No Place For Liberty In The Progressives’ Timid New World

The Founders’ vision of the United States as a beacon of liberty for the rest of the world grew largely from their desire to ensure that the Nation never resembled that from which they were forced to fight a bloody war to free themselves. The law of the land, in its original construct, was designed to protect personal freedom, privacy and the right to self-preservation against the malicious intent of both agents of the state and free-actors with equal vigor.

But, for busybodies and statists hell-bent on total control, the modern world is too different a place for Americans to value the historic advice — and legislation — of the Nation’s Founding Fathers. And every tragedy or event that has the potential to affront the hearts of Americans with the least bit of unease represents a new chance for the liberty-averse to make their case for less Constitutional consideration.

If you don’t believe the preceding statements coming from an average American peon who values his own naturally ordained and Constitutionally guaranteed rights, take it straight from the horse’s mouth.

Speaking in reference to the Boston Marathon bombing that occurred last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg — who has gone out of his way to make New York City as Constitutionally bereft as possible — had this to say: “The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry. But we live in a complex world where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”

Bloomberg said later in his remarks: “It really says something bad about us that we have to do it. But our obligation first and foremost is to keep our kids safe in the schools; first and foremost, to keep you safe if you go to a sporting event; first and foremost is to keep you safe if you walk down the streets or go into our parks. We cannot let the terrorists put us in a situation where we can’t do those things. And the ways to do that is to provide what we think is an appropriate level of protection.”

Just outside of Bloomberg’s city in New York Harbor stands a world-famous neoclassical sculpture given to the people of the United States by France in 1886. Originally named La Liberté éclairant le monde, or Liberty Enlightening the World, the Statue of Liberty is representative of the Founders’ vision of an America known worldwide as a beacon of liberty. For more than a century, the colossal representation of the Roman goddess Libertas has watched over the city with her ever burning torch in one arm and tubula ansata, representative of the rule of law, in the other.

In the stairwell of Lady Liberty’s pedestal hangs a plaque bearing a slight variant of a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin circa 1755, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

It is duly noted that Franklin and, especially, the ancient Roman Libertas are undoubtedly not contemporary enough to be afforded the consideration of a man as progressive as Bloomberg. But one is forced to wonder how either of the advocates of liberty — real or imagined — from the “olden days” would feel about Bloomberg-era policy initiatives like big soda bans, stop and frisk, and universal surveillance.

Would they simply throw up their arms and mutter, “Times have changed; and the world is too dangerous a place for liberty”?

Chicago Tribune Mocks Texans Killed By Plant Explosion In Sick Economic Editorial

The Chicago Tribune mockingly referenced the Texas fertilizer plant explosion that took 14 lives last week in a below-the-belt editorial jab at Texas Governor Rick Perry’s visit to Illinois in the name of recruiting industry to his State.

Perry his sights on the economically damaged Prairie State recently with a $42,000 radio ad buy in Chicago and another $38,000 in print ads at Crain’s Chicago Business, directing people to the website

In one of the ads that Chicago-area residents will see, Perry notes, “I have a word of advice for employers frustrated by Illinois’ short-sighted approach to business: you need to get out of there while there’s still time.”

He continues in opining that “the escape route leads straight to Texas” where businesses enjoy “limited government, low taxes and a pro-business environment.”

Perry followed up the ad buy with a visit to Illinois this week.

Knowing Perry offers a sweet deal for job makers that their Chicago’s liberal political machinations makes impossible to replicate, The Tribune decided to launch a tasteless attack on Texas before pointing out the failures of Illinois politicians in fostering a pro-business environment.

It reads in part:

Laugh all you want about Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign to recruit businesses from Illinois to the Lone Star State. We don’t know whether Perry will succeed in prompting a commercial exodus from the Land of Lincoln to the land of droughts, fire ants and deadly fertilizer-plant explosions. Yet Perry’s stunt is another serious wake-up call for Illinois politicians and the inhospitable business climate they’ve created.

Perry can boast to Illinois business leaders of a Texas unemployment rate that has fallen to 6.4 percent. That’s an excellent barometer of his state’s economic health. By contrast, the unemployment rate in Illinois is at 9.5 percent and, as the latest report from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates, it has been rising over the past year. In March, this state lost 17,800 jobs from the previous month.

That is no laughing matter.

Of course, it is understandable that the editorial board of a newspaper located in a city with such a sordid history, and daily existence, as Chicago would feel comfortable making light of the death of innocent people.

UPDATE: Eighth-Grader Jailed For NRA Shirt At School Returns To Class — In The Same Shirt

A West Virginia eighth-grader who was suspended and arrested for wearing a National Rifle Association T-shirt to school showed up for his first day back at class wearing the very shirt that originally drew all the unwanted attention from one school employee.

But there was a little vindication this time: Lots of kids showed their support by donning the same shirt, with no apparent threat of suspension or arrest.

Police in Logan, W. Va., told the student, Jared Marcum, he’d been charged with obstruction and disturbing the education process, although Marcum’s attorney said he won’t be formally charged until after prosecuting attorneys had thoroughly investigated what initially took place.

Marcum’s father has requested a copy of a surveillance video that may show the initial incident that led to the suspension and arrest. The school has not disputed that Marcum behaved with civility when he was first confronted by a school official about the shirt, which depicts a hunting rifle above the slogan “protect your right.”

Obamacare Is Going To Be Bad, But Enjoy The Commercials You Paid For Touting The Plan

There is a word for using public relations campaigns to make populations more accepting of laws pushed onto the people by governments: Propagandizing. And the Administration of Barack Obama has been prolific in its use of taxpayer-funded propaganda to push the President’s signature healthcare overhaul.

According to The Hill, Health and Human Services (HHS) officials have confirmed that the agency recently signed a new $8 million (with the option to spend more) contract with the marketing firm Weber Shandwick to promote insurance exchanges implemented as a part of Obamacare.

UPI Pictures of the Year 2012 Ð WASHINGTON POLITICS
Credit: UPI

This isn’t the first time your tax dollars have been spent in order to tout the healthcare overhaul that you may or may not support—the Administration entered a $3.1 million contract with Weber Shandwick last year and spent an additional $20 million selling its ideas with the help of another firm.

Proponents of the Federally-controlled insurance exchanges that will exist in 33 States by October say that the only way for Obamacare to work is for Americans to embrace it— an argument which, unsurprisingly, conservatives decrying both government spending and government-controlled healthcare believe is entirely moot.

But even Democrats know that something bad is afoot.

“I just see a huge train wreck coming down,” Senate Finance chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) told HHS Chief Katherine Sebelius during a hearing last week. “When I’m home, small businesses have no idea what to do, what to expect, they don’t know what affordability rules are, they don’t know what penalties may apply. They just don’t know.”

And judging by remarks made by Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in a recent speech to medical executives, Americans should prepare for the worst.

“We are under 200 days from open enrollment [in Obamacare], and I’m pretty nervous,” he said. “The time for debating… is it a world-class experience, that’s what we used to talk about two years ago. Let’s just make sure it’s not a third-world experience.”

The Administration’s move to make Obamacare more appealing through old fashioned propaganda is a move to preempt a pending wave of ugly criticism from both sides of the aisle if the train wreck Baucus and other lawmakers foresee becomes reality.

Never before has Representative Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) 2010 remark that “we have to pass the bill so that you can, uh, find out what is in it” been more poignant. Americans are finding out a little bit more every day about what government healthcare means for the Nation:

If you were the President, wouldn’t you feel the need to drop several million dollars on marketing to make the train wreck you orchestrated look a bit less fiery?

Federal Judge Seeks To Thwart Obama’s Hypocritical Use Of ‘State Secrets’ Provision

The Federal government keeps a classified “no-fly” list of Americans and citizens of other Nations that it bars from traveling by air, allegedly to avoid a repeat of the tragic events on 9/11. To date, a “state secrets” law has meant that only the Executive branch can grant access to the list—but a Federal judge is challenging the provision.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup of San Francisco appears headed for a showdown with the Administration of President Barack Obama in his quest to make available to the court documents explaining why Malaysian citizen and former Stanford student Rahinah Ibrahim was denied travel and briefly detained at the San Francisco airport in 2005.

Alsup is using the seven-year-old case filed against the Feds by Ibrahim to force the Federal government to “show cause” as to why at least nine documents— some pertaining to the reasons for placing individuals on the “no fly” list— have been labeled as classified and kept from the plaintiff’s lawyers.

The judge, however, has made clear that he is not interested in reducing the Federal government’s power to retain information in the interest of national security in ordering that the government release records dating back to 2005 but allowing withholding of documents that pertain to “terrorist screening and watchlist procedures” from 2009 to now.

“There is some risk that disclosure of these documents would hinder frank and ongoing discussion regarding contemplated visa decisions. Nevertheless, these documents are highly relevant to plaintiff’s claims and are not available from any other source,” Alsup wrote in an order issued Friday. “The other factors that outweigh the government’s assertion of the [deliberative process privilege] likewise play a substantial role here. Plaintiff has properly pled constitutional claims challenging alleged government misconduct. This creates a strong interest in accurate fact-finding for plaintiff and for society, and a strong interest in the enforcement of the constitutional protections asserted in plaintiff’s complaint.”

Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have both filed declarations in the case, supporting the Administration’s view that the no-questions-asked “state secrets” policy should remain intact in Ibrahim’s case.

Remarkably transparent to the Obama Administration’s complete disregard for the campaign promises the President has made, however, is this: In 2008, both Obama and Holder went on record ripping the Administration of George W. Bush for using “state secrets” to thwart civil liberties lawsuits. Holder even went on to make the executive privilege more difficult after taking office. But despite the public proclamations, the Obama Administration has repeatedly used the same policy as Bush to block litigation related to warrantless wiretapping, drone usage and cases of Federal spying.

American Libs: Don’t Blame It On Allah!

Radical Islamists often suffer that bad rap of being characterized as people willing to carry out barbaric terror attacks in the name of their beloved prophet… because recent history provides a steady flow of stories of radical Islamists carrying out barbaric terror attacks in the name of their prophet.

But, in the wake of the recent Boston Marathon bombings—and amid reports that the perpetrators have/had radical Islamist leanings—American liberals are in a mad apologetic dash to ensure that fundamentalist Islamic teachings are not blamed for terror attacks.

Newsbusters notes that MSNBC hack Andrea Mitchell is doing her part to make certain that Muslims are not mischaracterized:

And Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)—himself a Muslim— is very concerned that Americans may become aware of the fact that so many terrorists “happen to be” Muslim:

Koch Brothers Eye Big Media Purchase

Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries have become hated by liberals for their constant support of conservative causes—at the same time, the brothers have enjoyed an on-again, off-again love affair with conservatives and Tea Party adherents. The brothers, who are some of the biggest donors to Republican and libertarian-leaning politicians, now have a plan to influence the media by buying up a series of newspapers.

From The New York Times:

Now, Koch Industries, the sprawling private company of which Charles G. Koch serves as chairman and chief executive, is exploring a bid to buy the Tribune Company’s eight regional newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Orlando Sentinel and The Hartford Courant.

By early May, the Tribune Company is expected to send financial data to serious suitors in what will be among the largest sales of newspapers by circulation in the country. Koch Industries is among those interested, said several people with direct knowledge of the sale who spoke on the condition they not be named. Tribune emerged from bankruptcy on Dec. 31 and has hired JPMorgan Chase and Evercore Partners to sell its print properties.

The papers, valued at roughly $623 million, would be a financially diminutive deal for Koch Industries, the energy and manufacturing conglomerate based in Wichita, Kan., with annual revenue of about $115 billion.

Adding media megaphone to their already “grassroots” conservative endeavors could make the Koch brothers a political power akin to liberal billionaire George Soros, who currently enjoys several media holdings.

Would a Koch media conglomerate be a good addition to the current political sphere?

Bad Diets And School Shootings

Celebrity vegan trainer John Pierre, who visited Capitol Hill Monday to tout the benefits of a plant-based diet, told Congressional staffers that school shootings could be a result of poor nutrition.

“The average child is drinking over 50 gallons of soda pop a year… and every time you eat or you drink sugar it destroys B vitamins… which are for brain function,” Pierre told staffers as they enjoyed healthy snacks at the Capitol Visitor Center. “Now you couple that with violent video games, pornography, violent cartoons, violent music. And then is it any wonder that children are going berserk? And going into schools and shooting one another?”

Pierre, who trains celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, may have a point about the impacts of America’s processed-food diet on brain development. Unfortunately, his message to staffers is that laws need to be enacted which control how people eat and feed their children—a message that is guaranteed to be un-liked by conservatives no matter how health conscious they are.

H/T: Washington Whispers 

House Passage Of Online Spy Bill A Betrayal Of Conservatives

The Republican-controlled House betrayed Constitutional privacy protections by passing the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) with overwhelming support last week.

In a 288-127 vote, the House rammed through the cyberspying bill that would allow email and Internet providers to share confidential information with the Federal government. While there were a handful of libertarian-leaning GOP holdouts, most Party-line Republicans justified a “yea” vote in the name of national security.

“This is not a surveillance bill,” Representative Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said during debate over the bill. “It does not allow the national security agencies or the Department of Defense or our military… to monitor our domestic networks.”

But privacy groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union point out language in the bill that would effectively overrule Federal and State laws, including online privacy policies and wiretap rules.

The bill says:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a self-protected entity may, for cybersecurity purposes — (i) use cybersecurity systems to identify and obtain cyber threat information to protect the rights and property of such self-protected entity; and (ii) share such cyber threat information with any other entity, including the Federal Government…

The term ‘self-protected entity’ means an entity, other than an individual, that provides goods or services for cybersecurity purposes to itself.

The House also voted in support of CISPA last year but the bill was quashed in the Democrat-controlled Senate. This time, on the heels of a veto threat from President Barack Obama, it’s likely that the Senate will once again allow CISPA to die.

The debate over CISPA has made strange bedfellows of Senate Democrats following the President’s lead in opposition of the bill and conservative Americans who see it as damaging to 4th Amendment privacy protections.

The conservative-aligned organization Freedomworks said in a recent statement: “There are grave Fourth Amendment concerns with CISPA. The bill would override existing privacy laws to allow companies to share ‘cyber threat information’ with the federal government without making any reasonable effort to strip out any personal information from the file.”

The Gun Control Fight Has Only Just Begun

Following the defeat of President Barack Obama’s gun-ban wish list last week, many 2nd Amendment advocates rejoiced and the National Rifle Association said the President “bit off more than he could chew.” But it’s certain that Obama’s crusade against guns hasn’t ended.

On Wednesday, the NRA said in a statement: “Today, the misguided Manchin-Toomey-Schumer proposal failed in the U.S. Senate. This amendment would have criminalized certain private transfers of firearms between honest citizens, requiring lifelong friends, neighbors and some family members to get federal government permission to exercise a fundamental right or face prosecution.  As we have noted previously, expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools.”

Meanwhile, the President was busy throwing his now infamous Rose Garden tantrum, saying it was “a shameful day for Washington” and complaining that the NRA and other members of the gun lobby wield too much power in America.

In an interview with the Washington Secrets blog, NRA president David Keene said that Obama was simply upset that he so badly misread public opinion.

“He thought and his folks thought that Newtown changed everything. Newtown was a tragedy but that doesn’t change people’s basic values and feelings,” Keene said. “What he learned is that he bit off a lot more than he can chew and that you can’t just talk your way to a victory. You have to have something that makes some sense and he what he was proposing just didn’t make much sense.”

Though the President appears to have been defeated in his gun grab, remarks made last week by Vice President Joe Biden reveal that the Administration isn’t throwing in the towel.

“Look, I know you’re going to say that I’m just being an optimist and I’m trying to put a good face on this. But, you know, I’ve been around here a long time and we’ve already done, because of you, some really good things,” Biden said during a call with supporters, according to Buzzfeed. “Number one, the president is already lining up some additional executive actions he’s going to be taking later this week.”

White House officials later backtracked on Biden’s comments, saying that the Vice President meant to say more work was being done to move forward with the gun-related executive actions the President already signed. By the deadline of this article, no additional executive actions had been listed on the White House website.

But Biden’s remarks are likely not as anodyne as White House officials want gun rights advocates to believe. For example, he also said that the Administration was working on ways to increase the number of Americans denied access to guns.

“We also are reviewing the list of prohibited purchasers to maybe expand that list of prohibited purchasers,” he said. “Granted, only 60 percent of people who go for a purchase are doing it [background checks].”

Congressional Democrats are also reportedly regrouping for a renewed gun control fight. Some lawmakers have even suggested adding largely symbolic amendments to gun bills exempting certain rural Americans from provisions to draw new support.

For conservatives, remaining vigilant against anti-gun legislation appears more important than ever as the recent legislative defeat gives rise to new vigor and increasingly dramatic propaganda from the anti-gun left.