusting, subversive lip service to “Affordable Care” and “Public Safety.”

Listen to Connecticut resident Robert Steed, who explains the perversity of lawmakers stealing Americans’ freedoms by offering them the pabulum of government protection. He says it better than most:

Judge Finds Self In Contempt Of Court For Distracting Smart Phone

A Michigan judge already renowned for being a stickler about cellphones in court administered himself even sterner justice than he’s meted out to others who’ve broken his ringtone policy: He found himself in contempt and slapped himself with a $25 fine.

District Judge Raymond Voet heard an annoying ring during closing arguments in a domestic violence trial last week, and he realized quickly that all the no-phone signs he’d posted in the courthouse hadn’t deterred at least one person — himself — from ignoring them.

“Judges are humans. They’re not above the rules. I broke the rule and I have to live by it,” the judge told Michigan Live.

So he immediately walked downstairs and paid the $25 contempt fine he’s imposed, at times, on others.

The stakes aren’t exactly high here, but it’s nice to believe think the judge’s integrity would scale to meet tougher circumstances. This small gesture suggests that maybe at least one court official has his heart in the right place.

700 Personal Searches: No Such Thing As Privacy For Handlers Of Police Database

Minnesota police are the latest to inadvertently demonstrate that the majority of Americans who live some part of their lives within the information grid are so absurdly susceptible to privacy breaches, abuse and warrantless government scrutiny that it would all be funny if the implications weren’t so alarming.

Attorney Brooke Bass, who at one time represented Minnesota’s largest police union, Law Enforcement Labor Services, had become so interesting to various personnel in an array of more than 100 State and local law enforcement agencies that she’s become the subject of 700 (known) in-house searches for her on-file personal information, material ranging from where she lives to a physical description of her appearance.

According to a report in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Bass is considering legal action against the State, as well as municipalities where employees accessed her information.

It would be unfair to share an easily found photograph of Bass; although, for some, it might suggest a motive behind the interest in a woman who wielded such influence as an advocate for the mostly male law enforcement vocation.

But whether it’s her looks, her position or some other unknown aggravating factor, her legal representation is adamant that government employees — law enforcement personnel who hold the keys to vast amounts of private citizens’ personal information — have absolutely no business data-stalking an unwitting target.

Bass’ attorney, Kenn Fukuda, contends that nothing justifies Bass’ elevation among law enforcement types as a person of such interest, especially without her knowledge.

“We don’t think there should be any reason why over 100 entities are looking her up,” Fukuda told the Pioneer Press.

Bass’ case is the largest single (known) instance of data-stalking in the State’s ongoing driver’s license database publicity nightmare. But the attention it’s gotten has only served to bring other citizens out of the woodwork who want to know whether they’re being watched from the inside — and who’s doing the watching. The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, that State’s municipal political lobbying group and one-stop liability shop, has taken 110 claims in 82 jurisdictions and will undoubtedly see far more, as lawyers begin culling the public for potentially lucrative lawsuits against the State.

Guns Company Leaves Connecticut, Calls For Industry To ‘Abandon This State’

PTR (Precision Target Rifle) Industries, makers of the PTR-91 series of rifles, released a statement on its website last week announcing its principled departure from its corporate home in Bristol, Conn.

You know why: Connecticut, site of the Nation’s latest media murder sensation, became an innovator in the recent liberal-State gun-grab disarmament race, passing a 2nd Amendment-abrogating bill on April 4 that creates the country’s first law enforcement registry of dangerous “gun” offenders.

The entire post is worth reading, but this excerpt stands as one of the best indictments of the State Legislature’s wrongheaded subservience to the utopian goal of public safety, and of the secretive and mendacious tactics it used to get the hurried bill before the governor:

What emerged was a bill fraught with ambiguous definitions, insufficient considerations for the trade, conflicting mandates, and disastrous consequences for the fundamental rights of the people of CT.

The magnitude of the constitutional and economic importance of this bill is such that the disregard for public input (in the final version), and the haphazard production of the legislation should be insulting to any citizen or business in CT. It should be a shock to us all that such landmark legislation could be written in one week, and seen by no one (including the rank-and-file legislators) prior to its emergency certification. Having been present in the deliberations in both legislative chambers, it was clear that a majority of our legislators had not even read the bill — and those that had read it had only a cursory understanding.

The process with which this legislation proceeded, along with the language that resulted gives us no confidence that this will be the last violation of our rights in our beloved home state, and we only hope that this does not set a precedent at a national level.

The rights of the citizens of CT have been trampled upon. The safety of its children is at best questionably improved from the day of the tragedy that triggered the events that lead us here. Finally, due to an improperly drafted bill, manufacturing of modern sporting rifles in the State of CT has been effectively outlawed. With a heavy heart but a clear mind, we have been forced to decide that our business can no longer survive in Connecticut — the former Constitution state.

The company hasn’t selected its next home (certainly, it will have its pick of suitors), but it has secured agreements from “a majority” of employees, including gunsmiths, to relocate and continue working for PTR.

PTR is also asking other Connecticut-based firearms manufacturers to “abandon this state as its leaders have abandoned the proud heritage that forged our freedom.”

If those companies heed that call, it would mean Colt (a Connecticut original since 1847) as well as shotgun giant Mossberg (founded in New Haven since 1919) and Stag Arms (2003), which makes AR-15s that Connecticut residents no longer can buy, would all wave goodbye to a State whose history, as much as the Nation’s itself, has been bound since Colonial times to the manufacture and accessibility of firearms for residents, law enforcement and the military.

Presidential Tax Return Made Public

Through White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, President Barack Obama announced the release of his family’s 2012 tax returns Friday. The 32-page tome can be accessed here.

The Obamas reported an adjusted gross income of $608,611, $400,000 of which came from the President’s salary, and almost all of the remainder coming from book sales. The family paid $112,214, or 18.4 percent, in taxes. Through relatively sizable charitable donations, the Obamas’ actual tax liability was $335,000.

Interestingly, the President’s beloved Patient Protection and Affordable Care plan would require only about $2,000 in tax contributions for someone reporting the Obamas’ earnings, according to Forbes. That leaves lower income brackets to foot the rest of the plan’s required $317 billion in new tax revenues over the next 10 years.

Senate Democrats Block Thatcher Honor, Obama’s Gonna Let Me Go, Arizona’s Arpaio Targeted By Bomb, Global Warming Becomes Core Curriculum, President Miscalculated Budget Spending…By $1 Trillion – Friday Morning News Roundup 4-12-2013

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.

  • When was the last time Congress disgracefully turned its back at the passing of a staunch diplomatic ally and iconic peacetime head of state? Senate Democrats blocked a customary, boilerplate resolution late Thursday to honor former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday.
  • Talk of amnesty and border reform for illegal immigrants has made President Barack Obama a popular guy among aspiring illegals planning a furtive trip across the Rio Grande. When illegal crossers get caught in the attempt, some are beginning to display a savvy defiance, telling their border patrol captors things like “Obama’s gonna let me go” and “Where do I go for my amnesty?”
  • Someone wants Joe Arpaio, the tough -on-illegal-immigration sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz. dead. Police in Flagstaff intercepted a bomb in a package that was addressed to Arpaio, who’s made national news for years with his old-school attitude toward prisoners and illegal border crossers. He’s facing the U.S. Department of Justice now in a civil rights lawsuit alleging he hasn’t dealt fairly with Hispanics. The bomb threat was real; the device was disabled late Thursday by a bomb squad.
  • New science standards for the Nation’s public schools aim to put the Global Warming agenda at the center of all science curricula, progressively building upon a foundation of global warming indoctrination through every year of a child’s K-12 education.
  • President Obama’s new budget recommendation had already been panned by both parties for its profligacy. But number-crunchers are realizing that this year’s proposal exceeds even the President’s own expectations and promises, surpassing the $3.7 trillion he pledged to spend over the course of his first five fiscal years in office. The new budget revises that figure to a mere $5.3 trillion – 43 percent more than everyone already feared.

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

Median Household Income Now Less Than What Government Spends Per Household

If you add up all the money the government is spending, using information supplied by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and divide that amount by the number of households in the United States, you get a figure that now exceeds the median amount of money those households collectively earn.

In a new book called Completely Predictable, author Terence Jeffrey points out that, since 2010, the government has begun spending more money than it can even raise as revenue by taxing households at 100 percent.

That year, net spending at all levels of government — including Federal, State and municipal — amounted to $5.94 trillion. Divided across the 118,682,000 households in the United States, that comes to $50,074 per household. The median household income that year was $49,445: a $629 difference.

By contrast, in 2000, the government was spending $29,941 per household at a time when the median household income was $41,990.

Jefferey observes:

Thus, between 2000 and 2010, government in this country went from spending $12,049 less than the median household income to spending $629 more.

…I think the number demonstrates how completely predictable the fiscal crisis our country faces has become.

A nation whose government spends per family more than the typical family earns is on the road to ruin.

How in the world is something like that possible? Because taxation’s not where the money is. Fabricating money in a debt-based economy is the way we do things in America. The government prints money and creates debt as it endlessly expands the money supply, all under the para-governmental aegis of the bankers who control the Federal Reverse.

Although, at the Federal level, President Barack Obama has rightly been criticized for promoting a monetary policy that takes government spending into the stratosphere; the trend is nothing new. But Obama’s embracing of entitlement spending, as well as his burgeoning enthusiasm for the kind of economic “stimulus” policies his predecessor, George W. Bush, was lambasted for using as a stop-gap bailout measure, constitute the most egregious commitment to the government debt bubble of any President in the Nation’s history, as this chart of “real” inflation-adjusted per-capita (not per-household) spending shows:


“Two things stand out,” the accompanying article notes. “George W. Bush was god-awful. And Barack Obama looks to be even worse.”

Feds Secretly Asked For — And Secretly Got — List Of Every Concealed Carry Resident In Missouri

A report in the Columbia Daily Tribune has uncovered two instances in the past 16 months of Missouri State Police handing over to the Federal government a database that shares the identity of every registered concealed carry permit holder in the State.

They did it without notifying any of the permit holders, and they did it in violation of the law. In Missouri, residents’ concealed carry permit information is stored along with their driver license records; and Missouri law doesn’t allow even the State police to pull more than one resident’s information at a time — and certainly not en masse.

According to the Tribune’s report, 185,000 Missourians can now thank their State police for being known to the Feds as concealed carry owners of firearms — if they ever even learn their information was handed over freely. Not everybody reads the papers.

Missouri State Senator Kurt Schaeffer discovered the data dump after repeatedly quizzing revenue officials as part of a wider investigation into a new driver licensing system. Although an outraged Schaeffer has pledged to grill police officials about why they shared the information, no one has seen a written record that traces the Feds’ request for it back to the source.

Schaeffer told the Tribune the information appeared to have been requested by the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, so that the agency could see which of its beneficiaries with mental diagnoses also had concealed carry permits.

That’s abhorrent, said Schaeffer:

When they turn over the entire list of concealed carry holders in the state of Missouri to the federal government, where is it going? I want to know who all was involved in this transaction because if this is just some phone call saying give me the list of all concealed carry holders, how did the person at the patrol who fulfilled that request know who was at the other end of the phone? How did they know where to send it? How did they know what it was being used for?

Before the list reached the Feds, it had to pass through the hands of State police officials. The driver licensing database where the names are stored isn’t supposed to be configured in such a way that all the names can be extracted and subsequently copied, all at once, in a single “batch.” But, admitted a State police official, that’s exactly what happened — and it wasn’t an accident. It happened twice, “for law enforcement investigative purposes,” as a police captain admitted to the newspaper.

“Now we know… the department is actively and purposefully concealing that information from us,” observed State Senator Joseph Schaaf.

If it’s a crime in Missouri to disclose the names of concealed weapons permit holders, then who inside the public safety office or the department of revenue or any other State agency with potential access to these names is likely to face any criminal reprimand? Or are government officials immune from perpetrating crimes against their constituents?

Just ask supposed “hacker” and private citizen Aaron Swartz, whom the Feds harangued with a prosecution that would have led to decades’ worth of prison time.

Why? For using computers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to download millions of academic articles from a nonprofit database service. There was never a clear-cut crime prosecutors could hang on Swartz; he hadn’t culled any personal information, and he hadn’t stolen anything. He sure as heck hadn’t betrayed the trust of 185,000 individuals whose Constitutional powers he’d agreed to protect.

Swartz is dead, by the way, having hanged himself before his Federal trial. But imagine if Swartz had accessed the Missouri database and given these gun owners’ names away — even to a government agency — surreptitiously. Would he just get away with a strong talking to? Would you?

Obama Budget Would Cap Retirement Savings

Congress is very unlikely to approve President Barack Obama’s recommended budget, submitted Wednesday after much delay.

But if the President got his way, Congress would cap the amount of money people could save in tax-preferred retirement accounts so that no account could earn an annual return of more than $205,000. As U.S. News reports, that means accounts that today hold about $3 million would have reached their savings limit under Obama’s plan.

While $3 million is a lot of money, it’s not as much as it used to be — and that trend is certain to continue. And, whether it’s an extravagant amount, for those who’ve managed to save the money or simply a cushion intended to last a retired family 20 or 30 years, it’s not the dollar figure that should raise eyebrows.

What’s sinister about the scheme is the way in which it reveals Obama’s liberal, regressive attitude toward capitalism and wealth. It stems from the punitive idea that those who earn a lot of money no longer need money as much as others do, and that it’s government’s job to redistribute it.

Obama said as much, telling a POLITICO reporter that “some wealthy individuals are able to accumulate many millions of dollars in these accounts, substantially more than is needed to fund reasonable levels of retirement saving.”

Where’s the incentive to enter the free market when the government is standing in line to confiscate the wealth you’ve worked for?

Gun Grab Gets A Name, Rand Calls Out Dems At Black College, Iran’s Mystery Time Machine, Texas Goes After TSA, Youth Ain’t What It Used To Be: Thursday Morning News Roundup 4-11-2013

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.

  • When you want to take away citizens’ powers, always bury your motives in a lie, one that shows reverences for the very powers you want to seize. Days of Congressional discussion over a Federal gun-control bill has produced an agreement between key players from both political parties, and they’ve given the resulting piece of forthcoming legislation a name: The Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act. Was there something wrong with that other act called “The 2nd Amendment?”


  • Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) spoke to an assembly at historically black Howard College Wednesday, telling the crowd that the GOP isn’t their historical enemy — despite the party’s futile and halfhearted attempts in recent years to woo to black voters. Slow going for Rand, though. Cops tackled one guy who unfurled a banner that said something about white supremacy. And another student told Paul he doesn’t want a hands-off government; he wants one “that is going to help me.”


  • Not that you’d want to, but a new gizmo developed by an Iranian inventor purports to “bring the future to you” by accurately predicting the next “five to eight years of the future life of any individual.” The thing, which isn’t described in any detail at all, evidently predicts Iran will be going to war soon. See? It works!


  • Texas is already beloved for its “hands-off” attitude toward property and privacy, so it makes sense that a bill before the legislature could make it a crime for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents to touch you there without probable cause. One Democratic party pooper panned the idea, saying he gets “tired of Texas playing chicken with the Federal government all the time.”


  • A study in the European Journal of Cardiology has found that young adults today are so unhealthy that, on average, they might as well be 15 years older than they actually are. Put another way, they’re 15 “virtual” years older than their parents were at the same age. Pass the Doritos.

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

Nationwide Push Urging Retailers To Stop Selling Toxic Products Starts Today

A major push begins today urging high-profile U.S. retailers to crack down on selling a host of products that contain chemicals with unsafe — or unproven — track records.

The campaign seeks a commitment from Wal-Mart, Target and other major retailers to devise a plan to stop selling products that contain any of more than 100 chemicals opponents identified as unsafe in various studies and regulated by one or more Federal measures, such as the Toxic Control Substances Act, issued over the past several decades.

The campaign represents a collaboration between nearly 50 health and environmental advocacy organizations that are arguing that most retailers don’t know what ingredients are in the products they sell. Advocates say those products traverse the spectrum of everyday use: clothing, vinyl flooring, shower curtains, packaging, shampoos and bottles, among hundreds of others.

Some retailers and industry advocates claim they have already moved to self-regulate, according to a report Wednesday. Some stores stopped selling products that contain BPAs before the Feds could get around to banning them, for example. And Target, Wal-Mart, Lowe’s and others have imposed their own restrictions on toxins such as polyvinyl chloride, coal tar, formaldehyde, phthalates and parabens.

But one organizer said retailers aren’t doing enough. “[T]he bites so far are too small for the scale of the problem,” said Andy Igrejas of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Homes. His organization, along with groups like the Breast Cancer Awareness Fund, are sending a letter — which they haven’t yet made public — urging retailers to identify and halt the sale of products that contain chemicals which have been linked to cancer, infertility, learning disabilities and behavioral problems.

That letter will go out to Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, Kroger, Walgreens, Home Depot, Lowe’s, CVS, Best Buy and Safeway. So far, organizers aren’t talking about coming up with repercussions against retailers that don’t heed the call to eliminate toxins from the products they sell. They simply want to make sure the public knows the stores they frequent are being called upon, at the least, to require their suppliers to disclose what’s in their products.

Colorado Sheriffs Will Sue Over Gun Laws

When the police think that regular citizens — people with whom they must constantly interact in their work — are better off with guns than without them, shouldn’t the people making the laws those cops have to enforce be listening?

More than half the 62 elected sheriffs in the State of Colorado are preparing a lawsuit challenging the Constitutionality of broad gun-control laws the Legislature passed and the Governor signed last month.

The Denver Post reported Wednesday that 37 of the State’s sheriffs are presently involved, although more are likely to join. It’s not known yet whether the suit would be filed in State or Federal court.

The suit would take aim at three gun-control measures signed into law by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper on March 20 — eight months after a mass murder at an Aurora theater elicited a call from liberal legislators, governors, Congressmen and the Administration of President Barack Obama to create new laws expanding government’s role in determining who can own what type of gun.

Together, the Colorado legislation limits magazine capacity to 15 rounds, requires universal background checks that encompass private gun sales and then requires the customer to pay for the background check.

At the time the new measures passed, a Republican State Senator voiced what gun-owning Coloradans were thinking: “I’m telling you right now: I will not obey this law. I will willfully and purposefully and civilly disobey this law.”

The sheriffs’ proposed lawsuit would argue the Colorado laws violate the 2nd Amendment’s right to bear arms, as well as the 14th Amendment’s protection of citizens’ immunities from state infringement.

Sheriffs’ support for the suit isn’t quite unanimous, but it’s gaining momentum. One sheriff who said he won’t be signing on attributed his reluctance not to any disagreement he had with the spirit of the suit; rather, he said he just doesn’t believe in suing “anybody for anything.”

Michigan Man Victorious In Fight To Keep Anti-Obama Signs On His Own Property

A Michigan township challenged local farmer Vern Verduin’s right to display political banners (located on his own property) critical of President Barack Obama’s fiscal policy. They lost.

Officials in Gaines Township had cited and fined Verduin for allegedly violating the local sign ordinance, which forbids political signage unless it’s near an election season, while allowing commercial signage anytime. But a district judge tossed out the charges and ruled the Township’s ordinance is unConstitutional on the grounds it violates 1st Amendment protections of free speech.

Verduin’s signs, which were displayed on two tractor trailers he owns, read:







Both vehicles were parked on his own property, where Verduin operates a 40-acre cattle farm. District Judge Steven Servaas ruled that the Gaines Township ordinance violated the 1st Amendment because it favored commercial advertising over free political speech.