U.S. Military Says Bye-Bye To Pin-Ups, Calendar Girls And Naughty Screen Savers

U.S. military barracks with girlie calendars and pin-ups on the walls will be getting the sterile treatment under another Defense Department inspection aimed at rooting out gender-offensive material in military working environments.

The new round of “close-up, comprehensive” inspections will focus on soldiers, sailors and Marines, much the same as a similar sweep of Air Force facilities last year, according to Military Times.

It’s a cultural sea change from the sanctioned, sexed-up morale boosters soldiers have long enjoyed — but that’s the point.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday the military has to do something about escalating allegations of sexual assault, as more women join the ranks of America’s fighting force.

“We need a cultural change where every service member is treated with dignity and respect,” he said.

Number Of Americans On Disability Could Populate State Of Georgia — Or 42 Other States

Only seven States have a population greater than the total number of Americans now on government disability, according to data just released by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

For the month of April, the SSA reported 10,962,532 beneficiaries receiving payments from the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund. That number represents a consistent monthly increase in public disability enrollment that dates all the way to 1997 — the last time the number actually went down.

Georgia, the Nation’s eighth most-populous State, had a 2010 Census population of 9.68 million. That means the government is funding enough people on disability to subsidize (or fund altogether) the incomes of everyone in the State of Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina or 39 other less-populous States.

Meanwhile, the size of the U.S. labor force is shrinking.

JoBi Tells Religious Leaders: Morality Favors Gun Control

Noted theologian and United States Vice President Joe Biden entreated a room full of religious leaders to support Congress’ second attempt at gun control by recasting the language of gun-related violence in moral terms when communicating with their followers.

In a closed-door meeting Monday, Biden spoke with Christian, Muslim, Jewish and other religious leaders, calling for them to counter the National Rifle Association’s Constitutional basis for fighting gun restrictions with a moral one, according to TheBlaze.

That may be a tough sell to people like Rabbi Dovid Bendory of Jews For The Preservation Of Firearms Ownership or Pastor Chuck Baldwin, as well as the multitude of religious people out there who make compelling moral cases in favor of preserving 2nd Amendment powers.

Jack Lew’s John Hancock, Rodman The Diplomat, Frost On Egypt’s Arab Spring, The Donald Hawks A Startup, Colbert-Busch? We Hardly Knew Ye: Wednesday Morning News Roundup 5-8-2013

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.


  • U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has been widely mocked for his scribble signature, which is required on each currency note in order to make it legal tender. Now he’s fixed his scrip to make it look more legitimate… no word on the fiat currency.


  • Dennis Rodman is conducting a little more freak diplomacy with his tiny eastern dictator friend Kim Jong Un. Calling for the release of a Korean-American that’s been sentenced and jailed in the Hermit Kingdom, Rodman asked Kim via Twitter Wednesday, “Do me a solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose.”


  • Two years after the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt is lapsing into the pattern of destabilization, violence and vigilantism that’s followed past Mideast revolutions. Urban black-market arms manufacturers in Cairo are doing a big business, when they aren’t dying or facing arrest. Why? “Fear is big business nowadays,” one told Bloomberg. “We’re in a jungle now.”


  • Donald Trump is launching a new crowdfunding start-up. To prove he is hip with the youthful start-up mentality and not just some old, out-of-touch rich guy, Trump will be giving away suitcases full of cash as a promotional effort.


  • After months of National micro-focus on the South Carolina District 1 Congressional race, Steven Colbert’s sister, Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, couldn’t defeat Republican Mark Sanford — a man who in 2009, as Governor, absconded with an Argentinian mistress (now his fiancée) while telling the public he was just hiking the Appalachian Trail.


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

Reader Reaction: 2nd Amendment Vigilance Isn’t Just Some Fringe Hobby For Trigger-Happy Nut Cases

The reader comments that continue to follow from our Tuesday article about one man’s effort to rally 2nd Amendment supporters for a nonviolent armed march on Washington, D.C., range from all-out enthusiasm for the idea to indignant disdain for firearms and their place in American life.

But the majority of comments you’re leaving reveal reasoned and thoughtful reflection on the implications of taking the fight to preserve the Constitutional right to bear arms — in such a very direct (and illegal) way — to the seat of power. Most of them don’t make for the kind of fodder the mainstream media craves in its ongoing depiction of gun rights watchers as mindless fools, trigger-happy gun addicts who fantasize about Taking The Power Back in some John Rambo-style orgy of revolt.

To be sure, readers largely agree that citizens must take their Constitutional rights back from the modern iteration of what American government was originally designed to be. But most readers also assert that this proposed July 4 armed demonstration isn’t the flashpoint for that kind of revolution, and that there are better and more effective ways to hold our leaders accountable to their oaths.

And, as the comments from a few veterans demonstrate, those who defend the idea largely do so with a passion informed by conscience, experience and sacrifice.

Some excerpted highlights of your conversation (so far). Only formatting changes have been made to what readers have written:

  • …NO FIREARMS! That is an invitation to disaster. I can’t think of a better way to convince the statists that the 2nd Amendment has to go, along with private ownership of firearms. This is either a false flag effort to convince middle America that gun owners are gun nuts or just the stupidest idea in a long time, rivaling some of the BHO administration’s stupid ideas.
  • While I can support the march itself I cannot support being armed especially openly. The chances of Bloomberg inserting a ringer with instructions to start something quite possibly including firing shots is just too great.
  • Bad, Bad, Bad Idea. Let the 2nd Amendment “Speak For Itself” Please don’t fall for this “Trap” because that will be all it takes for every anti – 2nd Amendment Agency in this Country to scream “See, We Were Right” Guns must be confiscated from everyone!!
  • You know that this will NEVER remain peaceful despite your best intentions! That does not make the MSM happy or give them a news bite! You are setting up Patriots for Liberal slaughter in the media or bloody on the pavement.
  • I am a STRONG Supporter of the 2nd Amendment!!! But This march has “FAIL” Written all over it! One Itchy Finger and it will turn into a BLOOD BATH! Exactly what the Libs Want! Martial Law and WE all are in for a BAD TIME!!!
  • …The 2nd Amendment does not automatically give credibility and trust to those who open carry. A huge responsibility comes with the right to own and carry guns.

While it’s too long to quote, scroll down and check out BrotherPatriot’s seven-step alternative method for carrying out the march without inducing anyone to violate the law.

Finally, one endorsement of the demonstration that’s hard to read with a dry eye:

This old Vietnam vet will be there. I just hope that I can get some help up the hills in my wheelchair. I can only walk about 300 yards. I will not be carrying a gun, but a Bible and a copy of the bill of Rights will be on my lap.

Texas Jobs Trip May Find Obama Grudgingly Embracing Governor Rick Perry’s Free Market Success Story

Even with the selective editing afforded the White House by major news outlets, President Barack Obama hasn’t fared well of late in the public eye.

A cavalcade of Constitutional assaults on firearm ownership, privacy and State sovereignty, coupled with a series of elitist, out-of-touch endorsements of regressive social reform proposals before Congress, have distanced the President from leading the public’s attention back to the talking point central to the agenda that led him to two election-year victories: the economy.

So this week, Obama will launch a refocusing effort, embarking on a campaign he’s dubbed the “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tour.” The jobs tour is supposed to take the President to States and cities across the country whose employment and economic successes (and, presumably, failures) illustrate something germane about freeing Americans to innovate, work and prosper.

Except for his first stop, scheduled for Thursday, the full itinerary hasn’t been revealed. But to kick off the campaign, the President’s first stop will find him speaking in Austin, Texas, where the local economy’s on fire.

What he’ll say there is anybody’s guess, but don’t be surprised if Obama attempts to co-opt the success of Governor Rick Perry’s low-regulation approach to business in a strange obfuscation of what has worked in Texas and what the President thinks will work going forward. Taking pro-growth success stories and attributing them to untested or discredited policies he’d like to implement wouldn’t break character for a President who has a serial habit of confusing outcomes with approaches.

You can see it already in Obama’s PR statements, which displace to the Legislative branch his recent policy defeats and pat the Administration on the back for what success America’s relatively Obama-free zones — like Texas — have enjoyed.

“Even though some in Congress are determined to create more self-inflicted economic wounds, there are things Washington could be doing right now to help American businesses, schools and workers,” said Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest. “We need to build on the progress we’ve made over the last four years, and that means investing in things that are already creating good-paying, stable jobs that can support a middle class family.”

Press Secretary Jay Carney, who was unable to fully conceal the Administration’s provincial take on the lands west of the Capital, said: “Out in the country, there are positive things happening, and that only reinforces the need for Washington to do some very simple things to help facilitate economic growth and job creation.”

The Perry approach to fueling the Texas economy involves getting out of the way of people who have good ideas and want to profit from them. Low taxes, a relaxed regulatory environment, a State budget that doesn’t bloat and, most importantly, an underlying philosophy of governing that understands jobs come not from government innovations but from the free market: That’s the essence of Texas’ economic success that, if Obama is honest with himself, he’ll have to acknowledge when he sets foot in the Lone Star State tomorrow.

Perry’s office greeted news of Obama’s Austin visit with a Texas-friendly “duh!”

“If President Obama is serious about getting our nation’s economy working again, then he’s come to the right place,” Lucy Nashed, the Governor’s Press Secretary, told National Review Monday. “Texas’ success didn’t happen by accident — it’s a result of policies put in place under Governor Perry’s leadership with a laser focus on making Texas a beacon of economic freedom.”

Jihad Driving Christian Mass Exodus From The Muslim World

A pattern that’s been decades in the making in the Middle East has seen dictatorial regimes toppled, only to give way to Islamic forces that destabilize any modicum of Christian coexistence in countries that formerly held at least a measure of religious heterogeneity.

The result, according to Fox News columnist Raymond Ibrahim, has been a mass exodus of Christians from predominantly-Muslim lands, as hard-line Islam leaves longtime Christian residents little room to breathe – almost literally.

A late-2011 report found that Christians were being displaced so rapidly from some areas that, within a single lifespan, there may be no Christians whatsoever living in Iraq, Egypt and Afghanistan.

Pointing to a pattern established when the U.S. “liberation” of Iraq gave way to anti-Christian sentiment that led to thousands of Christian deaths, Ibrahim takes aim at the American response to the current crisis in Syria:

“[E]ntire regions and towns where Christians lived for centuries before Islam came into being have now been emptied, as the [Syrian] opposition targets Christians for kidnapping, plundering, and beheadings, all in compliance with mosque calls telling the populace that it’s a ‘sacred duty’ to drive Christians away.”

EC President: A Federal Europe Is Inevitable

The leader of the European Commission (EC) said Tuesday there’s no way the European Union will continue to be united by a single currency without moving toward a political union within the next few years.

EC President Manuel Barroso, formerly a Portuguese politician, announced he will reveal plans outlining a path toward the creation of a “European Federation” next year ahead of EU Parliamentary elections.

“We want to put all the elements on the table, in a clear and consistent way, even if some of them may sound like political science fiction today. They will be reality in a few years’ time,” Barosso claimed.

The idea of a politically federated Europe is extremely divisive among the EU’s 27 member nations, with Great Britain also internally divided over how – and how fully – it will be able to renegotiate its unique “opt-out” membership within the increasingly globalist EU structure.

Obama Administration Engages In War Of Words With China Over Alleged Espionage Hacks

A Pentagon report on the Chinese military bluntly accused the People’s Liberation Army and the Chinese government of instigating cyber-attacks against U.S. government computer systems, as well as those of industrial and defense contractors.

“In 2012, numerous systems around the world, including those owned by the U.S. government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military,” the report, released Monday, alleges.

An official with the U.S. Department of Defense confirmed that the report had been coordinated so that the White House could reveal suspicions it’s long harbored under the security aegis of the Pentagon. Industrial espionage appeared to be the primary motive for the alleged cyberattacks, with Chinese efforts to understand the thinking behind U.S. policies mentioned as a secondary motive.

A Chinese Foreign Affairs official responded Tuesday by saying the report contained “groundless accusations and speculations.”

Obama’s Secret Pig-Out, Christie’s Secret Weight Loss, Celebrity Guns, NoKo Standing Down?, Drone Hacker Jihad: Tuesday Morning News Roundup 5-7-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.


  • President Barack Obama secretly held an A-list celebrity bash the night he took his second oath of office. The Hill got hold of the guest list in April. Jamie Foxx, Kelly Clarkson, Eva Longoria: You get the idea.


  • No one could have suspected it by looking, but Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie evidently had lap band weight loss surgery three months ago. The 50-year-old RINO is trying to live longer for his family and perhaps to get down to his fighting weight as he mulls a run at a Presidential nomination in 2016.


  • A Florida guy who just likes guns and decided to start putting a daily picture from his 115-weapon collection on Instagram has gained close to 40,000 followers since December. He had only 8,500 followers before Congress started talking about gun control.


  • North Korea may be dialing down its saber rattling, at least for now. U.S. satellites reveal that, over the weekend, the Hermit Kingdom removed a battery of missiles it had placed in firing position for a much-publicized test launch.


  • A new online magazine for new jihadists is putting out a call for some tech-savvy Muslim to help figure out how to hack American drones, saying “any opinions, thoughts, ideas and practical implementations to defeat this drone technology must be communicated to us as early as possible because these would aid the Ummah greatly in its war against the Crusader-Zionist enemy.”


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


2nd Amendment Litmus Test: ‘Peaceful’ Armed March On D.C. Planned For Fourth Of July

A libertarian radio show host is organizing a Fourth of July march on Washington, D.C., by inviting participants to open carry their loaded firearms in a nonviolent organized demonstration.

Adam Kokesh, who hosts the YouTube-based “Adam vs. The Man” radio program, is gathering RSVPs for the planned event on Facebook. The invitation extends to all Americans who own firearms as well as those who don’t, but are supportive of rigidly preserving the unambiguous sanctity of the 2nd Amendment. Law enforcement officers are also invited to take part.

The invitation originally characterized the march as an act of “civil disobedience, not a permitted event.” But Kokesh changed that phrasing, saying he had received a large response from would-be participants and is now coordinating with Washington, D.C., law enforcement in an effort to ensure the event remains peaceful and that the demonstrators aren’t harassed.

Open carry is permitted in Virginia, but not in Washington, D.C., which forbids open carry, does not honor any State’s gun permits and requires residents to register each and every firearm they own, without exception.

Kokesh acknowledges a “remote chance” that an armed march met by any form of organized resistance could turn violent. But the strategy for the march involves peacefully going as far along the planned route as possible, and either turning back if instructed to do so by law enforcement or peacefully submitting to arrest, if law enforcement instead attempts to make arrests.

From the original Facebook invitation:

On the morning of July 4, 2013, Independence Day, we will muster at the [Arlington] National Cemetery & at noon we will step off to march across the Memorial Bridge, down Independence Avenue, around the Capitol, the Supreme Court, & the White House, then peacefully return to Virginia across the Memorial Bridge. This is an act of civil disobedience, not a permitted event. We will march with rifles loaded & slung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated & cower in submission to tyranny. We are marching to mark the high water mark of government & to turn the tide. This will be a non-violent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent. Should we meet physical resistance, we will peacefully turn back, having shown that free people are not welcome in Washington, & returning with the resolve that the politicians, bureaucrats, & enforcers of the federal government will not be welcome in the land of the free.

You are welcome to attend unarmed as a supporter, or armed with a recording device.

In order to follow through with the event, Kokesh states at least 1,000 bodies must be physically gathered on July 4 to take part in the march. To assure that threshold has been met, he said, 10,000 people must RSVP their intention of participating by responding to the invitation on Facebook.

It’s hard not to envision that a Fourth of July march on the capital — with guns — would be heavily “promoted” by a shrill mainstream media, creating a powder-keg set of expectations in viewers entertained by the possibility, no matter how real or artificially stoked, that violent confrontation could erupt.

If the march does go forward, it’s also difficult to imagine the organizers and participants won’t, at the very least, face some form of very public arrest. The idea that these demonstrators will simply be asked to turn around, without fear of legal repercussion (or worse), seems least plausible of all. And in the days and weeks following such a protest, what then? How will Congress and the executive branch respond in the wake of a demonstration — even a peaceful and uneventful one — sure to be branded a “threat” to the safety and security of the seat of world power?

A few Internet commenters have speculated Kokesh is a false flag, planted by the left to ramp up the perception that conservative views and their adherents are dangerously absurd. Maybe; maybe not. It seems implausible, in light of his past.

Kokesh supported Ron Paul as a Presidential candidate for 2012 before souring on what he calls “Ron Paul, Inc.” and distancing himself. Paul had supported Kokesh’s 2010 attempt to win election to a New Mexico legislative seat. The “Adam vs. The Man” radio show was aired not only on Albuquerque AM radio, but also by the Russia Today television network — before being canceled following a Federal Election Commission complaint alleging the show had helped stoke Paul’s campaign with foreign funds.

Kokesh, an Iraq war veteran, received dubious national notoriety in 2007, when he was given a “general” discharge from the Marines after a flap over allegations he wore his service attire at a Washington, D.C., anti-war protest in which he took part.

Obama Exhorts OSU Grads To Embrace Government, Dismiss Vigilance Against Tyranny

On Sunday, President Barack Obama delivered the commencement address to graduates of Ohio State University, urging them to trust the state and view government as a friend.

As for those individuals who believe the citizenry forms the only barrier between the government and tyranny? Well, said the President, the future will be a whole lot brighter if you don’t listen to all that negative, paranoid nonsense.

We, the people, chose to do these things together — because we know this country cannot accomplish great things if we pursue nothing greater than our own individual ambition.

Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.

We have never been a people who place all of our faith in government to solve our problems; we shouldn’t want to. But we don’t think the government is the source of all our problems, either. Because we understand that this democracy is ours. And as citizens, we understand that it’s not about what America can do for us; it’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government. And, class of 2013, you have to be involved in that process.

Much of the President’s speech following those remarks seemed to “gum up” the spirit of what he’d just said, as Obama almost immediately seemed to contradict his own assertion that government isn’t a sinister, aloof power to be feared.

Decrying government corruption as a systemic problem that produces “lobbyists who set the agenda,” “well-connected” politicians who get “special treatment” and “policies detached from what middle-class families face,” he held forth individual optimism and openhearted trust in government as a palliative. If everybody would just stop viewing government with such doggone skepticism, government wouldn’t be so reviled, nor so welcoming of elitist corruption — despite the fact that many of government’s problems are systemic.

In other words, Obama asked Buckeye grads — and the rest of the Nation — to help government operate in a closed system, one in which the governed approve of those who govern. Because everything in a closed system — whether a governing tyranny, an abusive family or a religious cult — is perfect, so long as all parties buy in and no one breaks through the isolating bubble to see that system’s operations from the outside. And despite the President’s remarks, that, indeed, is sinister.

Liberals Decry ‘Undetectable’ Firearms As 3-D Printing Makes Plastic Gun Reality

It’s hard to control access to something that can be made at home. When that something is a gun, it’s more than gun grabbers can bear.

Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) describes as “stomach churning” a breakthrough in 3-D printing technology that has allowed a Texas company to “print,” using a layering process, a .380 handgun in less than 24 hours, with only a single, tiny metal component (the firing pin).

That’s renewed urgency among gun control advocates in Congress to pass a little-publicized bill that would expand the “Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act” of 2003 — a bill one tech enthusiast calls “a convenient façade… to target expedient individual production of legal firearms components.”

Here’s the offending weapon — dubbed the “Liberator” by its creators — in action:


Suicide Among American Adults Soaring, Says CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed last week that the number of American adults who take their own lives jumped dramatically in the first decade of the 21st century.

In a report released last Thursday, the CDC said each of the Nation’s four geographic regions have seen at least a 23 percent increase in suicides, with the rate for some areas and demographic groups soaring well beyond that. In fact, suicides have now surpassed motor vehicle crashes as a cause of death in the United States.

Among age groups, the study, which examined suicides between 1999 and 2010, found that middle-aged Americans between 50 to 54 and 55 to 59 increased the most — 48 percent and 49 percent, respectively. Why? Maybe it’s the economy, the report speculates:

Possible contributing factors for the rise in suicide rates among middle-aged adults include the recent economic downturn (historically, suicide rates tend to correlate with business cycles, with higher rates observed during times of economic hardship); a cohort effect, based on evidence that the “baby boomer” generation had unusually high suicide rates during their adolescent years; and a rise in intentional overdoses associated with the increase in availability of prescription opioids. Additional research is needed to understand the cause of the increase in age-adjusted suicide rates and why the extent of the increase varies across racial/ethnic populations.

In terms of ethnic populations, whites and American Indians represented the greatest increase, with the suicide rate among white people swelling by 40.4 percent; that of American Indians, by 65.2 percent, in just a decade.

The study also provided some morbid details about manner of death: Men prefer guns and hangings, while women used guns and poison. Use of guns in suicides increased by 14 percent, while poison increased by 24 percent. But the rate of people who killed themselves by hanging far outpaced either method, increasing by an astonishing 81 percent.

Teachers Terrorized By Masked Gunmen In Unannounced School Shooting ‘Drill’

Teachers at an Oregon school thought they and their colleagues had been shot by masked gunmen who stormed a faculty meeting and began randomly firing at people. Amid the shock and noise and adrenalin, teachers had to look down at their own bodies in order to realize they weren’t bleeding.

They weren’t bleeding because the shooters were firing blanks, and — ho, ho — the whole thing had just been a preparedness exercise. The two guys with the guns, wearing hoodies and masks, were school staff members acting on the instruction of principal Cammie DeCastro.

Staged on April 26, the shooting drill involved only teachers of Pine Eagle Charter School in the rural town of Halfway, Ore. It was a faculty in-service day, so students had the day off and weren’t present.

But the shock-and-awe invasion of a room full of 15 teachers produced both hypothetical casualties and real outrage. DeCastro said most of the teachers wouldn’t have survived the ordeal, had live rounds been used — a fact intended to emphasize the importance of active shooter training the school’s faculty had previously received from the county sheriff’s office.

“I’ll tell you, the whole situation was horrible,” said one teacher. “I got a couple in the front and a couple in the back.”

What’s horrible is the blurred line between the reality of what real, evil guys with guns can do and the fantasy of what people are willing to accept from those in charge — whether they be politicians or supervising bureaucrats — in power-driven efforts to keep them “safe.”

How is this not a crime? The idea for the drill was hatched not by local law enforcement (which itself would hardly qualify as a mitigating factor), but by a civilian administrator with no special prerogative to force upon other civilians the wholehearted acceptance that their freedom and safety were in immediate peril.

You’d not long walk the streets freely if you took it upon yourself  to bring a gun filled with blanks into your workplace, point the thing at coworkers, enjoy a few fiendish moments of total dominance over a cacophonous, panicked, havoc-filled scene, then unmask yourself and smile in order to wave a cautionary finger at everyone while admonishing, “vigilance!”

Internet commenters fleshed out all the reasons, both practical and philosophical, why staging a surprise killing sends the wrong message. What if one of the “victims” had been concealed carrying and fired back? What if someone had a heart condition or asthma? How does this kind of false terrorism differ from shouting “fire” in a crowded theater? Doesn’t this kind of bullying further cement in the mind of the average person that a culture of authority-nurtured fear is necessary and normal?

On that count, it worked. After collecting themselves and reflecting, teachers were accepting of the drill.

“It made me analyze as a teacher what my role is for these babies,” said one.

“It heightened my awareness about what’s around me,” said another.

South Carolina On Its Way To Criminalizing Obamacare

The South Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday that, if it becomes law, will make it a crime to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care act anywhere in the State.

The so-called “nullification bill” cleared the House on a 65-39 vote. It’s a pretty ambitious bill. Among other things, it would:

  • Give citizens a dollar-for-dollar tax deduction for the amount they pay as a penalty to the Federal government for opting out of mandatory insurance under Obamacare.
  • Authorize the South Carolina Attorney General to issue restraining orders and temporary injunctions to anyone who is deemed to be “causing harm” by following Obamacare.
  • Establishes criminal penalties and civil liability for anyone who attempts to enforce Obamacare.

Cruz Throws Down Gauntlet In Challenge To Debate Biden On Gun Control

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) challenged Vice President Joe Biden to debate him on gun control Friday after learning about Biden’s vague plan to approach Congress with a new plan to restrict gun ownership:

“I would like to invite the Vice President to engage in an hour-long conversation and debate: how do we stop crime? If Vice President Biden really believes that the facts are on his side…then I would think he would welcome the opportunity to talk about the sources; the causes of violent crime — who is carrying it out, and how we can do everything humanly possible to stop it.”

Cruz’s remarks came in a speech to the National Rifle Association’s leadership forum.

Biden announced Thursday he would be launching a cross-country trip to appeal for expanded background checks and gun trafficking laws, but that he and President Barack Obama hadn’t yet discussed the plan.

Jesus Or Jihad?, Bombs On The 4th Of July, Terror Database Grows, No Love For Uncle Si, School Takes A Sun Day — Friday Morning News Roundup 5-3-2013

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 man arrested last weekend for allegedly driving his vehicle onto the tarmac at Dallas Love Field, driving on the taxiway at 100 mph, entering a hangar and finally being tackled was reported by local Dallas police to have yelled “in an unknown language” before shouting “jihad” three times as he was taken down. The FBI got hold of the case to press Federal charges, and by Wednesday had changed the eyewitness version of what the guy said from “jihad” to “Jesus.”
  • Suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is allegedly telling investigators he and his brother had originally intended to blow people up on July 4th, but chose the marathon after making their homemade explosives faster than they had anticipated.
  • An American official told Reuters the size of a central database compiled to track terror suspects has swollen from 540,000 to 875,000 in the past five years. Policy experts disagree over how unwieldy a list with nearly 1 million names can be for the Feds: suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been on it since 2011.
  • Students at a Phoenix-area school can’t have any fun, thanks to a few delicate parents like the Rev. Ozetta Kirby, vice president of the local NAACP chapter. After her 11th grade grandkid came home shaken up over the student council’s sponsored “Redneck Day” event – its inspiration taken from A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” show – Kirby and other minority groups complained, saying the whole thing reminded them of being on the “bottom rung of society, where everybody [else] is being jubilant.” We can’t have that.
  • But sanity sometimes prevails in schools: A Christian School in Bellingham, Wa. cancelled classes today not because of ice and snow, but because the weather’s so nice. Bellingham Christian Principal Bob Samson said he hopes the gesture will “promote positive school culture.”

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

If Saudi Diplomats Are Enslaving Their Hired Help On U.S. Soil, Will The White House Answer?

Virginia police and U.S. Customs may have exposed a tiny bastion of the Saudi culture of segregation, servitude and control over women and those of meager economic means — right in the posh bedroom community where the Nation’s power players and foreign diplomats retire each day after doing their business in Washington.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed two domestic workers from a diplomatic mansion in the upscale, unincorporated community of McLean, Va., late Tuesday. A preferred residence of Congressmen, diplomats and high-earning government employees, McLean lies just across the Potomac from Washington, D.C., offering a fast commute for those whose day jobs take them into the city.

The mansion, owned by the Saudi Armed Forces Office, allegedly held two unidentified workers who agents believe were being held in a condition of domestic servitude that approximated slavery. It’s not known whether those two individuals were women, although Saudi domestic custom would strongly suggest it.

Nowhere on Earth do the medieval and the modern entwine in a single culture so strikingly as in Saudi Arabia. Women cannot drive. They are completely segregated from men. They cannot seek employment, enroll in a university, or make any self-willed foray into the public sphere without first obtaining the permission of a male sponsor.

Yet women in even marginally affluent families have incredible access to great secular entertainments and modern niceties. Comfortably and sufficiently removed from firsthand experience of extremist violence at home, most stable Saudi men and women tend to regard suicide bombings and literal jihad as the endeavors of a fringe few. So long as the men aren’t around, the girls can dance all night in tight party dresses while listening to Nicki Minaj.

But foreigners brought to Saudi Arabia as domestic servants enjoy only the medieval side of that dichotomy. Whether kept in the home or encountered in the service industry, they are regarded as property:



Even though slavery is an ancient, ancient memory in Saudi Arabia (it was abolished way back in 1962), the culture of ownership prevails. The country is a hot spot for the importation of both men and women destined for slave-like domestic service, often through the legally disingenuous skirting of the law known as “contract servitude.” Who knows how frequent are the terrifying anecdotes of foreign female domestic servants who end up living as hostages with married, middle-class rapists and their wives?

Governments in several of the impoverished origin countries that supply the Saudi domestic servitude market have gotten wise, with India and other South Asian countries either banning Saudi recruitment of domestic workers or setting age thresholds for women hopeful that a stint in a Saudi household can enrich their poor finances.

Yet Saudi Arabia is too crucial a Mideast ally for the United States — ostensibly a principled Nation that occasionally rattles its papier-mâché saber at regimes like Syria — to take a second glance at oil-rich and regionally influential King Abdullah’s abysmal abuse of individual rights. Not to mention the Saudi government’s willed blindness when it comes to the country’s de facto favored-nation status among budding Islamic terrorists.

It will be interesting in the days to come to see how much information is released about what was going on in that mansion in McLean — and, if the worst turns out to be true, whether any Saudi national will ever be brought to account.

Representative Frank Wolf (R-Va.) has called for the U.S. State Department to intervene if it’s shown that Saudi diplomats are keeping their “hired” help in forced servitude on U.S. soil. But it’s difficult to imagine any scenario in which the Administration of President Barack Obama would come down hard on nationals of an Islamic nation that, at times, seems to have the White House in its thrall.

Guerilla Diplomacy: North Korea Sentences American Citizen To 15 Years’ Hard Labor To Lure U.S. Into Talks, Tribute

An American citizen who went to North Korea late last year as a tour guide has been arrested and charged by the North Korean Supreme Court on a vague charge of attempting to overthrow the government.

Kenneth Bae, 44, an American of South Korean descent whom friends describe as a devout Christian, had been detained in November of last year in the city of Rason, near the Russian border. Bae was traveling with a group of tourists at the time of his arrest.

The Korean Central News Agency, North Korea’s state-run media, released a statement over the weekend alleging Bae had admitted to “committing crimes aimed to topple the democratic People’s Republic of Korea with hostility toward it.”

He has been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

Those who know Bae said he has an interest in humanitarian issues and may have been arrested for possessing pictures of orphaned, vagrant North Korean children.

“Mr. Bae has been supporting an orphanage and running a bakery with the North Korean authorities’ agreement. But he is being detained for taking pictures of homeless children,” said Do Hee-yoon, who works with a human rights group in Seoul.

Bae is the sixth known American to have been detained in North Korea since 2009. A pattern has emerged over that time, indicating the North Korean government may view such arrests as bargaining chips in diplomatic relations with the United States and may time them to initiate an American response whenever there’s been an especially dire deterioration in the two nations’ perpetually strained relations.

In addition, baiting American dignitaries into meetings that take place on North Korean soil may serve the regime’s domestic propaganda function. As Reuters surmises:

North Korea appears to use the release of high profile American prisoners to extract a form of personal tribute, rather than for economic or diplomatic gain, often portraying visiting dignitaries as paying homage.

Two U.S. journalists were arrested in 2009 and sentenced to hard labor, but they were pardoned into the custody of former President Bill Clinton after he traveled to Pyongyang to secure their release. In the bargain, former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, excoriated by the United States for recent underground nuclear tests, got some face time with Clinton, which eventually led to a temporary reprieve in escalating tensions.

Similarly, former President Jimmy Carter flew to North Korea in 2010 to negotiate the release of an American who had allegedly entered the country illegally.

Bae’s sentencing follows an acrimonious start to new North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s relationship with the United States, with the Supreme Leader escalating war rhetoric and conducting a series of tests (one involving a nuclear weapon) and border drills since the start of President Barack Obama’s second term in office.

A Facebook vigil page calling for Bae’s release has been set up.

Christie Edges Closer To Democratic Conversion With Featured Spot At Clinton Economic Summit

Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will partner with Hillary Clinton next month as double-billed featured speakers at a Clinton Global Initiative conference, to be held June 13 in Chicago.

The CGI America event serves as a sort of brainstorming session on economic issues, with this year’s focus on how to “promote economic recovery in the United States.”

CGI was founded in 2005 by former President Bill Clinton as a bipartisan group. But looking at some of the other high-profile names scheduled to attend this year’s event, Christie still seems — barely — the most conservative of the bunch.

Seattle Riot Pits Clowns Versus Superheroes, Fed Sits On Rates, Your Brain Is Killing You, Go To College And Get A Sex Change, Joe Biden Makes No Sense: Thursday Morning News Roundup 5-2-2013

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.

  • Cops in Seattle quelled a melee after a public May Day protest, which drew out guys in superhero costumes vigilant in case the demonstrating clowns got rowdy — as they evidently have in past May Day events.
  • Interest Rates aren’t going anywhere. The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday it would maintain rates as it continues to buy up bond assets at a rate of $85 billion per month. Chairman Ben Bernanke has said the Fed will hold rates at their historic lows until employment falls to 6.5 percent and inflation rises to 2.5 percent.
  • Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have figured out how to slow down and speed up the aging process in lab rats by playing with the hypothalamic region in their brains. One researcher said he sees no reason why the same thing can’t eventually be done in humans.
  • Another elite university is adding sexual reassignment to its student healthcare plan, bringing the count to 37 U.S. schools that offer to help students pay for the procedure through insurance. There’s a price for everyone, though: Student fees are going up .03 percent to accommodate the elective procedure.
  • You’re on your own with this one: Vice President Joe Biden overstretched his intellect again Wednesday at a Washington, D.C., fundraising event, dropping loose cannon fire on a supportive crowd with these zingers: Just like that guy who was afraid to tell anybody he’d been raped in that “Deliverance” movie, real rape victims “don’t want to get raped again by the system,” “there’s a snake in the bed” of young girls who turn a corner at some point during adolescence, and “[T]here should be two Senators from the State of D.C.”

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

Mideast Muslims Favor Sharia Law

American leaders’ perennial fantasy that bringing a taste of consumer culture to Mideast countries ripe for occupation will somehow open a floodgate of populist enthusiasm for Beyoncé and constitutional rule isn’t reflected in a new survey that reveals the predominant views of common people in the Muslim world.

The survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center, shows there’d likely be very little wiggle room in any U.S.-led battle for Middle Eastern hearts and minds. Residents of most Muslim nations, in fact, are pretty united in embracing the political, social and religious culture they already know, and don’t seem interested in alternatives.

The survey included face-to-face interviews of nearly 40,000 Muslims and spanned more than 80 languages in Europe, Asia, the Mideast and Africa.

Although the numbers varied by country, the majority of average Muslims surveyed favor a theocratic form of government. Specifically, they favor Sharia law, the moral and religious law of Islam, infallibly delivered by Allah and prescriptive of every facet of personal and public behavior.

To American sensibilities, the life-pervading extent of Sharia — along with the unchallenged and literal carrying out of punishments for violating Islamic code — is repugnant as an expression of government.

But in Muslim countries, Sharia is what most people want, especially as a means of resolving disputes in domestic life. Their approval of Sharia’s “eye-for-eye” sentencing varied much more broadly, however, with more either repudiating the practice or stating they believe it not to be common throughout the majority of the Muslim world.

In the Islamic republic of Afghanistan, 99 percent of those surveyed favor Sharia — presumably over the 2004 Afghan constitution — as the law of the land. Those numbers don’t drop off dramatically elsewhere. The survey reported:

[S]olid majorities in most of the countries surveyed across the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia favor the establishment of sharia, including 71% of Muslims in Nigeria, 72% in Indonesia, 74% in Egypt and 89% in the Palestinian territories.

While the survey indicates a profound devotion to an Islamic way of life encompassing both the private and public sphere, it also indicates the majority of Muslims distance themselves from what they regard as Islamic extremism and, in fact, consider violent acts perpetrated by Islamic groups a much greater threat than “Christian extremists.”

Unsurprisingly, the Palestinian territories offer an exception: 40 percent of Palestinians surveyed said they support suicide bombings.