CNN Haters, Bachmann Accusations Do Not Deter Paul

Despite the fact that the mainstream media have pulled no punches against Republican Presidential primary hopeful Ron Paul, his campaign is continuing to gain steam as the Iowa caucus, the first in the Nation, approaches.

Two polls released on Wednesday show Paul in a dead heat with fellow GOP contender Mitt Romney; however, the polls conflict one another, each reporting opposite leaders by similar margins.

A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling shows Paul leading the pack among likely voters in Iowa, with 24 percent saying they would vote for him over Romney’s 20 percent. PPP accredits Paul’s popularity to his ability to unite non-traditional Republicans, independents and some Democratic converts. Romney still takes the most favor among mainstream Republicans.

“If Ron Paul really manages to change the electorate by turning out large numbers of young people and independents, he should win Iowa,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “If it’s a more traditional turnout with an older electorate, Romney will probably win. And given his personal popularity it’s worth keeping an eye on [Rick] Santorum in the final week.”

CNN and Time conducted a separate poll that shows Romney leading with 25 percent to Paul’s 22 percent heading in to the caucus. It has been pointed out that the CNN-Time poll — unlike the PPP poll — surveyed only a list of declared Republicans that was provided by the Iowa Secretary of State.

Many people have in the past week questioned if CNN is running a campaign against Paul after the news network repeatedly aired a heavily cut video that makes it appear as if Paul walked out on an interview with reporter Gloria Borger after she asked him the same question several times about controversial newsletters published under his name.  The full video of the interview reveals CNN’s sleight-of-hand reporting tactic and portrays the interview in a different light.

Despite the CNN-driven controversy, Paul is continuing to pick up key supporters, some even from the campaigns of fellow candidates. Michele Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman, Senator Kent Sorenson, jumped ship on Wednesday to offer his support to Paul’s campaign in a decision that ignited headlines throughout the media.

Sorenson released a statement saying that he had a difficult time choosing which of the two candidates to support from the beginning but, given Paul’s surge in the polls and real chance at the Presidency, he felt joining the campaign was in the best interest of the country.

A portion of Sorenson’s statement reads:

Ron Paul is the only candidate to predict the current mess we find ourselves in economically, and he’s the only candidate to offer a true plan to cut spending and balance our budget.

He’s also consistently spoken out against government spending, assaults on individual liberties, and unnecessary trillion-dollar military adventurism for over 30 years. Polls show he is the Republican candidate that can take on and defeat President Obama in November 2012.

Bachmann denied that Sorenson’s decision was made for love of country but contended in a Wednesday announcement that it was for love of money, saying, “Kent Sorenson personally told me he was offered a large sum of money to go to work for the Paul campaign. Kent campaigned with us earlier this afternoon and went immediately afterward to a Ron Paul event and announced he is changing teams. Kent said to me yesterday that ‘everyone sells out in Iowa, why shouldn’t I,’ then he told me he would stay with our campaign. The Ron Paul campaign has to answer for its actions.”

Despite the accusation from Bachmann, Iowa political director for her own campaign, Wes Enos, denies that money could have been a motivator for Sorenson’s decision. His comments appeared later on Paul’s campaign website.

“I won’t say much about the situation or the conflicting statements beyond this; I can say unequivocally that Kent Sorenson’s decision was in no way financially motivated,” said Enos.

Sorenson’s decision to endorse Paul comes just after one of the Texas Congressman’s former aides, Eric Dondero, attempted to do damage to the campaign by saying Paul is “unsettled by being around gays personally” and is “out of touch” with black and Hispanic voters in an editorial on RightWingNews.com. The Paul campaign described Dondero as “a disgruntled former staffer who was fired for performance issues.”

The New York Times reported Wednesday that despite the flurry of accusations and controversy media and other candidates are drumming up around Paul, droves of college students are currently arriving in Iowa to assist with the ground campaign in the State. The young supporters, whom Paul has embraced in the past as “having a better grasp of the meaning of liberty than many lawmakers in Washington,” are expected to be vital to the success of the Paul campaign.

 

Eric Holder: Too Many Guns Have Fallen Into Wrong Hands

Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Department of Justice orchestrated the Fast and Furious gunwalking scheme to supply Mexican drug cartels with illegal firearms, released a statement on Wednesday decrying the fact that too many people who are not legally permitted to own guns have access to them.

The AG’s remarks followed the release of a report from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund that showed a 13 percent increase in the number of Federal, State and local officers who died in the line of duty, from 153 in 2010 to 173 in 2011.

“This is a devastating and unacceptable trend. Each of these deaths is a tragic reminder of the threats that law enforcement officers face each day — and the fact that too many guns have fallen into the hands of those who are not legally permitted to possess them,” said Holder. “Departments across the country have mourned the loss of too many dedicated colleagues and friends, but my colleagues and I at the Justice Department are determined to turn back this rising tide. I want to assure the family members and loved ones who have mourned the loss of these heroes that we are responding to this year’s increased violence with renewed vigilance and will do everything within our power — and use every tool at our disposal — to keep our police officers safe.”

Guns provided via Fast and Furious are known to have been used in the killings of at least one law enforcement officer in 2010, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, and another in 2011, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata.

Holder’s statement came with the announcement of a number of new officer-protection initiatives to be headed by the Justice Department.

 

Scientist Think Sick Seals May Be Radioactive

Scientists are investigating whether seals in Alaska that have recently fallen ill are being sickened by radiation from the destroyed Japanese Fukushima nuclear plant.

Several seals have washed up on Alaska’s Arctic coastline since July, suffering or killed by a mysterious disease marked by bleeding lesions on the hind flippers, irritated skin around the nose and eyes and patchy hair loss on fur, according to Reuters.

Scientists initially thought a virus was behind the animal’s illness but have not yet been able to identify one, so they expect radiation may be involved.

“We recently received samples of seal tissue from diseased animals captured near St. Lawrence Island with a request to examine the material for radioactivity,” said John Kelley, Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Water tests have not picked up any evidence of elevated radiation in U.S. Pacific waters since the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan that crippled the Fukushima plant, according to the article.

White House Announces Weapons Sale To Saudi Arabia

The White House has forged an agreement with Saudi Arabia to sell the kingdom $29.4 billion worth of equipment for the Royal Saudi Air Force.

The agreement includes production of 84 new Boeing F-15SA aircraft and the modernization of 70 existing aircraft as well as munitions, spare parts, training, maintenance and logistics, according to a White House press release. Officials with the Administration of Barack Obama say the move will help to bolster the U.S. economy by engaging 600 American suppliers in 44 States, providing $3.5 billion in annual economic impact.

The agreement is part of a larger $60 billion arms package for Saudi Arabia that was passed by Congress last year. The White House decision to move forward with this portion comes as tensions mount between the United States and Iran in the Persian Gulf and the final troops are pulled from Iraq.

Saudi Arabia is a longtime enemy of Iran, and the tattered relationship between the two countries may be exploited by the White House as the U.S. and Iran continue to quarrel over nuclear energy and trade sanctions. The Saudi weapons-sale announcement comes just a week after Iranian officials threatened to close the vital Straits of Hormuz in response to indications that the United States plans to impose new sanctions on Iranian oil exports.

Obama Is The Drone President

The Administration of President Barack Obama is responsible for an emerging global apparatus for drone killing, says one report from The Washington Post.

The apparatus is made up of dozens of secret facilities, including two hubs on the East Coast, virtual Air Force­ ­cockpits in the Southwest and bases in at least six countries on two continents, according to the article. Obama is quickly becoming known as the Commander in Chief more involving tactics to carry out the secret killings of adversaries than any U.S. President in history, and drones have played a vital role.

The growing drone program has blurred the lines between the CIA and the military, and the White House has taken great pains to avoid divulging much information about the programs structure, according to the article.

According to the article, when Obama took office in 2009, the Nation’s secret drone war was confined only to Pakistan, where 44 strikes over five years had left about 400 people dead. Since then, the number of strikes has soared to nearly 240; and the number of those killed, according to conservative estimates, has more than quadrupled.

Iran Threatens To Lock Down Oil Supply Amid Talk Of Sanctions

Iranian leaders said Tuesday that if the United States imposes sanctions being set up against their country, it will cut off all oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a vital supply route through which one-fifth of the world’s oil supply is shipped.

According to The New York Times, the declaration was made by Iranian First Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, as President Barrack Obama prepares to sign legislation that could substantially reduce Iran’s oil revenue to keep the country from pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

The Obama Administration has been working in recent months to put in place a plan to cut off Iran from global energy markets without risking higher fuel prices. The Iranian economy is already weak, and oil exports account for much of the country’s revenues so Iranian officials are worried about the sanctions.

“If they impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz,” Rahimi said, according to Iran’s official news agency.

The White House said that the disruption would not be tolerated there is talk that the Obama Administration is working on a plan to keep the supply route open in the event of crisis. Some officials speculate that the latest sanctions are setting the stage for violent confrontation between the United States and Iran.

 

Occupy The Iowa Caucus

Protesters aligned with the OWS movement have said that they plan to occupy the Iowa caucus.

“The 99 percent have woken up and we’re not going to take it anymore,” said Occupy activist Stephen Toothman, of Des Moines, according to The Daily Caller.

The OWS group is reportedly working to decide which candidates they will target as the GOP hopefuls make their way across the State in a campaign dash. According to the article, hundreds of Occupy activists from as many as 10 States are expected to participate in a “People’s Caucus” near the Capitol to plot activities between now and the Jan. 3 caucuses.

A statement on the Occupy Des Moines website says, “We are excited to announce the First in the Nation Caucus Occupation. This winter, presidential campaign headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa and political events throughout the state will be occupied. Occupy Des Moines will not interfere with or disrupt caucus voting on Jan 3. We are not targeting voters.”

The activists say their tactics will include interrupting candidates at events and camping out at their Iowa campaign offices. Many people fear the OWS group will tarnish Iowa’s reputation for civil political discourse ahead of the caucus.

More Powerful Version Of Heavily Abused Opiate To Hit Market

Drug makers are in the process of developing a more powerful version of the second most highly abused drug in the Nation.

The new pharmaceutical will contain up to 10 times the amount of the highly addictive painkiller hydrocodone as existing medications such as Vicodin. Four companies have begun patient testing, and one of them — Zogenix — has plans to apply early next year to begin marketing the drug, Zohydro, according to The Associated Press.

Many addiction experts are worried that the release of new pills will spark another narcotic epidemic in the United States similar to that following the release of OxyContin, which became known as “hillbilly heroin.”  

“I have a big concern that this could be the next OxyContin,” said April Rovero, president of the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse. “We just don’t need this on the market.”

OxyContin was designed to deliver measured time-release doses, but addicts quickly learned that by crushing the tablets they could achieve an instant, powerful high. OxyContin is the most-abused medicine in the Nation, and hydrocodone is second, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s annual count of drug seizures sent to police drug labs for analysis.

Prescription drug makers earn a combined $10 billion a year legally pushing powerful opiate narcotics.

Tea Party Express Offers Support To Michele Bachmann

The Sacramento, Calif.-based Tea Party Express offered support for Michele Bachmann in the 2012 Republican Presidential primary race, but did not officially endorse the candidate.

According to Roll Call, the California-based Tea Party Express said in a statement that, while it has not endorsed any candidate, it remains committed to backing the conservative candidate best positioned to beat President Barrack Obama in 2012. The group said it wants a competitive primary, beginning with the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3 and in all of the States that follow, to jump-start that process.

“While the Tea Party Express has not endorsed a presidential candidate at this time, Michele Bachmann garners strong Tea Party support because of her work and commitment to restoring fiscal responsibility to Washington, D.C.,” Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer said. “Let’s let the voters in Iowa choose the leading candidates to go forward from the many excellent candidates we have.”

While Bachmann’s campaign claimed last week to be in a “statistical dead-heat” with Iowa frontrunner Ron Paul (19 percent), she actually followed Mitt Romney (18 percent) and Newt Gingrich (16 percent) with only 15 percent voter support, according to The Des Moines Register.

Obama To Request More Borrowing

President Barack Obama is expected to ask Congress to raise the Nation’s borrowing limit by $1.2 trillion this week, marking the third and final increase from a deal negotiated over summer.

The Treasury Department says that the increase is needed because the Federal government will be within $100 billion of its current spending limit by Friday. The newest increase will bring the amount of money borrowed by the U.S. government to fund its operations to $16.4 trillion and allow it to keep borrowing until after the 2012 Presidential election.

The enormity of the debt has fueled intense partisan debate in Congress over spending and taxes. Congress could reject the President’s request, but he can veto its objection. If Congress takes no action, the spending measure will take automatic effect after Jan. 14, according to The Associated Press.

Congressional Royals Far Outearn Constituent Proles

Over the past few decades, the wealth gap between lawmakers and their constituents has widened, says a recent report by The Washington Post.

Between 1984 and 2009, the median net worth of a member of the House of Representatives more than doubled from $280,000 to $725,000, adjusted for inflation in 2009 dollars and excluding home ­equity. During the same period, the median household income of Americans as a whole declined slightly from an already much lower $20,600 to $20,500, the article says.

The article explains that the growing wealth of Congress may have something to do with the high cost of campaigning, as wealthy individuals are more easily able to contribute to their own campaigns and gain office. Individuals running for Congressional office routinely spend into the millions campaigning, to achieve a position that pays $174,000.

The report on the growing Congressional-constituent wealth gap comes soon after a recent Congressional insider-trading scandal came to light. Lawmakers are involved in things like former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi buying stock in an initial public offering that earned hefty returns while she had access to insider information about pending legislation likely to impact those values.

A Gallup survey from last week found that only 11 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing.

Saudi Schools Teach Extremism

Textbooks used to teach Saudi Arabian children go beyond the basic reading and writing that Western schoolchildren are accustomed to; youngsters in the kingdom are learning to cut off the hands and feet of thieves, kill homosexuals and work toward the complete annihilation of Jewish people.

The textbooks, many of which issued for the 2010-2011 Saudi school year, teach 9th and 10th graders that women are weak and irresponsible and homosexuals should be put to death “because they pose a danger at society.” The books also encourage jihad. One text reads in part: “The hour (of judgment) will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. … There is a Jew behind me come and kill him,” according to Fox News.

Ali Al-Ahmed, director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, told Fox the textbooks are both a Saudi and an American problem. “If you teach 6 million children in these important years of their lives, if you install that in their brain, no wonder we have so many Saudi suicide bombers.”

In 2006, Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Turki al-Faisal vowed that the country was eliminating the hate-teachings in its educational system, but there is no evidence that the country has or intends to change the violent texts.

 

Acupuncture Could Relieve Your Holiday Stress

If the holiday season has left you filled with hard-to-overcome stress, researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center say the alternative health answer to letting go may be acupuncture.

The researchers say an animal study that found acupuncture significantly reduces levels of a protein in rats linked to chronic stress may help explain the sense of well-being that many people receive from this ancient Chinese therapy.

“It has long been thought that acupuncture can reduce stress, but this is the first study to show molecular proof of this benefit,” said the study’s lead author, Ladan Eshkevari, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Georgetown’s School of Nursing & Health Studies, a part of GUMC.

The study used four groups of rats for a 14-day experiment: a control group that was not stressed and received no acupuncture, a group that was stressed for an hour a day and did not receive acupuncture, a group that was stressed and received “sham” acupuncture near the tail, and the experimental group that was stressed and received acupuncture to the Zuslanli spot on the leg.

The Zuslanli point is said to help relieve a variety of conditions, including stress. That acupuncture point for humans is on the leg below the knee.

The researchers measured levels of neuropeptide Y (NPY) in the rats. NPY is a peptide that is secreted by the sympathetic nervous system in humans as well, and is responsible for the fight or flight response to acute stress. They found NPY levels in the experimental group came down almost to the level of the control group signifying stress release resulting from the treatment.

 

European Drug Companies Push For End Of Use Of Their Products In Executions

The drug company that makes the powerful sedative used in executions in many States is selling the product to another manufacturer, and says that the drug—pentobarbital—was never intended for executions.

Lundbeck Inc., a company based in Denmark, said a distribution system intended to keep the drug out of the hands of prisons will remain in place as Akorn Inc., located in Lake Forest, Ill., acquires the drug.

Lundbeck intended to sell off pentobarbital earlier but delayed the sale because of controversy over its use in executions. By retaining ownership of the product, the company could restrict its use for capital punishment, according to The Associated Press.

Europe and European companies have acted in recent years to prohibit the use of drugs for executions. Lundbeck, like other companies whose drugs took on an unintended role in U.S. executions, had asked U.S. prisons to stop using their product for capital punishment.

Last Tuesday, the European Union said it would place new restrictions on the sale of lethal injection drugs to countries that have yet to abolish capital punishment.

 

Pakistan Not Convinced By Defense Report

The Department of Defense issued a report and apology to the Pakistani government last week regarding a NATO airstrike that resulted in the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers. Pakistan has rejected the report calling it “short on facts.”

“Pakistan’s army does not agree with the findings of the US/NATO inquiry as being reported in the media,” a statement from the Pakistanis said, according to Russia Today.

A vital U.S. supply route to Afghanistan was blocked by the Pakistanis in response to the November killings. Soon after the U.S. report and apology, the State Department said it hoped that Islamabad would lift its blockade on the transportation of military cargo to Afghanistan through its territory.

Pakistan’s response is likely to worry Washington since the country is of critical importance to the United States in the war in Afghanistan. Pakistan not only provides a key route for supplies, but is important for peace negotiations with the Taliban which have recently been part of the American agenda.

Pakistani army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said the future relationship between the Pakistani and U.S. militaries will likely be defined in a “very stern, formal way … with well-defined limits of cooperation,” according to The Associated Press.

 

Justice Department Strikes Down Voter ID Law

The Justice Department on Friday rejected South Carolina’s measure requiring photo identification at the polls as discriminatory against minority voters.

The decision may heighten political tensions over the new laws, which critics say could depress turnout among minorities and others who helped elect President Barack Obama in 2008. A dozen States have passed laws requiring voters to present State-issued photo identification this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

According to The Washington Post, under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, several of the States that enacted voter-identification laws are required to receive Federal preclearance to ensure that the laws don’t have unfair impacts on minority populations.

Some of the voter-identification measures would impose restrictions on early voting and make it harder for former felons to vote in addition to requiring identification. One study estimated that the changes could affect more than 5 million voters throughout the country, according to the article.

South Carolina now has the option of trying to get the law approved by a Federal court or passing another law and submitting it to the Justice Department.

Christmas Cheer With A Side Of Liberty

The Christmas season means multiple gatherings with family and friends, filled with holiday cheer. This weekend will be the culmination, as many people cart off to multiple destinations to have wonderful festive meals and enjoy lively conversations with loved ones. But there is one thing that can turn any holiday gathering into a disaster; and given the heightened political awareness over the coming election, it may be hard to avoid.

Some of you may already be thinking about that one holiday destination that you wish you could avoid. Maybe you have a devastatingly liberal in-law; or you’re going to see a relative who was once a bright kid, now home from college for the holidays with a head stuffed full of ideas from left-leaning professors; or maybe you will see the loved one with whom you always end up entangled in a political argument. Whatever the case, getting into a heated political discussion wherein everyone wants the last word can put a damper on the festivities.

For many of us who are liberty-minded or who live according to our conservative principles, sitting idly by as one of our relatives — whom we will affectionately call Joe Liberal — spouts off his most recent ideas about the fundamental importance of addressing global warming, re-electing Barack Obama or continuing the OWS protests is hardly an option. But how are we to approach Joe in such a way that doesn’t send the conversation spiraling out of control into a full-fledged Christmas-dinner argument? That may be the oldest question in political discussion.

If you are interested in getting your point across — and maybe winning a few hearts and minds along the way — as you tell your wayward friend or relative of the importance of the Constitution, conservative values and being prepared, you may be able to do so with some basic philosophy and tactics of debate.

The first and probably most important thing to do when discussing a sensitive issue is to be wary of your emotions. Nothing can make a person look ill-informed like an emotional outburst, so stick to what you know and discuss your side of the issue calmly and with reason. If you avoid emotional outbursts, you will also make it easier to avoid the death knell of many debaters: logical fallacies. A logical fallacy is, to put it broadly, an error in reason while trying to convince another person to take your position in a discussion. There is a very long list of fallacies that pertain to philosophical debate, but being able to avoid just the most common ones can make you a very effective communicator.

A list of five logical fallacies to avoid and examples of some your liberal relative may commit:

Slippery Slope: This is a conclusion based on the premise that if A happens, eventually through a series of small steps (B,C,D…),  Z will happen, too. So if we don’t want Z to occur, we must avoid A. Example:

If Ron Paul is elected, he will take us back to the 18th century and bring back slavery.

Hasty Generalization: Is a conclusion based on insufficient or biased evidence. Example:

Some OWS protesters showed up because they lost their jobs, so they must have suffered injustice because of a system stacked against them.

Begging The Claim: Making a claim that is not validated. Example:

Coal is filthy and it pollutes the Earth and we can do everything we do with it by using green energy, so we should ban coal.

Ad Populum: An emotional appeal to a positive (such as patriotism, religion, democracy) or negative (such as terrorism or fascism) concept rather than the real issue at hand. Example:

The government passed the Defense Authorization Act, which allows Americans to be detained indefinitely, because some Americans are terrorists linked to al-Qaida. If you loved America, you’d support the act.

Red Herring: This is a diversionary tactic that avoids the key issue, usually by dodging opposing arguments rather than addressing them. Example:

We need tighter gun-control laws, because if we had them, the Justice Department would have never needed to implement Operation Fast and Furious to track illegal guns.

This list of fallacies to avoid is by no means exhaustive, but chances are you will hear and recognize one of these in a holiday conversation if there is any political discussion. Imagine young Joe Liberal’s surprise when all of his professor’s talk about how conservatives are anti-intellectual is shattered as you point out his ad populum, and therefore invalid, argument when he tries to explain to you that not supporting OWS means not being a patriot in support of the 1st Amendment.

Also very important to avoiding argument and possibly winning over a few liberal minds is sticking to what you know. Simply saying something is right or wrong “just because” will infuriate; but being able to provide examples of why, using the vast knowledge acquired over a lifetime, can change the tune.

Sticking with what you know goes hand in hand with allowing the person with whom you are speaking to use what they know to reach a conclusion that is in line with your point. This is similar — albeit a simplified description — of the method of teaching created by the classic Greek philosopher Socrates. Using the Socratic Method, you present each of your points as a question rather than a command and build upon each of the other person’s answers with another question until they have reached your point for you. If you use this method and are able to avoid fallacious questions, you will have built a solid argument and possibly learn things even you didn’t know about the point you sought to make.

If you are at all able to avoid talking politics at holiday gatherings, do so. This is the time of year that should be set aside for loved ones and joy, a time that should be difficult to be fouled up even by incompetent lawmakers, a woefully inept Presidential Administration and an election season that is heating up. You do, however, need to be prepared. The liberals are.

Planned Parenthood recently posted an article on their website titled “Talking Turkey: 8 Easy Steps for Discussing Reproductive Health and Justice at the Holiday Table” in an effort to bring words like contraceptive, abortion and rape to your holiday table and help your liberal relative convince you why you should support abortion. The article, before giving ideas about winning the debate, begins:

The holidays are upon us! Going home or getting together with relatives for the holidays is always a stressful time, but if your family members are the type who regularly protest outside the local Planned Parenthood, you know that this holiday is going to be a doozy.

And if you thought Barack Obama was going to allow you to escape during the holidays from the reality that he will be running for President again in 2012, you were wrong. Last week, his campaign announced that it was a perfect time to donate to the cause of destroying America in the name of a conservative as a Christmas gift. Obama supporters were also told to threaten to donate $3 to Obama’s campaign every time their conservative loved ones “say something outrageous” about the President during holiday gatherings. Fortunately, it should be quite easy to make logical arguments against Obama at this point and avoiding fallacies makes any argument decidedly not “outrageous.”

Merry Christmas and good luck! We at Personal Liberty Digest™ hope you are able to bring all of your liberal family and friends to the cause of freedom, liberty and Constitutionally guaranteed rights during the holidays. We may need them in the coming elections.

Maxine Waters Ethics Case Drags On

The House Ethics Committee has extended the special counsel investigation over conflict-of-interest allegations against Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and whether the panel itself improperly pursued the case against the lawmaker.

As part of an investigation that may cost taxpayers as much as $800,000, the bipartisan panel voted unanimously to give Washington lawyer Billy Martin until July 31 to assist the committee in its handling of the Waters case.

Waters is accused of using her legislative power to intervene on behalf of a bank where her husband owned stock and served on the board. The case against Waters has been delayed twice. First, the committee delayed trial to further investigate the case and then the committee came under investigation for its handling of the case, according to The Sacramento Bee.

Waters has a particular interest in getting any charges cleared. The 73-year-old lawmaker is in line to succeed retiring Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts as the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee.

Sam Brownback’s Tea Party Kansas

Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas is on the way to making his State a showcase for the virtues of limited government.

The Governor has said his main concerns are creating jobs, cutting taxes and bringing new businesses; and he is working toward those goals in true Tea Party fashion.

Over the past year, the State has cut three agencies and 2,050 government jobs. Brownback also rejected a $31.5 million Federal grant for a new health-insurance exchange because he opposes President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, according to The Washington Post.

The Governor has also established a new “Office of the Repealer” who canvasses the State searching for places to reduce the number of laws and regulations. Some people in the State believe that Brownback’s sweeping Tea Party reforms as Governor may be used as fodder for a future Presidential bid.

Report: Local Police Becoming Increasingly Militarized

Police forces in cities across the Nation are becoming increasingly militarized, concludes a new report from the Center For Investigative Reporting.

Police, like those in Fargo, N.D., have bought bomb-detection robots, digital communications equipment and Kevlar helmets similar those used by soldiers in foreign wars. The onslaught of purchases for military-style equipment is being carried out with Homeland Security funds allotted since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. In Fargo, the police are equipped with a $256,643 armored truck, complete with a rotating turret. Because opportunities to use such heavy firepower are rare, the truck makes routine appearances at town picnics.

Since 9/11, the Federal government has shelled out more than $34 billion in an effort to militarize police forces throughout the country. Following is a list of some of just a few of the things the report says that America’s now quasi-military police forces have purchased with the money:

  • In Montgomery County, Texas, the sheriff’s department owns a $300,000 pilotless surveillance drone.
  • In Garland County, Ark., a local law enforcement agency acquired four handheld bulletproof protective shields costing $600 each.
  • In East Baton Rouge, La., local law enforcement purchased $400 ballistic helmets.
  • In Augusta, Maine, with fewer than 20,000 people and where an officer has not died from gunfire in the line of duty in more than 125 years, police bought eight $1,500 tactical vests.
  • Police in Des Moines, Iowa, purchased two $180,000 bomb robots.
  • The city of Ogden, Utah, is about to launch a 54-foot, remote-controlled “crime-fighting blimp” with a powerful surveillance camera.

Besides the military-style equipment being provided to officers on many forces, training procedures are taking on an increasingly martial style. Law enforcement officials in places like Fargo say that despite the fact that crime rates do not appear to be on the rise, concerns over terrorism and some right-wing militias and white supremacists have been long-standing threats.

 

Defense Department Apologizes For Accidental Killings

Already frail U.S.-Pakistan relations were strained last month when a cross border air raid resulted in the death of two dozen Pakistani soldiers.

Pakistan responded to the killings by shutting off key U.S. supply routes into Afghanistan, according to International Business Times.

The Defense Department in a recent statement said of the military action, “given what information they had available to them at the time, acted in self-defense and with appropriate force after being fired upon. [We] also found that there was no intentional effort to target persons or places known to be part of the Pakistani military, or to deliberately provide inaccurate location information to Pakistani officials.”

The department blames “inadequate coordination by U.S. and Pakistani military officers operating through the border coordination center” for the accidental killings of the Pakistani soldiers.

“For the loss of life — and for the lack of proper coordination between U.S. and Pakistani forces that contributed to those losses — we express our deepest regret,” said the Defense Department statement. “We further express sincere condolences to the Pakistani people, to the Pakistani government, and most importantly to the families of the Pakistani soldiers who were killed or wounded.”

The Pakistani government, at the time this article was written, had not responded to the apology.