Whose Dream? Hillary And Michelle Get Early Buzz As 2016 Liberal ‘Dream Ticket’

The talk is out there: Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama could pair up for a run at the Democratic Presidential nomination for the 2016 election season.

The scenario places Hillary in the POTUS role, with Barack’s wife pulling the veep ticket.

A former Bill Clinton Administration staffer called the potential pairing a “dream ticket,” according to the Washington Examiner.

“All due respect for President Obama and Vice President Biden, but that would truly be a dream team for America,” former Clinton spokeswoman Karen Finney said.

Hillary Clinton has already been a likely candidate and has greater popularity — and fundraising power — than near competitor (and current Vice President) Joe Biden. But the Examiner reports Democrats are beginning to see dollar signs as campaign talk heats up, and there’s no better Liberal fundraising combination than two former first ladies with massive built-in bases taking a shot at the White House.

Obama’s New Approach Shows Foundering Clout And Zero Change

What is going on with the President’s main mouthpiece?

A column in The Washington Post relates that, since the beginning of March, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has found a new tactic for handling any press corps questions that aspire to any semblance of incisiveness: The petulant PR hack simply tells reporters they don’t know how to ask questions.

Over the past two weeks, the report notes, Carney has done the following:

  • Told the AP’s Jim Kuhnhenn he was “misrepresenting the group” when asked whether President Barack Obama’s new, friendlier approach to the press was ill-timed to coincide with the President’s recent address to Organizing For Action, the Democrat-affiliated social welfare program that’s evolved from Obama’s first-term campaign.
  • Told veteran NPR correspondent Mara Liasson that her question on the President’s forthcoming budget “makes me think that you’re still working on a typewriter or something.”
  • Told Ann Compton of ABC News that she didn’t possess an adequate understanding of why the President had met with Congressional delegates last week.
  • Told Bill Plante of CBS News: “Bill, how long have you been covering Washington? Has there ever been a Presidential budget that was enacted, word for word, into law?” Plante, who’s been with CBS since 1964, had deigned to ask when the President would come forward with a budget — not exactly a shot across the bow.
  • Another reporter interrupted to point out that the President never times his budget proposal to follow the House and Senate versions. “Well, I disagree with that,” Carney said.

A McClatchy poll and analysis this week ties the President’s evaporating approval rating to the drying up of his political capital. That’s a reasonable conclusion.

The still-young first year of Obama’s second term has so far seen the President outrage gun owners and local governments who still value the 2nd Amendment; lie about who’s responsible for sequestration, the severity of its effects, and his own role in artificially and selectively emphasizing the “pain” of all the spending cutbacks; and get a good, old-fashioned humiliatin’ — hemming and hawing over his Administration’s drone policy while Rand Paul emerged as a strengthening voice to challenge liberals from the right.

It’s been a rough go for the President. Tuesday saw yet another attempt at analyzing where the President’s PR strategy is headed, with the National Journal opining that Obama’s dwindling political clout is forcing him — at least for the moment — to abandon one the sacred Saul Alinsky tactics to which he’s adhered through four years of obfuscation and intellectually bankrupt doublespeak: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” In its place is a supposedly kinder, gentler Obama Administration; one that courts Republicans — or at least RINO Republicans — and purports to give the beleaguered White House press corps more access.

But the President’s ivory-tower condescension has had its trickle-down effect, and staffers don’t just unlearn their long-taught instincts.

Just ask Carney, and then prepare to duck.

‘I Didn’t Want To Shoot Him, But I Had To,’ Says 81-Year-Old Thug Target

An elderly Florida man was carrying his legal .38 caliber revolver in his vehicle Sunday evening when a robber with a criminal past decided he’d make an easy target.

But James Stevens of Ocala wasn’t an easy target, because he had the means to defend himself.

“I didn’t want to shoot him, but I had to. I shot him,” Stevens told Marion County Sheriff’s deputies after being confronted by his alleged would-be attacker, 28-year-old Lonnie Lorenza Hollingsworth Jr.

According to deputies’ reports, Stevens said the alleged perp tailed him for about 20 minutes in a vehicle as Stevens drove toward his home. Not wanting to lead someone with possible evil intent directly to his house, Stevens said he instead chose to pull over in a field and see if, just maybe, he was letting his suspicion get the better of him. Maybe it was just coincidence that a 2010 Kia had been tailing him for nearly half an hour.

It wasn’t coincidence. When Stevens pulled over, the Kia pulled over, too. A man, Hollingsworth, allegedly got out. Stevens told the cops that Hollingsworth demanded “everything you got.”

Well, he got it. Deputies discovered four of the gun’s chambers had been emptied. Hollingsworth was shot once in the abdomen. Residents nearby called the shooting in under the presumption that Hollingsworth, now lying motionless in the same field where he’d evidently hoped to take advantage of an old man, had already died. He was instead taken to an Ocala hospital where he was listed in critical condition.

Although unarmed during the alleged robbery attempt, local reports reveal Hollingsworth to have had numerous prior encounters with law enforcement, including a 2008 conviction for altering the serial number on a firearm.

Stevens was not charged in the self-defense shooting. No word on how Hollingsworth’s hospital bill will be paid.

Are Security Cameras Offended When You’re Lewd?

Prosecutors in Barnegat, N.J., think so.

You can be arrested there and charged for public lewdness in the presence of security cameras, even if you’re the only living soul in sight.

According to an Asbury Park Press report, a 56-year-old woman was arrested for directing some unkind gestures toward an array of cameras on Lexington Boulevard.

Police in Barnegat charged Wendy Tucker with lewdness and took her to jail. The cops had found her parked car after hunting it down based on the March 6 surveillance footage. They declined to release a photo of the defendant.

What did Tucker do to be slapped with a lewdness charge?

She spotted the cameras, stopped her car in the middle of the street, got out, looked dead straight into one of the cameras and flicked it the dreaded double-fisted bird. She then pulled up her shirt, exposing her breasts to the whole array.

Judgment is one thing; individual powers are another. It’s difficult to be lewd when no one’s watching — unless the State has deemed its security cameras to be anthropomorphic little minions with Constitutionally guaranteed individual powers of their own.

Hopefully, there’s a defense attorney licking his chops to demolish this one.

 

Cynical President Jokes About ‘Clinging To Religion’ To Improve Image

It was just a joke, but it revealed a core of cynicism at the heart of the current Presidential Administration’s methods at manipulating public opinion.

In a nonsensical dinner speech loaded with self-reference and quips that seemed to emanate from a man very removed from the mood of the Nation, President Barack Obama revealed an aloof and callous sense of humor regarding the people who elected him — never more egregiously than when he spoke of his own efforts at publicity.

“Of course, maintaining credibility in this cynical atmosphere is harder than ever — incredibly challenging,” the President told journalists and insiders at the annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington Saturday.

“My administration recently put out a photo of me skeet shooting, and even that wasn’t enough for some people. Next week, we’re releasing a photo of me clinging to religion.”

And then what? A photo of Obama helping an illegal immigrant look for a job at a public library Internet terminal?

Ostensibly a joke aimed at himself, the remark really showed the President further entrenched in his own liberal, effete view of mainstream Americans. The “clinging to religion” line refers to a sweet bit of Marxist condescension Obama offered to a San Francisco gathering in 2008:

You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania; Ohio — like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years, and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration and the Bush administration. And each successive administration has said that, somehow, these communities are going to regenerate — and they have not.

So it’s not surprising, then, that they get bitter, and they cling to guns or religion, or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or, you know, anti-trade sentiment [as] a way to explain their frustrations.

Oh, and some other famous communist in some other place said this in 1844:

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature; the heart of a heartless world – just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.

Poor rural people. Maybe Obama’s handlers should placate them and come out with an actual Presidential “praying hands” press photo, or maybe an image of him physically clinging to the foot of a cross in some small Pennsylvania church town’s Easter pageant. Maybe they could Photoshop an image of an immortal Marx, nodding in paternal approval high above.

It’s not a leap of the imagination to presume this President thinks so little of how most Americans think, live and worship that in a quiet, reflective moment his intellect might not find great folly — or philosophical inconsistency — in ideas like those.

Growing Number Of Gun Manfacturers Refuse To Sell To Gun-Grabbing Governments

Leave it to free enterprise to hold up a mirror to lawmakers bent on social engineering and substituting freedom-robbing “public welfare” laws in place of individual choice.

For the past several weeks, CNS has been following an online listing called The Police Loophole, which tracks gun makers that refuse to sell their wares to law enforcement agencies in places where civilians are banned from owning the same weapons.

With the Administration of President Barack Obama ramping up the gun-grabbing rhetoric following December’s media-sensation mass killing in Connecticut, and with States and local governments choosing sides in the escalating war on the 2nd Amendment , the list has grown.

In fact, it’s tripled.

“In just two weeks, the number of companies participating in what has been named the ‘Firearms Equality Movement,’ has more than tripled from 34 companies to 118,” CNS reported this weekend.

On the list are a few mom-and-pop specialty makers throughout the country, as well as larger manufacturers such as Barrett and Magpul. Each has gone on record explaining why it won’t sell guns to any enforcement agency unless those same weapons can also be bought by the people whom LEOs “protect and serve.”

In a statement last month, Barrett CEO Ronnie Barrett cut through the political and cultural confusion Big Government has been using to justify its “Assault on Liberty”:

letterB

Whether on the supply or the demand side, boycotts themselves are artificial animals, and they seldom achieve through simple economics the goals their supporters hold dear. But the swelling number of businesses that make and supply weapons to Americans are tapping into a political base comprised of vocal individuals who cherish the 2nd Amendment. And that’s a base that, in many localities, has voiced its argument to preserve the Bill of Rights to a deaf oligarchy of elected representatives.

In other words, these gun manufacturers are successfully co-opting a constituency of Americans who know they’ve been sold out by their leaders. The manufacturers are representing these peoples’ 2nd Amendment powers in a way that galvanizes on-the-ground political opposition to the laws, and lawmakers, that aim to disenfranchise them.

Let’s see if our leaders have sufficient fortitude — or the required measure of brazen disregard for our Republic — to ignore that kind of resistance.

Democrat Tells Reporter Assault Weapons Campaign ‘Just The Beginning’

The totality of Congressional Democrats’ unspoken gun control agenda has come into a little clearer focus, now that an exchange between a conservative journalist and an unwitting liberal Illinois House Representative last month has begun making the Internet rounds.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) evidently presumed she was in sympathetic company at the “One Billion Rising” rally last month, and unknowingly allowed her thoughts on getting guns out of Americans’ hands to – well, to fall into the wrong hands.





Challenged by reporter Jason Mattera that there’s no way for Congress to make and end-run around the 2nd Amendment and to ban handguns outright, Schakowsky said “I don’t know if we can’t.”

She also can’t remember what gun-grabbing group she belongs to, calling the Council Against Handgun Violence “the Council Against Handgun…something. Yeah, I’m a member of that.”

White House Aides Owe $333k In Delinquent Federal Tax

Always lead by example.

If you were brought up to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, hopefully your parents set a good example by paying their taxes.

Evidently, President Barack Obama’s White House staff didn’t get that kind of upbringing. Forty of his White House aides owe a combined $333,485 in back taxes to the entity that cuts their paychecks – the Federal government – this year.

A story at the Investor’s Business Daily website notes that Congress “required the IRS to make the annual report of all federal employees with an eye toward making up-to-date taxes a condition of government employment.

That idea, you’ll be shocked to learn, has not yet passed Congress.”

The article notes this is the third straight year White House aides haven’t met their Federal tax obligations under President Obama. The total owed by 36 aides last year ended up at more than $800,000; the previous year saw similar delinquency.

No wonder they can’t afford to keep giving White House tours.

Tax delinquency among Federal employees is on the increase in general, with 12 percent delinquent filings (or non-filings) in the most recent annual report. Collectively, delinquent Federal employees owe $3.52 billion in unpaid Federal taxes.

Real Wisdom In Rand Paul’s Filibuster Freestyling

Since coming into use in the mid-1800s, Senate filibusters can, and have, been filled with crazy ephemera to draw out their length. Huey Long read Cajun recipies; Al D’Amato sang and read the phone book; Strom Thurmond read other States’ election laws.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said a lot of things Wednesday when he took the Senate floor to get his drone question answered. Over the course of 13 hours, he had to repeat himself a lot, and he filled plenty of time by tediously expounding on his vision of the importance of civil liberties in the United States.

But he didn’t read from the phone book, and he didn’t offer 100 ways to make gumbo. In fact, the more he delved into the “whys” and “hows” of his argument — one that sought a guarantee from the Administration of President Barack Obama that Americans would never, without due process, become drone targets at home — the more opportunities he gave himself to offer true, definitive articles of faith for a Libertarian reading of the U.S. Constitution.

Like these:

An Individual Has The Right…

This is not something that is good for the country. And by relinquishing the power of Congress, we relinquish something very fundamental to our republic, which is the checks and balances that we should have; checks and balances to help and try to prevent one body – or one part of the three parts of government – from obtaining too much power…the bipartisanship that we have now, which many in the media fail to understand, they see us not getting along on taxes and on spending, but they fail to understand that on something very important – on whether or not an individual has a right to a trial by jury, whether an individual has the right to not be detained indefinitely, that there is quite a bit of bipartisanship.

Alarm Bells Should Go Off…

Alarm bells should go off when people tell you that the battlefield’s in America. Why? Because when the battlefield’s in America, we don’t have due process. What they’re talking about is they want the laws of war. They call it the laws of war. Another way to put it is to call it martial law. That’s what they want in the United States when they say the battlefield is here… When people tell you that America is a battlefield, when they tell you that the battlefield is here, realize what they are telling you. They are telling you your Bill of Rights don’t apply…

We Shouldn’t Give Up [on due process] easily…

Certain things rise above partisanship. And I think your right to be secure in your person, the right to be secure in your liberty, the right to be tried by a jury of your peers — these are things that are so important and rise to such a level that we shouldn’t give up on them easily.

We Can’t Have War That Has No Temporal Limits…

War is war. War is hell. But we can’t have perpetual war. We can’t have war that has no temporal limits, and we can’t then have war that is a part of our daily life in our country, that we’re going to say from now on in our country you really don’t have the protections of the Bill of Rights.

Power Itself Is Intoxicating…

They [new Presidents] see the power that the presidency has. It’s enormous. They see themselves as good people, and they say I can’t give up any power because I’m going to do good with that power. The problem they don’t see is that the power itself is intoxicating, and the power someday may be in the hands of someone else who is less inclined to use it in a good way. I think that’s why the power grows, and grows, and grows: because everybody believes themselves to be doing the right thing.

Has The Presidency So Transformed Him That He Has Forgotten What He Stood For?

I’m a Republican. I didn’t vote or support the President either time, but I admired him, particularly in 2007 when he ran. I admired his ability to stand up and say we won’t torture people – that’s not what America does. How does the President’s mind work, though? The President that seemed so honorable; seemed so concerned with our rights; seemed so concerned with the right not to have your phone be tapped, now says he’s not concerned with whether you can be killed without a trial. The leap of logic is so fantastic as to boggle the mind. Where is the Barack Obama of 2007? Has the Presidency so transformed him that he has forgotten his moorings, forgotten what he stood for? Civil libertarians once expected more from the president.

Barack Obama of 2007 would be right down here with me arguing against this drone strike program if he were in the Senate. It amazes and disappoints me how much he has actually changed from what he once stood for.

Due Process – It’s Not Always Easy To Sort Out The Details Of Who Is A Threat…

The Fifth Amendment protects you – it protects from you a king placing you in the tower, but it also should protect from you a President that might kill you with a drone. We were granted due process – it’s not always easy to sort out the details of who is a threat.

The Majority Doesn’t Get To Decide Whom We Execute…

He [the President] was elected by a majority, but the majority doesn’t get to decide whom we execute.

Our Rights Are Gradually…Slipping Away…

Our rights are gradually eroding. I think they are gradually slipping away from us. I think the understanding of the Constitution as a document that restrains your government, that restrains the size and scope of your government has been lost on a lot of people, and I think it’s something we shouldn’t give up on …

…When we’re talking about changing the way that we adjudicate guilt, changing the way we decide someone’s life or death, it’s too important just to say, “Oh, Mr. President, go ahead and do it and as long as you tell me you have no intent of breaking the law or no intent of killing Americans…”

It just simply isn’t enough.

The Bill Of Rights…I think We Give Up Too Easily…

Can you imagine with all the checks and balances of our court system, which I think is the best in the entire world…sometimes you can still get it wrong. If we can get it wrong in the best system in the world, do you think one politician might get it wrong? But you will a never know, because nobody is told who is going to be killed. It is a secret list.

So how do you protest? How do you say, “I’m innocent?” How do you say, “Yes, I email with my cousin who lives in the Middle East, and I didn’t know he was involved in that?” Do you not get a chance to explain yourself in a court of law before you get a hellfire missile dropped on your head? So I think that really, it just amazes me that people are so willing and eager to throw out the Bill of Rights and just say, “Oh, that’s fine. You know, terrorists are a big threat to us. And, you know, I am so fearful that they will attack me that I’m willing to give up my rights; I’m willing to give up on the Bill Of Rights? I think we give up too easily.

You’re Not Allowed To Smoke…

If we believe [President Obama] to be a good man who would never kill noncombatants in a cafe in Houston, sitting out in a sidewalk cafe, smoking — oh, that’s right; you’re not allowed to smoke cigarettes anymore.

Bill Clinton Urges Supreme Court To Reverse Federal Man-Woman Marriage Act He Signed In 1996

In a Thursday opinion piece published in The Washington Post, former Democratic President Bill Clinton called on the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) he signed into law 17 years ago.

The Act decreed there would be no Federal protection for any State or political subset in the States whose governments might decide to recognize marriage as a union between same-sex partners. In other words, the Act didn’t ban gay marriage, but it guaranteed that any such marriage ordained by cities, counties and States would be purely civil in nature and that it wouldn’t be recognized by other States or by the Federal government. It secured, for gay “spouses,” the legal protections and obligations afforded anybody who’s going steady.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on two cases dealing with same-sex marriage later this month, and could possibly overturn all or part of the Act. Such a move wouldn’t legalize same-sex marriage, but it would hit the reset button for States where same-sex marriage has been legalized since DOMA passed in 1996. And it’s unclear whether it would automatically validate the marriages of those who’ve already been married under State same-sex marriage laws.

Clinton argued that States’ recent efforts to recognize same-sex marriage reflect the conflicts of a very different Nation, both in law and in culture, than the America of the mid-90s:

Although that was only 17 years ago, it was a very different time. In no state in the union was same-sex marriage recognized, much less available as a legal right, but some were moving in that direction. Washington, as a result, was swirling with all manner of possible responses, some quite draconian…[M]any supporters of the bill known as DOMA believed that its passage “would defuse a movement to enact a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, which would have ended the debate for a generation or more.” It was under these circumstances that DOMA came to my desk, opposed by only 81 of the 535 members of Congress…

…As the president who signed the act into law, I have come to believe that DOMA is contrary to those principles and, in fact, incompatible with our Constitution.

The 42nd President isn’t the first voice from the political Left to send a message to the Supreme Court before it hears the two cases. The Administration of President Barack Obama filed an amicus brief last month repudiating the present lack of government benefits for same-sex partners. And the 44th President — yes, that’s Obama — had a few things to say on the topic at his second inaugural in January.

Keep Your Dissent Timid Under New N.Y. Town’s Meeting Rules

A Long Island town has a new law that won’t allow citizens to boo or hiss their disapproval of proceedings during council meetings.

CBS 2 of New York reports the five-member Riverhead town council approved the no-booing resolution when it adopted rules of procedure at its March 5 meeting.

One councilman voted against the new rule, saying: “I don’t really need somebody or a policy telling me how I should behave in public.” The measure passed 4-1 anyway.

The council in the 33,000-person town admitted it intends to enforce the rule only with words, since the resolution provides no penalty for transgressors. If you “engage in any disruptive demonstration, booing or otherwise disrupt the formality of a Town Board meeting,” you’ll simply be told to quit.

Many American towns and county governments have similar clauses in their rules of procedure; others cover civil-but-disruptive dissent under ordinances, which can be enforced with penalties.

In Riverhead, every council meeting begins with an invocation, and the council is more generous than many municipal governments with its five-minute speaking limit during each meeting’s public comments portion.

Perhaps the local attention Riverhead has gotten over its disruption clause actually serves to illustrate the overhaul that’s needed for so many other municipalities’ rules of procedure.

TSA Gives Employee Security Clearance To Former Perps; Some ‘May Still Have Access’

According to a report presented by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) permitted airport employee security badges to be issued to 11 people with criminal records. In five of those cases, the airports were found to be out of compliance because they didn’t catch their mistake.

The report’s executive summary found the TSA had internal communication issues (discovery!), and it crossed its wires in securing vendors — in this case, vendors “for relaying information used to issue airport security badges” — and that it didn’t “properly plan, manage and implement the project.”

Best part? Just because they caught it doesn’t mean they can fix it:

[A]ccording to records available for our review, at least five airports granted badges to individuals with criminal records, giving them access to secured airport areas. TSA did not track which airports temporarily issued badges to individuals without the required background checks. Therefore, some individuals with criminal records may still have access to secured areas in our Nation’s airports.

With Federal overpolicing this inept, maybe we really don’t have anything to worry about.

Obama Sibling Gets Clobbered In Kenya Race, Most NYC Grads Can’t Read, Billy Bob Says SCOTUS Should Strike Down His DOMA, Obamacare Means IRS Can Pick And Choose Audits, Tax On Email To Prop Up USPS?, TSA Succeeds At Failing: Friday Morning News Roundup 3-8-2013

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.

 

  • Abong’o Malik Obama — yes, the President’s paternal half-brother — got owned in newly established county elections held in Kenya this week. He finished third. Maybe he was too conservative.

 

  • Just graduate from a New York City public school? Good luck reading this post. College officials told CBS 2 in New York they had to remediate 80 percent of local graduates before they could begin college level work. Thank God for Pell Grants.

 

  • As the Supreme Court prepares to rule on the Constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, none other than Bill Clinton has weighed in with a guest spot at The Washington Post. His message? Overturn the Act I signed in 1996 and allow same-sex marriage.

 

  • IRS, the Enforcer: The implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act means at least 47 new Federal taxes to fund the mandates. So the Internal Revenue Service is preparing to expand its powers — something one inside official says it has no business doing — in order to start going after the biggest delinquent fish.

 

  • Another novel way to grab revenue for failing Federal programs: Put “a very tiny tax” on email and give the U.S. Postal Service the money. Jurisdiction, schmurisdiction. At least the idea hasn’t (yet) been circulated beyond the California city where a council member thought it up.

 

  • Watching the watchers: The Transportation Security Administration let an undercover inspector walk right through two airport screening checkpoints in New Jersey last month. He had a “bomb” down his pants that the pat-down fellas failed to catch.

 

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

 

Sign The White House Petition To Support Rand Paul On Drone Strikes — But First, Tell Them Who You Are

A new petition went up Wednesday on “We The People,” the White House website created by President Barack Obama as an ostensible direct conduit between individual Americans and the Oval Office.

The petition is a challenge to the President, requesting an answer to Senator Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) call for clarity on whether the Commander In Chief can authorize drone strikes against U.S. citizens, without due process, on U.S. soil.

The petition has a goal of 100,000 signatures. As of Thursday afternoon, it had a long way to go.

One of the staffers here at Personal Liberty went to the page, intending to sign the petition, but was stopped dead in his tracks when he realized he’d first have to create a whitehouse.gov account and fill out an online form requiring his full name and a valid email address (with an optional field for ZIP code).

That’s a standing requirement; one that isn’t unique to the Paul petition. Some (certainly not all) petitioners may find that step innocuous enough, if they’re visiting the site to sign a petition calling for an end to Daylight Savings Time.

But there’s irony in requiring a handover even of basic personal information — information that offers a reasonable chance of revealing to the Executive Branch the way in which your identity and your views on public policy entwine — when the very topic under discussion essentially seeks an assurance from the President that he won’t violate the Constitution and have you killed.

Since its September 2011 launch, We The People has twice raised the 30-day signature threshold needed before the White House would acknowledge or respond to a petition. The threshold originally stood at 5,000 signatures but was raised to 25,000 within a month of launching. It was raised to 100,000 in January.

The Obama Administration, through Attorney General Eric Holder, did respond to Senator Paul Thursday in a snarky two-sentence letter, assuring him that “no,” the President doesn’t have “authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil.” But at the time of this writing, the petition remained active.

A Porn-Free Europe? The EU Is Considering It

A Swedish member of the European Parliament blogged Wednesday that he’d be voting against a resolution that would call on 27 countries to legislate a ban on pornography across all media in the European Union.

The proposed resolution, the “Report on Eliminating Gender Stereotypes in the EU,” notes the pervasiveness of pornography throughout much of European commercial culture and “[c]alls on the EU and its Member States to take concrete action” to begin enforcing a 1997 resolution that would place a “ban on all forms of pornography in the media and on the advertising of sex tourism.”

According to the proposal, the ban is necessary to protect both men and women from comfortably associating European women with social roles that are defined primarily by sex. It makes several presumptions about the extent to which that’s happening in its long laundry list of qualifiers:

…[w]hereas young women and men are most affected by pornography’s new cultural status; whereas the ‘mainstreaming of pornography’, i.e. the current cultural process whereby pornography is slipping into our everyday lives as an evermore universally accepted, often idealised, cultural element, manifests itself particularly clearly within youth culture: from teenage television and lifestyle magazines to music videos and commercials targeted at the young…

And so on.

Christian Engstrom, the Swedish delegate who’s among a handful opposed to the resolution, expects that it will pass when voted on next week. Even if it does, the resolution is a first-step “own initiative report” and won’t automatically become law across the EU. Rather, it paves the way for the parliament to develop a more technical, crafted piece of legislation at a later date — or, perhaps, to do nothing.

Engstrom explains:

[T]he purpose of these own initiative reports are [sic] to serve as the basis for the Commission when it decides to present legislative proposals to the parliament. If this own initiative report is adopted by the parliament, it will strengthen the Commission’s position if and when it wants to propose various ”self-regulation” schemes in the future.

Although I completely agree that eliminating outdated gender stereotypes in the EU is a worthwhile goal, I will be voting against this resolution next week.

We see the threat our current gun-grabbing President and Congressional leaders are mounting to the 2nd Amendment. The next time 1st Amendment issues flare up into a National controversy, whether porn or some other so-called gray area of “free speech” is at issue, will our elected leaders in Congress and the White House use the moment as an opportunity to further legislate the Bill of Rights into irrelevance?

Rand Paul’s Filibuster, Preserved For Posterity

Still can’t get enough Rand Paul (R-Ky.)?

An hour-by-hour transcript of all 13 hours of the Senator’s epic filibuster Wednesday is now available at his website’s press release page.

The unaffiliated Daily Paul website also links to the transcript, in an easier-to-access list. Each link includes both the text and video of the filibuster, which Paul himself described Thursday afternoon as evincing a “major victory for American civil liberties.”

Perhaps Paul’s filibuster will start a movement among young libertarians; perhaps some erudite young scholars are already studying every word, culling salient statements of principle for codification into an abridged version. Watching the filibuster unfold in real time lent that sort of historic, “something’s happening here” kind of feel to the proceedings.

Then again, maybe it will all be forgotten amid tomorrow’s tangle of headline-grabbing fights, gaffes and grandstanding on Capitol Hill.

If so, at least The Atlantic has already codified the filibuster’s high points into Cliff’s Notes — you know, for posterity.

 

 

Rand Masterstroke Moves Even Liberals To Damn Obama Drones; Al Gore And Al-Jazeera — A Sour Deal; Iowa School Plays Into President’s Sequestration Snare; North Korea Plans ‘Pre-emptive Nuclear Attack’ On America; IF The Superbug Doesn’t Get Us First: Thursday Morning News Roundup 3-7-2013

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.

  • Rand Paul’s well-played filibuster Wednesday drew kudos from The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart and had liberal actor John Cusack calling on Democrats to stand with the Republican Senator against President “regressive corporate warlord” Barack Obama.

 

  • Al Gore. Al-Jazeera. All kinds of screwed up. Gore faces a $5 million lawsuit after selling his half-billion-dollar TV network to Al-Jazeera, then allegedly leaving a key player with his pockets inside out.

 

  • More sequester PR hijinks: Iowa kids make the Internet rounds with a heart-wrenching plea to the President to not cancel their White House tour. These are the moments Obama has longed for since sequestration started. Boo hoo.

 

  • North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un is pledging a nuclear attack on the United States — a pre-emptive one. Is there really such a thing? North Korea recently tested an underground nuke and caused an earthquake.

 

  • No fear — if the hermit kingdom doesn’t kill us, the superbugs will. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions that new “untreatable” bacteria are spreading in the United States at an accelerated rate. Not much advice, though — just malaise.

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

Sequester Email: ‘Make Sure You Are Not Contradicting What We Said The Impact Would Be’

An administrator with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) was cautioned by superiors this week not to distribute reduced funding from last week’s sequestration spending cuts in a way that mitigates the measure’s supposedly dire effects.

The Washington Times reports that Charles Brown, APHIS eastern regional director of wildlife services, instead was told, in so many words, to bring the pain.

According to the report, an internal email exchange between Brown and the APHIS Budget and Program Analysis office (BPAS) began when Brown asked whether he could equitably distribute sequester-mandated spending cuts throughout his region in order to ensure none of the programs under his administration would experience any undue operating hardships.

He was advised not to do anything that would make the White House’s predictions about the harmful effects of sequestration look foolish:

“We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that ‘APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs.’ So it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.”

Senator Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) coaxed some backtracking out of USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack when she grilled him Tuesday about the email and its sinister implications:
 

 

And so the Administration of President Barack Obama continues its casting about for high-profile illustrations of how badly sequestration hurts regular people — even if it has to manufacture them. CBS News notes three instances in the past 10 days of White House officials putting their foots in their mouths (i.e., lying) when pressed to describe how not spending Federal money as quickly as Obama wishes translates into real moments of doom and gloom.

Nevertheless, a poll CBS released Monday revealed that 53 percent of Americans who responded feel the sequestration cuts will affect them personally. To the Obama Administration’s undoubted relief, most of them blame Congressional Republicans’ intransigence in agreeing to a deficit-reduction package.

Proof: Obama’s Always Wanted To Grab Your Guns

A former academic peer occasionally used to talk public policy with President Barack Obama, back when the two were faculty members at the University of Chicago in the mid-1990s.

Now he writes books about the President’s cataclysmic foreign, economic and social policies, reflecting what he says is a more-populist evolution of deeply liberal views Obama held, with more extremity and conviction, before Oprah Winfrey ever introduced him on a national stage.

In At The Brink, John Lott Jr.’s new book, the President’s former colleague reveals how quickly his efforts to engage Obama in genial academic discussion about their differing 2nd Amendment views were always dismissed — with prejudice.

CNS News reports that Lott, who’s used his publishing career to assiduously carry the flag for the protection of Americans’ 2nd Amendment rights, was flatly rejected when he asked Obama to swap ideas on the topic over lunch.

Obama reportedly “grimaced and turned away,” a typical response coming from a man Lott said “preferred silent, scowling disdain to collegiality.”

One day, Obama told Lott, “I don’t believe people should be able to own guns.”

There it is, short and sweet.

As Commander in Chief, clearly the President does believe that governments should be allowed to own guns. He certainly has some experience in instructing agents of our government to use some pretty big ones.

The CNS report breaks down a segment of Lott’s book that tracks Obama’s on-record gun control stance over the years:

  • In 1996, Obama supported a ban on handguns
  • In 1998, he supported a ban on the sale of all semi-automatic guns
  • In 2004, he advocated banning gun sales within five miles of a school or park, which would have shut down nearly all gun stores

Lott also noted the President could exert greater long-term influence over 2nd Amendment policy though his power to appoint Supreme Court justices who make free with revisionist interpretations of the Bill of Rights.

“The greatest threat is in his power to reshape the federal courts,” he writes. “Each appointment to the Supreme Court could determine whether the people are allowed to keep their guns.”

Trending: Don’t Get Mad, But You Could Need Anger Management To Buy Bullets In Florida

If a Florida State Senator gets her way, residents will need to prove they’ve conquered an anger management class every decade before the State will allow them to buy bullets from stores.

The Florida Times-Union is reporting a bill filed over the weekend by Senator Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville) would make it a second-degree felony to purchase ammo without having completed a two-hour anger management course every 10 years.

The bill would also force residents to sit out a three-day waiting period before buying a handgun.

Gibson said the proposed law “encourages introspection before purchasing ammunition.”

No word on whether the Senator did any soul-searching before writing a bill that could make felons out of thousands of current law-abiding gun owners.

The Left Cries For Chavez, Feds Take A Snow Day, NY Senator Says Congress Should Be 51 Percent Female, Sequestration Won’t Slow Obamacare Juggernaut, NYSE Says ‘What Sequester?!’: Wednesday Morning News Roundup 3-6-2013

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.

  • Jimmy Carter, Michael Moore, Sean Penn and Oliver Stone: the Left Isn’t taking the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez well. Shocker.
  • Not a shocker: Real Venezuelans in the U.S. exclaim, “He’s gone!”
  • Possibly the best thing to happen in Washington since 2008? Weather puts a temporary halt to the madness in D.C. today.
  • Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) knows how to fix Congress: Let its demographics favor women.
  • The Sequestration isn’t about to slow the implementation of Obamacare — or hamstring the Federal government’s resources (read: Internal Revenue Service) to collect your money.
  • Last week: sequestration. This week: record day on Wall Street. Investors knew from the start sequestration is “a distraction” that has “no impact other than on the microphones in Washington.” Meanwhile, bashful White House Democrats “don’t comment on markets.”

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

Airports Refute Big Sister’s Claim Of Long Delays Following Sequester

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told interviewers at a POLITICO event Monday that the onset of sequestration made for a rough weekend at airport security checkpoints nationwide.

Napolitano told interviewers at a breakfast celebrating the anniversary of the DHS that security lines at airport Transportation Security Administration checkpoints were “150 to 200 percent as long as we would normally expect” over the first weekend of sequestration.

“Now that we are having to reduce or eliminate basically overtime both for TSA and for customs; now that we have instituted a hiring freeze… we will begin today sending out furlough notices,” she said. “We are already seeing the effects at some of the ports of entry; some of the big airports, for example. Some of them had very long lines this weekend.”

The off-camera interviewer cut in quickly: “Specifically where?”

“I wanna say O’Hare; I wanna say LAX; ahm, I want to say Atlanta but I’d have to check. The New York airports got through OK, but that is gonna be temporary, so we will see these effects cascade over the next week.”

The Daily Telegraph got hold of Napolitano’s comments and called security chiefs at the airports she mentioned.

A Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) spokesman who worked through the weekend said there hadn’t been “any slowdowns at all.”

The director of media relations at Chicago’s O’Hare said there had been “no unusual delays or cancellations” and that the weekend’s lines had been “normal.”

The spokesman for Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta went into refutation overkill, saying: “There have been no abnormally long lines at the security checkpoint nor unusual aircraft delays at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport as a result of sequestration.”

The Telegraph also checked with travel industry representatives to see if anecdotes from actual travelers would uncover information the airport representatives had overlooked. They got the same story.

“I can only tell you what we’ve heard from our members, which is they have not seen any abnormal delays,” said a spokeswoman for airline industry trade group Airlines for America.

“We’re on a mailing list for LAX that tells us whether there are any security delays and we have meet-and-greet people at the airport who tell us if there are any delays and at the moment we haven’t heard anything,” offered a Los Angeles-based travel agent.

Obama Administration Reportedly Draconian And Vile In Efforts To Work The Press

More White House reporters have begun filing through the crack opened by Watergate reporting icon Bob Woodward, who last week claimed he had been threatened by a White House adviser for publishing an unfavorable opinion of the President’s handling of the sequestration fiasco.

Perhaps emboldened by Woodward’s revelation, less-famous White House correspondents have begun relating anecdotes alleging the Administration of President Barack Obama has verbally abused, bullied, retaliated, spoon-fed and marginalized them in a way the press hasn’t experienced under any other President.

In a searing New York Post story this week, a number of Washington reporters — some named, others anonymous — reveal how the Administration has pressured them to report or not report the news; how it has attempted to influence reporters’ judgment in determining whether a topic should be covered; and how, when things don’t go Obama’s way in the press, there are consequences.

One longtime Washington journalist related how he’d assigned a young reporter to cover an Obama cabinet secretary. The reporter was asking “tough, important” questions and got the bully treatment for doing her job.

“…[T]hey were trying to bully her. In an email, they called her the vilest names – bitch, c—t, a—hole.”

After getting the runaround from the email’s author, the senior reporter confronted that person, saying: “From now on, every email you send this reporter will be on the record, and you will be speaking on behalf of the President of the United States.”

Good for him. But that account hints at an underlying problem with the way the press has always dealt with the Obama Administration — or, rather, how it’s allowed the Obama Administration to deal with it. Those emails could have been on the record without that reporter having to make it plain. The author of those emails was already speaking on behalf of the President of the United States. The White House press has handled this President with kid gloves, and, like any classic relationship based on disingenuous and insincere motives, it’s reaping abuse for the service.

And in the Internet Age, the White House is often finding it easier to control its own media through press releases, tweets and Facebook postings than to float information before reporters who can talk back. As a February piece in Vanity Fair explains, it’s essentially a form of state-controlled media:

In a real sense, the most powerful and pervasive news outlet “covering” the White House is the White House itself. That is a legitimate cause for concern. No American wants to live in a world of state television or sanitized photo handouts.

The press corps has been primed since 2008 to remain pliable to the wishes of an Administration it’s wanted to admire, an Administration that issues press releases through social media while dodging questions from the press. It’s hard to say which side deserves more what it’s getting; but Americans who’ve been getting their political news from TV, radio and boilerplate print media are still the biggest losers.