Rand Paul Offers Legislation To Keep Government From Stealing Innocent Citizens’ Property

Civil forfeiture laws, which allow the government to seize assets like cars, homes, property, cash and just about anything else merely suspected by law enforcement of being used for criminal activities, are an affront to Americans’ Constitutional property rights. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) recently unveiled a plan to reform them.

Paul’s legislative proposal, dubbed the FAIR (or the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration) Act, would take on a legal system that not only allows, but incentivizes, confiscation of private property from individuals who haven’t been charged or convicted of breaking any laws.

“The federal government has made it far too easy for government agencies to take and profit from the property of those who have not been convicted of a crime. The FAIR Act will ensure that government agencies no longer profit from taking the property of U.S. citizens without due process, while maintaining the ability of courts to order the surrender of proceeds of crime,” Paul said.

While convicting a person of a crime requires law enforcement to provide evidence that the individual is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the government has to prove only that property was likely to have been used in a crime in order to steal it from its rightful owner. Meanwhile, unlike in criminal proceedings, the property owners are considered guilty until proven innocent.

Getting property back from the government can mean a long, costly — and often unsuccessful — legal battle. And even though confiscating a car, property or cash from a person who the government has not linked directly to a crime does nothing to make the public safer, you can bet that law enforcement agencies will fight hard to hang on to what they have confiscated.

That’s because current civil forfeiture laws provide direct cash incentives to agencies in some States by allowing them to sell what they confiscate and reap the financial rewards. In States with better property protections for residents, law enforcement can get some help stealing stuff from innocent people by reaching out to Uncle Sam’s Justice Department.

Via The Institute for Justice:

Federal law provides a loophole called “equitable sharing” to law enforcement in states with good civil forfeiture laws. This program allows state law enforcement to turn seized assets over to the federal government, which forfeits the property under federal  law. In turn, the feds give up to 80 percent of the forfeited property back to the state agency for its own use, even if state law would have required those proceeds to go into a general fund.

Paul’s civil forfeiture reform would de-incentivize confiscation of innocent Americans’ belongings by making it tougher for the government to make a case against an individual’s property. Furthermore, it would remove the Federal assist in most cases by requiring all State agencies to defer to State laws regarding confiscated property.

Another provision in Paul’s legislation would provide that the profits from all property that is legitimately confiscated by the Federal government by way of civil forfeiture be placed in the U.S. Treasury’s General Fund, not the Attorney General’s Asset Forfeiture Fund. The funding redirect is important because it creates a situation where there is no direct financial incentive for law enforcement to take property — consequently, making it more likely that property is taken only when legitimate public safety concerns exist.

The FAIR Act is the latest in a series of attempts the Kentucky Senator is making to reform the U.S. judicial system by challenging aspects of the Nation’s failed War on Drugs (which largely abetted the rise in civil forfeiture cases) and sentencing guidelines that make rehabilitation more difficult than it should be for some low-level offenders.

Video: Shotgun Silencers Are Pretty Cool, But Johnny Dronehunter Makes Them Cooler

Can you imagine a future where a flock of privacy-invading drones is liable to swarm you to make sure that you are following government commands at any moment? Utah-based SilencerCo. did— then they imagined a character who, without hesitation, would take back his rights.

The action takes place in a new advertisement for a product called the Salvo 12, which SilencerCo. says is “the first and only commercially-viable shotgun suppressor on earth.”

A description accompanying the Johnny Dronehunter ad reads as follows:

In the not-too-distant future, privacy is a thing of the past. Undeniable rights degrade like the paper they were written upon, and Big Brother has a constant eye on you and your family.

It will take a determined man and an unequaled weapon to make a stand. And explosions. Yeah, lots of explosions.

If trouble was what they were after, they found it.

Well done.

H/T: Motherboard

Lois Lerner Dislikes Conservative ‘A**holes’ More Than Foreign Terrorists

Former IRS official Lois Lerner’s hatred of conservative “assholes” was made crystal clear in an email exchange discussed by lawmakers on Wednesday.

In an email conversation with an unnamed person, Lerner insinuated that conservatives are a bigger threat to the Nation than “alien TeRorists[sic].”

Lerner, who was reportedly on vacation in England when the exchange took place, wrote of how she’s overheard foreigners deriding U.S. fiscal policies.

“Well, you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP. The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down, buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end,” Lerner’s lefty conversion partner said in the email chain. “The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to.”

“Great,” Lerner replied. “Maybe we are through if there are that many a–holes.”

She went on, “So we don’t need to worry about alien teRrorists [sic]. It’s our own crazies that will take us down.”

GOP lawmakers say that the emails prove yet again that Lerner, who had already been pegged as a dedicated liberal, used her position in a political capacity.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said during the hearing that the email chain should force Attorney General Eric Holder to take seriously and investigate charges that Lerner encouraged improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups.

Holder isn’t likely to cooperate as Democrats continue to assert that the GOP investigation has yielded no evidence against Lerner. And, for now, the GOP isn’t likely to get any new information out of Lerner.

After all, while every asshole is entitled to an opinion in the U.S., some are better off pleading the 5th.

GOP IRS Report: Political Speech Provides Social Welfare

Representative Darrell Issa’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee discussed its report on the Internal Revenue Service targeting scandal, “Making Sure Targeting Never Happens: Getting Politics Out of the IRS and Other Solutions” on Wednesday.

According to the report, the Oversight Committee “has reviewed approximately 800,000 pages of documents produced by the IRS, the Treasury Department, the Justice Department, the Federal Election Commission, the IRS Oversight Board, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, and other custodians.” Based on the findings from the research, Oversight members have come up with a 15-point plan to reform the IRS.

The most important reforms, as summarized by Issa in a press release accompanying the report’s Tuesday release, include:

*Replacing the IRS Commissioner with a multi-member, bipartisan commission

*Removing the IRS as a regulator of political speech for social-welfare groups

*Allowing taxpayers, and not the IRS, to control access to their confidential taxpayer information

*Creating a private right of action for victims of willful and injurious leaks by IRS officials of confidential taxpayer information

*Establishing transparent and objective criteria for scrutiny of applicants

*Establishing clear and transparent rules for information-collecting purposes

*Prohibiting political and policy communications between the IRS and Executive Office of the President

*Removing the IRS from implementation of the Affordable Care Act

Currently, nonprofit status is supposed to be reserved for entities which allocate less than half of resources to “political activities.” The left has already heavily criticized the Issa plan, charging that lawmakers should instead focus primarily on defining what the IRS should consider “political speech,” thereby strengthening agency guidelines for denying nonprofit status.

But in the months since the IRS scandal hit headlines more than a year ago the agency has already attempted and failed to narrow down the definition. Center for Competitive Politics President explained why during Oversight testimony Wednesday.

He said in a prepared statement: “The Internal Revenue Service is primarily a tax collection agency. It knows little about nonprofit advocacy and even less about First Amendment protections for free speech. This incompetence was on clear display when the IRS proposed regulations last November attempting to define political activity, which generated over 150,000 public comments. Organizations and citizens across the political spectrum were nearly unanimous in criticizing the proposal for seeking to regulate too much activity.

“In fairness to the career staff at the IRS, this is extremely difficult work. The tax laws are complicated, but the relationship of campaign finance laws and the First Amendment is even more complex and raises very difficult constitutional issues,” he continued. “This difficulty is one reason why the IRS should not be involved in this type of political regulation.”

Instead of making the political speech definition narrower, supporters of more comprehensive IRS reform support broader protections for nonprofits’ 1st Amendment activities. The reason for this view, as Issa’s report puts it, is that “activities that promote free political speech and free political assembly benefit the general welfare” because they are American rights.

Thanks To War On Terror, Islamic Extremists Have Everything They Need To Kill Americans

A top military official who heads the Defense Intelligence Agency told journalists at the Aspen Security Forum last week that the United States is no safer than it was before the World Trade Center attacks that set the Nation’s perpetual war machine into motion. In fact, the Nation is likely far less safe than it was in 2001.

“We have a whole gang of new actors out there that are far more extreme than al-Qaida,” Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn said, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Of course, Flynn’s remarks certainly don’t come as a surprise to anyone paying attention to the current state of global affairs.

Hawks intent on keeping U.S. military action alive in the Mideast have commonly argued that the U.S. must fight them (whoever they are) over there (wherever that is) to prevent bloodshed in the homeland. Other times, those hawks have warned Americans of depraved despots in possession of dangerous weapons.

As a result, many Americans gladly and patriotically supported U.S. invasions in the Mideast — most importantly those to pursue extremists in the deserts of Afghanistan and its neighboring countries and to cripple Saddam Hussein’s regime and bring Democracy to Iraq. In the past 13 years, the United States has spent trillions of dollars and lost thousands of American soldiers as the world’s leading self-appointed crusader against terror, an enemy with no concrete face or nation, and purveyor of democracy, a form of government best served self-earned.

So how have we done?

In October 2001, U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan in pursuit of Osama bin Laden, whose terror group was a primary suspect in the Trade Center attacks (bin Laden initially denied, but was later reported to have claimed responsibility for the atrocity). The war was sold to an emotional American public as a straightforward operation to cut off al-Qaida’s head and install a government that would, unlike the Taliban that seized control in 1996, prevent extremists from ever again using Afghanistan as a terror staging ground.

The Taliban were eventually replaced by a farcical sham of a democratic government in Afghanistan. And elections, rife with predictable corruption, have taken place in the country from time to time. After repeated U.S. troop surges and withdrawals over the course of several years, the U.S. military eventually settled into a routine of training Afghan forces (who routinely turn to be infiltrated by extremists intent on killing U.S. soldiers) to defend themselves without American support.

If you squint really hard, it almost looks like the U.S. achieved its goal in Afghanistan. With eyes wide open, however, one would be able to see all the way back to the 1970s — when the U.S. first attempted Afghan regime change — and realize that history is on repeat.

The New York Times reported last week:

The Taliban have found success beyond their traditional strongholds in the rural south and are now dominating territory near crucial highways and cities that surround Kabul, the capital, in strategic provinces like Kapisa and Nangarhar.

Their advance has gone unreported because most American forces have left the field and officials in Kabul have largely refused to talk about it.

So extremists are taking over larger swaths of land than they had previously influenced in Afghanistan. That’s not so bad. At least we won Iraq, right?

In March 2003, President George W. Bush ordered an invasion of Iraq to eliminate the country’s weapons of mass destruction.

“They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat,” Bush said at the time.

They weren’t. Actually, we never found them.

The U.S. invasion did manage to take Saddam and his Baath Party out of power and install a new, more democratic government. Unfortunately, good ole apple pie democracy evidently was not enough to calm the tensions of nearly 1,500 years of tribal conflict between Sunni and Shiite Islam in the region.

Under the Baath Party’s rule, Iraq was led by its Sunni minority, as it had been since the Ottoman Empire. That, of course, wasn’t pleasant for many members of the majority Shiite population. So when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite at the helm of a largely Shiite government, took control in Iraq after Saddam’s ouster, things got predictably nasty for the Nation’s Sunnis.

The Islamic State terror group (aka ISIS/ISIL), mostly consisting of violent extremists intent on turning the whole Arab world into a jihad training camp, has profoundly benefited from the tribal tensions that were inflamed by the U.S. invasion. And with the help of wealthy Sunni donors the group is quickly taking control of much of Iraq.

“The speed that [ISIS] came into this northern city of Iraq, into Mosul, and they were able to, you know, kind of [cut through Iraqi security force defenses] like a hot knife through butter through really about four [Iraqi Army] divisions,” Flynn said of the current situation, “I would say that, yeah, that caught us — that level of speed that they were able to do that — caught us by surprise.”

With Iraq’s democratic government likely a stone’s throw (pun intended) from collapsing and Afghanistan having never really managed to have a legitimate governing structure following the U.S. invasions, the situation in the Mideast looks about as bad as it possibly could. But thanks to the United States’ decision to aid rebels overthrow relatively stable — though sometimes despicable — regimes in places like Libya and Syria, the situation is actually much more volatile that the Pentagon would like to admit.

Syria’s civil war has given the Islamic State group an opportunity to take over large portions of the country for the borderless Islamic state it is bent on creating. Libya, meanwhile, is in a state of chaos and largely under the control of al-Qaida militants.

The United States’ war on terror has expanded al-Qaida’s reign and created the opportunity for more extreme extremists under the Islamic State group flag to gain a firm foothold throughout the Mideast. How is that possible?

Flynn contends that it’s because it’s hard to attack an idea with a military.

“I, you know, have been going against these guys for a long time. The core is the core belief that these individuals have — and it’s not on the run,” he said. “That ideology is actually, sadly, it feels like it’s exponentially growing.”

Meanwhile, the United States’ southern border is too poorly defended to stop illegal immigrants, most of them people with no ill-intent toward the Nation and no fanatical religious drive to murder, from making it into the country. When you consider how a highly organized and opportunistic group of jihadists like those who make up the Islamic State group might exploit the border weaknesses, it becomes pretty obvious where those trillions of taxpayer dollars would have been better spent.

*This article has been edited to provide additional information about Osama bin Laden’s involvement in 9/11.

Border Patrol Finally Detains Some Minors At Border

U.S. Border Patrol officials recently detained and allegedly pulled a weapon on a busload of minors at the Nation’s border. Unfortunately, the bus wasn’t full of illegal aliens from the south sneaking into the country but a group of Iowa Boy Scouts en route to Alaska via the northern U.S. border with Canada.

According to Boy Scout Troop 111 Leader Jim Fox, the incident occurred when one of the scouts photographed a border official as the youngsters made their way across the border. The Federal employee promptly freaked out and claimed that it is a Federal offense to photograph a Federal agent, the scout leader said.

For the record, it certainly is not.

“The agent immediately confiscated his camera, informed him he would be arrested, fined possibly $10,000 and 10 years in prison,” Fox said.

Fox told local reporters that he didn’t want the situation to escalate and that he and the scouts complied with the official’s demands without protest.

As a search of the scouts’ van ensued, a border agent allegedly became spooked by the actions of one of the uniformed scouts and pulled his weapon.

“He heard a snap of the holster, turns around, and here’s this agent, both hands on a loaded pistol, pointing at the young man’s head,” Fox told Des Moines-based KCCI.

Luckily, the scouts made it through the ordeal without being maimed or killed by the Federal agents after four hours of delay and interrogations, including, Fox said, queries about “excessive amounts of lighters, matches and knives.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has denied that anything out of the ordinary happened to the scouts.

“CBP takes any allegations of wrongdoing very seriously,” CPB said in a statement. “CBP’s review of this group’s inspection, including video footage review indicates that our officer did not un-holster or handle his weapon as stated in the allegation. The review revealed nothing out of the ordinary. We have reached out to the Boy Scout troop for additional information in reference to the allegation. The video footage has been referred to CBP Internal Affairs for further review.”

The agency has, however, denied media requests to release video footage of the incident.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) also weighed in on the incident, calling it outrageous. The lawmaker said that his office is working to get to learn more about what happened and plans to discuss the matter with Homeland Security officials.

Americans Want Illegals Deported, Give Obama Negative Approval On Issue

President Barack Obama could find himself in trouble if he attempts to make unilateral changes to the Nation’s immigration policy, as new polling data shows that a hefty majority of Americans disagree with the Administration on the issue.

According to the numbers out in an Economist/YouGov.com survey, 81 percent of Americans believe that the unaccompanied children flowing across the southern border are a matter of serious concern to the Nation.

Fifty-seven percent of those polled said that they believe the current immigration crisis has resulted from U.S. policies that perpetuate the belief that the Nation’s government “is or will be granting amnesty to undocumented illegal immigrant children.” Just 29 percent attributed the immigration surge to increased South and Central American violence.

Only 11 percent support allowing the illegal immigrants to remain in the country, and fewer (10 percent) believe that the U.S. should drop them off in Mexico. Thirty-five percent said that government should work to return the young immigrants to their home countries if conditions are safe, compared to 32 percent who said the immigrants must be returned regardless of conditions.

“Those who would let the children stay in the United States until it is certain they have a safe place to return to are more likely to be younger, to be Democrats, and to be Hispanic,” YouGov reported. “Women are evenly divided about what should be done, while men, by a ten point margin, favor deportation.”

The serious immigration problem is also taking a toll on Obama’s approval rating.

“The approval rating of the president on immigration, like his approval ratings on many other issues, is negative. A majority disapproves, and only a third approve. But the evaluation of the president is even worse among those who would deport the child migrants as soon as possible: only 16 percent in that group approve of how Barack Obama is handling immigration. Those who want the children to stay until they can be returned safely approve of the president’s performance,” said the poll analysis.

Sunday News Show Roundup

“To put it mildly, the world is a mess,” former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said as the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East took center stage on Sunday’s political talk shows.

Albright’s comment was directed specifically at the conflict between Russia and Ukraine during her appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” The former diplomat said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is living “in his own world.”

“He has made up an awful lot of lies in terms of who is responsible for the fact that the Soviet Union disintegrated,” she said.

Albright, who served as Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton, also said that the Ukrainian crisis, along with those unfolding in the Middle East, are less important to Americans than past foreign problems.

“I think the thing that has changed is we don’t want to be the world’s policemen, the American people don’t,” she said. “What has to happen is we need to really work harder on partnerships.”

The former official went on to criticize other governments for not getting more involved in fixing the international problems.

“The president has been pushing Europeans, and the Europeans have to step up,” Albright said. “I am appalled, frankly, at the slowness of the Europeans in understanding what is going on in Europe itself, and being not only supportive of Ukraine but making clear that the kind of behavior Putin is engaged in is illegal and that we have a responsibility together.”

Meanwhile, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu joined the U.S. Sunday political talk shows to defend his country’s decision to continue shelling Gaza. According to Netanyahu, the Israeli actions are part of an effort to neutralize a terror threat from Hamas.

“Hamas doesn’t even accept its own ceasefire. It’s continued to fire at us as we speak. Israel has accepted five ceasefires since this conflict began. Five. We accepted them and we implemented them,” Netanyahu said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“Now Hamas has floated that it wants a ceasefire beginning at 2 o’clock and they’ve attacked us after that, so they’re violating even their own ceasefire.”

On Sunday, Hamas announced that it accept a 24 hour humanitarian ceasefire “as a preparation for the end of Ramadan and in response to the U.N. mediation.” Netanyahu suggested that his country would reject the ceasefire.

“Hamas is simply continuing all its operations and Israel will not let this terror operation decide when it’s convenient for them and not convenient for them to attack our people. When it’s convenient for them to restock and reload and when it’s not convenient for them,” he said.

The White House Is Starting To Take Obama Impeachment Threats Seriously

The White House on Friday said that it is taking Republican threats to impeach President Barack Obama seriously. White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer said that the threat of Obama impeachment would increase if the President takes executive actions to keep illegal aliens in the country.

“The President acting on immigration reform will certainly up the likelihood that [Republicans] would contemplate impeachment at some point,” Pfeiffer told attendees of a breakfast forum hosted by The Christian Science Monitor.

Obama’s longtime advisor also told the audience that the days of the Administration laughing off impeachment talks have ended, with the President’s dismal polling numbers and a lawsuit against Obama promised by House Speaker John Boehner.

Polling data out this week from CNN/ORC reveals that 33 percent of Americans support the idea of impeaching the President and 41 percent said that the House GOP should move forward with a lawsuit against Obama.

But, according to The Monitor, Boehner denied that his suit was designed to set the wheels of impeachment in motion.

“This is a fundraising exercise for Democrats,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told the outlet. “It is telling, and sad, that a senior White House official is focused on political games, rather than helping these kids and securing the border.”

Other establishment Republicans like Senator John McCain (Ariz.) have also denied that impeaching the President is a viable plan.

“Well, I don’t agree and I remember going through an impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton,” McCain said earlier this month when former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin called for impeachment. “There are not the votes here in the United States Senate to impeach the president of the United States and I think that we should focus our attention on winning elections. We win this election and we regain control of the United States Senate we can be far more effective than an effort to impeach the president, which has no chance of succeeding.”

Other Republicans, however, have said that the President’s actions in dealing the Nation’s immigration problem could open the door to impeachment proceedings.

“He either enforces the laws on the books—as he was hired and elected to do—or he leaves. Congress no option. This is not our choice, this is the President’s choice and I would advise him to uphold the law on the books,” Representative Ted Yoho (R-FL) said in a recent statement.

Senate NSA Bill Could Come As Early As Next Week

A Senate compromise on how the government should dial down its out-of-control surveillance could be revealed as early as next Tuesday, according to Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy.

Leahy (D-Vt.) says that the bill, which is “within inches” of completion, would place “clear cut guidelines” on what the Nation’s intelligence gatherers “can and cannot do” while also offering measures to ensure that “the American people know that their privacy is going to be protected.”

Leahy sponsored the Senate version of the House USA Freedom Act, which was passed by lawmakers in the lower chamber earlier this year. The Senator, however, has vowed that his version will include stronger reforms than the bill passed in the House, which was disavowed by many supporters after lawmakers watered it down.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation told supporters in May:

Since the introduction of the USA FREEDOM Act, a bill that has over 140 cosponsors, Congress has been clear about its intent: ending the mass collection of Americans’ calling records. Many members of Congress, the President’s own review group on NSA activities, and the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board all agree that the use of Section 215 to collect Americans’ calling records must stop. Earlier today, House Leadership reached an agreement to amend the bipartisan USA FREEDOM Act in ways that severely weaken the bill, potentially allowing bulk surveillance of records to continue. The Electronic Frontier Foundation cannot support a bill that doesn’t achieve the goal of ending mass spying. We urge Congress to support uncompromising NSA reform and we look forward to working on the Senate’s bipartisan version of the USA FREEDOM Act.

As Leahy races against the clock to provide the legislation before Congress takes its summer recess, privacy advocates are a bit more upbeat about the Senate version of the privacy bill.

FEC Commissioner Warns Of Government Mission Against Conservative Media

This week, Federal Elections Commission Chairman Lee Goodman called out Democratic colleagues for making attempts to regulate book publishing by conservatives. The FEC attempts are only the latest in a series of government maneuvers to tamp down on conservative media.

The criticism came after Democrats on the FEC attempted to deny Representative Paul Ryan’s leadership PAC, Prosperity Action, the ability to buy copies of the book written by the Republican lawmaker from Wisconsin — The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea — to give away to supporters.

Washington Examiner explains:

In the case of the Ryan book, publisher Grand Central Publishing sought the broad media exemption from regulation, but Democrats rejected that and pushed for a different, commercial, exemption that imposes rules over the publisher’s politics and book pricing. Republicans went along and the commission approved that 6-0.

The commission also ruled that while Ryan can have his campaign and PAC buy books to give out, the promotion on his websites has to be limited to two sentences. There were concerns raised by Weintraub that Ryan was trying to profit off sales of the book promoted on his websites. Republicans carried that to victory in a 4-2 vote.

Goodman said the mixed decision for Ryan was another missed chance by the FEC to publicly show support for press freedom.

“By failing to affirm this publisher’s constitutional right, statutory right, to disseminate a political book free from FEC conditions and regulations, we have effectively asserted regulatory jurisdiction over a book publisher,” Goodman said.

“That failure reveals a festering legal uncertainty and chill for the free press rights of books and book publishers to publish and disseminate political books free from government regulation,” he added.

The FEC constraints imposed on Ryan are only the latest evidence of what Goodman believes is an attempt by Democrats to silence conservative voices in publishing and media.

In May, Goodman warned of Democrats’ efforts to change FEC media exemption laws that allow all forms of media to pick political favorites without worrying about complying with election regulations. The FEC chairman said that the attempts have resulted directly from the growing popularity of conservative online media.

“I think that there are impulses in the government every day to second guess and look into the editorial decisions of conservative publishers,” he said at the time.

“The right has begun to break the left’s media monopoly, particularly through new media outlets like the Internet, and I sense that some on the left are starting to rethink the breadth of the media exemption and internet communications,” he added.

The FEC efforts to regulate media aren’t the only areas of concern for conservative publishers.

Despite the Federal Communications Commission’s 2011 announcement that the Fairness Doctrine would no longer be on the books, liberals continue to propose renditions of the obsolete law that would quiet conservative media.

And over in Congress, attempts to stifle political speech are bipartisan. Legislative proposals to define “journalist” in a media shield law that lawmakers began work on last year attempted to narrow the definition to leave out anyone not working for a traditional media outlet.

Lawmaker: Ivory Ban Could Lead To Confiscation Of Antique Guns, Instruments

A Tennessee Senator is worried that a new Obama Administration Fish and Wildlife Service mandate aimed at stopping the trade of ivory could lead to the confiscation of antique firearms and other goods.

“For those of us who are concerned that this administration is trying to take away our guns, this regulation could actually do that,” Senator Lamar Alexander (R) said Wednesday.

“If this regulation is approved, when you decide to sell a gun, a guitar or anything else across state lines that contains African elephant ivory, the government would actually take them away — even if you inherited them or bought them at a time when the sale of ivory was not illegal,” he added.

Gun owners along with musicians, whose antique instruments sometimes contain ivory, have argued against the rule which bars the trade of materials containing African elephant ivory. In addition to criminalizing the trade of legitimate antiques, musicians have complained that the law makes it more difficult for them to tour outside of the U.S. with antique instruments.

“Although ivory is no longer used in the manufacture of new musical instruments, many older musical instruments, such as guitars and bows, feature very small amounts of ivory and are still in use by artists today,” wrote Todd Dupler, director of government relations at The Recording Academy, recently wrote in a blog post.

“These instruments, some of which are historically significant antiques, were legally crafted and legally acquired, but under the new rules artists could still be prohibited from traveling internationally with them,” he added.

Alexander has proposed legislation that would reverse the Administration’s ivory trade ban for goods made before the 1976 ban on ivory was put into place. Under the Lawful Ivory Protection Act the production of new goods containing ivory would remain illegal.

“I support stopping poachers, and I support stopping the trade of illegal ivory,” Alexander said. “What I don’t support is treating … musicians, antique shops, and firearms sellers like illegal ivory smugglers. … This legislation will stop the administration from taking away our legal guns, guitars, and other items that contain legal ivory if we try to sell them across state lines.”

GOP Offers Immigration Proposals, Democrats Want Money Without Policy Change

Republican lawmakers are working to produce an alternative to President Barack Obama’s proposal to spend $3.7 billion in taxpayer money to deal with the illegal immigration crisis along the U.S.’s southern border. A GOP plan discussed Wednesday would provide less than half of the President’s requested funding (offset by budget cuts), increase border security and change U.S. immigration laws.

A key provision of the Republican plan would require changes to the 2008 anti-trafficking law that requires government officials to give special treatment to illegal immigrant children from Central America.

“We need to close the loophole in the current law that incentivizes trafficking and send a clear message to smuggling organizations while still maintaining all due process and legal protections for immigrants,” Representative Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) said in a statement.

House GOP lawmakers have introduced the proposals in hopes of passing border legislation before Congress leaves for a five-week recess set to begin July 31.

In addition to changing the trafficking law, the Republican plan would set aside $1.5 in spending to beef up immigration-related law enforcement and judicial resources. The GOP plan also provides a plan for National Guard deployment to strengthen security along the border.

The Republicans argue that their proposal, unlike Obama’s, includes a plan to deal with the crisis to coincide with increased government spending.

“What the President’s asking for is a blank check,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said after discussions with fellow Republicans. “Without trying to fix the problem, I don’t know how we’re in the position to give the President any more money.”

GOP lawmakers have expressed confidence that the bill will gain approval in the House.

Senate Democrats have offered up a competing plan that would provide $2.7 billion in increased border spending. Lawmakers on the left have also criticized the GOP plan, saying that they will block any immigration legislation that includes provisions to change the 6-year-old human trafficking law to make it easier to deport young illegal immigrants.

“The Democrats have children to protect and the Republicans have a crisis to exploit,” Representative Luis Guitérrez (D-Ill.) said of the GOP plan.

“Almost every Democrat I talk to says we should hold the line on the laws passed to protect children from sex-trafficking and smugglers. The Republicans seem to be divided between the ones who don’t think the money is necessary, the ones who want to weaken laws protecting children and the ones who want to deport all of the dreamers and other undocumented immigrants before we do anything else.”

Senate Democrats, along with the White House, are expected to heavily pressure House Republicans to provide more funding saddled with fewer stipulations ahead of the Congressional recess. But conservatives like Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are urging members of the GOP in the lower chamber to stand their ground.

Americans Feel Increasingly Divided, Fault Obama And Congressional GOP

American voters strongly believe that the Nation is more divided than it was just four years ago, according to the results of a recent poll.

Data out from Rasmussen reveals that 67 percent of likely U.S. voters feel that the Nation is more divided than it was just four years ago. That’s compared to a paltry 7 percent who feel the country is more unified and 21 percent who don’t think much has changed since 2010.

Among likely voters who feel a sense of division, blame is spread almost equally, if by predictably partisan lines, between President Obama (35 percent, 71 percent of Republicans) and Congressional Republicans (34 percent, 67 percent of Democrats).

According to the data, the sense of division has encouraged Americans to pay more attention to political current events.

“Forty-six percent (46%) say given the state of politics in America today, they are following political news more closely than they have in the past,” Rasmussen reports. “Fifteen percent (15%) are following political news less these days, while 39% say their level of attention to that kind of news is about the same. Republicans are following political news much more closely now than Democrats and unaffiliated voters are.”

Keeping up with the latest political news is also driving more Americans to seek change at the polls, perhaps in an effort to offset damage done by their low-information countrymen— 83 percent of those polled believe other Americans are ignorant in matters of political importance.

“Fifty-seven percent (57%) of all voters say they are more likely to vote this year than they have been in past elections,” Rasmussen says. “Only four percent (4%) say they are less likely to do so, while 38% rate their intention to vote as about the same as in past years.”

According to the data, likely voter turnout among Republicans (65 percent) and independents (55 percent) are both higher than the turnout expected for Democratic voters (53 percent). That could for vulnerable Senate Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections.

Report: Department Of Justice, Homeland Security Must Go On Offensive Against Growing Right-Wing Threat

The protesters and militia members who showed up to support rancher Cliven Bundy this spring when the Federal government confiscated his livestock because of unpaid grazing fees and desert tortoises belong to a “much larger and more dangerous” network of “radical right-wing extremists,” according to a report out from the once-purposeful Southern Poverty Law Center.

The SPLC claims that its mission is to combat “hate, intolerance and discrimination through education and litigation.” But in recent years, the organization spends most of its time promoting radical political correctness and insisting that modern conservatism is innately driven by hate. In its July 2014 report “War In The West: The Bundy Ranch Standoff and the American Radical Right,” SPLC goes to great trouble to insist that the most radical individuals present at the Bundy ranch are representative of all Americans who are out of step with the prevailing attitudes of the left.

According to the organization, American citizens protesting the Bureau of Land Management’s tactics in dealing with Bundy “invigorated an extremist movement that exploded when President Obama was elected, going from some 150 groups in 2008 to more than 1,000 last year.”

The organization argues in its executive summary:

For those harboring deep hatred of the federal government, the BLM pullout was seen as a dramatic victory, one instance where the armed radicals of the right stared through their own gunsights at the gun barrels of law enforcement officials and won. Rather than being condemned, their actions garnered the support of numerous politicians, including the governor of Nevada and commentators like Fox News’ Sean Hannity — a truly repulsive spectacle. This pandering to the far right by both politicians and media figures ended in a hurry, however, when Bundy engaged in racist blather about “the Negro.” Racism was crossing a line, apparently, but the calls from the ranch for revolution and outright defiance of federal law enforcement seemed to be just fine with the Hannitys of the world.

Of course, conservatives who championed some of Bundy’s anti-government attitudes would dial down support when he demonstrated ignorance. However, arguing to the SPLC that conservatism, respect for the Constitution and supporting the right of the people to challenge government aren’t racist ideals would be a fruitless endeavor.

“[W]e’ve seen an explosive growth of radical-right groups, including armed militias, since Obama was elected, and repeated threats that violence is needed to ‘take our country back’ from the ‘tyranny’ of Obama,” SPLC founder Morris Dees writes in another article on the organization’s website. “This is part of a backlash to the growing diversity in our country, as symbolized by the presence of a black man in the White House.”

In addition to its usual attempts to equate small government ideas to racism, the SPLC has taken another approach in its Bundy reporting: insinuating that anti-government views lead to homicidal tendencies.

Without knowing where Bundy’s armed supporters actually had their weapons trained during the standoff, the SPLC insists that each firearm was pointed at a Federal officer.

And although the standoff ended peacefully when BLM officers backed down, SPLC argues that the Bundy standoff did eventually lead to bloodshed.

From the report:

Writing on his blog hours after the standoff, Mike Vanderboegh, an aging government-hating propagandist from Alabama who heads the III Percent Patriots, characterized the standoff in grandiose terms. “It is impossible to overstate the importance of the victory won in the desert today,” he gushed. “The feds were routed — routed. There is no word that applies. Courage is contagious, defiance is contagious, victory is contagious. Yet the war is not over.”

Within weeks, that rhetoric appeared predictive as two people who had spent time on the Bundy ranch before reportedly being asked to leave went on a shooting spree in Las Vegas. On June 8, Jerad Miller and his wife Amanda entered a restaurant and killed two Las Vegas police officers before running into a nearby Wal-Mart and killing an armed civilian who tried to stop them. Witnesses say the couple shouted, “This is a revolution!” and draped one of the slain officer’s bodies with a Gadsden flag, a militia favorite that reads, “Don’t tread on me.”

Later, the report continues:

The Millers were only two of the hundreds of militia members, conspiracy theorists and other angry antigovernment extremists who responded to Bundy’s call for a “range war.”

Of course, the SPLC fails to note that Jerad Miller was also a felon and reported advocate of crystal meth use. Therefore, it’s very likely that his personal problems had more to do with his later actions than his time at Bundy’s ranch.

The bottom line from the SPLC is that if the Federal government doesn’t start taking a closer look at Americans who dare criticize or protest its actions, there will be more, increasingly violent, Bundy-style standoffs and more shooting rampages akin to the Millers’.

“The Bundy ranch standoff wasn’t a spontaneous response to Cliven Bundy’s predicament but rather a well-organized, military-type action that reflects the potential for violence from a much larger and more dangerous movement,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow in the SPLC’s Intelligence Project and lead author of the report, in a statement. “This incident may have faded from public view, but if our government doesn’t pay attention, we will be caught off guard as much as the Bureau of Land Management was that day.”

So what’s SPLC’s answer?

The report argues that Federal officials should put into place more mechanisms for monitoring America’s “far-right”:

The recent announcement by Attorney General Eric Holder that the Justice Department is reviving its Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee is welcome news. The committee was established after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and was instrumental in bringing swift prosecutions that stemmed the tide of hardcore antigovernment activity; it should never have been allowed to become moribund after the 9/11 attacks. The militiamen and others who pointed their weapons at BLM and Las Vegas officers need to face criminal prosecution because the rule of law must be enforced or it will be challenged again.

But swift prosecutions are only part of the answer. The Justice Department is a law enforcement agency, not an intelligence-gathering one. To help law enforcement at all levels, the Department of Homeland Security must put more resources into assessing the threat of non-Islamic domestic terrorism. The unit with the primary responsibility for that task was allowed to wither in the face of conservative criticism following the leak of a 2009 report on the resurgent threat from the far right. That, too, should never have been allowed to happen.

In essence, the SPLC believes that the Federal government must always be protected from the people because of a populist threat to some of its policies. Oddly enough, all of the Nation’s founding documents suggest that things ought to be the other way around.

Sunday News Show Roundup

Sunday’s political talk shows focused heavily on foreign policy, as guests discussed the ongoing crisis in Ukraine which was cast back into the headlines by the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the U.S.’s position on escalating tensions between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza.

Members of Congress, along with top officials from the Obama Administration, suggested that the Russian government likely played a role in the destruction of the Malaysian airliner.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union”, saying that Russia is ultimately to blame if the plane was shot down by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.

“The nexus between Russia and the separatists has been established very clearly,” Feinstein said.

“So the issue is: Where is Putin? I would say, Putin, you have to man up. You should talk to the world. You should say this was a mistake, which I hope it was,” the lawmaker continued.

Feinstein also said that she believes that the relationship between the U.S. and Russia is now back at Cold War levels.

Republican Representative Michael McCaul (Texas) and Peter King (New York) expressed similar sentiments, saying that the event will drastically alter U.S.-Russia relations.

Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to use his influence over rebels in Ukraine to aid the investigation into the events surrounding the plane crash.

“This is a moment of truth for Mr. Putin and for Russia,” he said. “Russia needs to step up and prove its bona fides, if there are any left, with respect to its willingness to put actions behind the words.”

During another of five Sunday appearances, Kerry told CNN that Ukrainian separatists have already tampered with the crash site.

“Today we have reports of drunken separatists piling the remains of people into trucks in an unceremonious fashion, actually removing them from the location. They are interfering with the evidence in the location. They have removed, we understand, some airplane parts,” Kerry said.

Kerry joined Fox News Sunday to discuss another pressing U.S. foreign policy concern in Gaza. The Secretary of State was caught on an open mic sarcastically discussing Israel’s tactics in the region with an aid.

Kerry was heard telling the aid that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to send troops to the region was “a hell of a pinpoint,” parroting a term used by Israeli officials explaining that the military response to Hamas is measured and targeted.

Fox’s Chris Wallace asked, based on Kerry’s remarks, if the official was “upset that the Israelis are going too far?”

“I think it’s very, very difficult in these situations,” he said. “You have people who come out of tunnels. You have a right to go in and take out those tunnels. We completely support that, and we support Israel’s right to defend itself against rockets that are, you know, continuing to come in. … So yeah, it’s tough, it’s tough to have this kind of operation, and I reacted, obviously, in a way that anybody does in respect to young children and civilians.”

On “State of the Union”, Netanyahu defended his nation’s actions.

“We have to protect ourselves. So we try to target the rocketeers. We do. And all civilian casualties are unintended by us, but intended by Hamas,” he said. “They want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can, because somebody said they use — it’s gruesome. They use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause. They want the more dead the better.”

Despite the turmoil unfolding throughout the world, on “Meet the Press” Kerry said that Americans should be proud of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy approach.

“[T]he facts could not be more clear. The United States of America has never been more engaged in helping to lead in more places than we are now. …” he said. “And I think the American people ought to be proud of what this president has done in terms of peaceful, diplomatic engagement, rather than quick-trigger, deploying troops, starting or engaging in a war of choice. I think the president’s on the right track and I think we have the facts to prove it.”

Meanwhile, Senator Lindsey Graham (S.C.), like many of his fellow Republicans, believes that the Secretary of State must be delusional.

“Secretary Kerry… gave the most ridiculous and delusional summary of American foreign policy that I can imagine. It scares me that he believes the world is in such good shape,” the Senator said. “America is the glue that holds the free world together. Leading from behind is not working. The world is adrift. President Obama has become the king of indecision.”

Harry Reid Criticizes GOP Plan Because Illegal Aliens Are Here ‘Legitimately’

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has made some ridiculous claims about the ongoing border crisis over the past week. On Tuesday, he told reporters that despite the thousands of illegal immigrants flowing into the country, he is certain the U.S.-Mexico border is secure. Reid then told fellow lawmakers that illegal immigrants who entered the country as minors did, in fact, come here legally.

Reid’s remarks came on the Senate floor Thursday in response to a demand from Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that the Barack Obama Administration make drastic changes to its immigration policy.

The Texas Republican has asked lawmakers to oppose Obama’s request for $3.7 billion in emergency funding to deal with the border crisis unless language is included in the appropriations bill to halt the President’s 2012 order halting deportations of the illegal immigrant minors affectionately called Dreamers by the White House.

”What is causing this humanitarian crisis is that these children believe that they will be granted, in the future, amnesty. So this legislation directly solves that problem,” Cruz told reporters Thursday. “The only way to address this humanitarian crisis and to solve it, so we don’t have children being brutalized, is to remove the promise of amnesty that is causing these children to risk their lives and be entrusted to vicious drug dealers.”

Reid took the lead in Democratic attacks on Cruz’s proposed end to Obama’s amnesty.

“Before Republicans help our Border Patrol agents and all the personnel trying to do something to handle this humanitarian crisis, they want President Obama to deport the Dreamers who are already here, legitimately here,” Reid said on the Senate floor.

“What the junior senator from Texas (Cruz) said (is) we’re not going to do this unless we deport all these children who came here before, the so-called Dreamers,” Reid continued. “Once again we see there are no substantive solutions being offered by the Republican Party. Instead of doing something about these children who are at the border, they want to deport hundreds of thousands of the people who are already here.”

The argument between the two lawmakers indicated that polarization in Congress is making it increasingly unlikely that a legislative fix to the immigration crisis is forthcoming. Unfortunately for conservatives, many Democratic lawmakers have begun hinting that the President will attempt to tackle the problem unilaterally — a move that would likely include amnesty for hundreds of thousands of the so-called Dreamers and their family members.

“It’s important to understand that the president made it very clear to the Hispanic Caucus yesterday that Congress is not acting,” California Democrat Tony Cardenas told MSNBC Wednesday. “He let Speaker Boehner know many, many months ago to please go ahead and do something. He has not done it. And now’s the time for the president to act, and the president’s going to act shortly.”

The lawmaker said the President will use his executive “legal authority and latitude” to “give people some kind of status to the 11 million who are waiting to get some relief.”

“Not all of them,” he continued. “The power of the President cannot relieve all 11 million. But there are categories of 500,000 or a million that he can give some kind of temporary status to.”

DEA Fed Crackhead’s Addiction To Catch Crackheads

Crack is wack, unless you happen to be a Federal dope peddler.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents working to clean up the streets of Las Vegas, N.M., decided that it would be a good idea to pay a recovering drug addict aiding them in an undercover investigation, a lawsuit filed in an Albuquerque district court alleges.

According to court documents filed on Monday, 38-year-old Aaron Romero, who agreed to work with the Feds in a DEA investigation dubbed “Operation Smack City” was given copious amounts of crack in return for his cooperation.

“The United States government and the defendants affirmatively and intentionally established a pattern of distribution of crack cocaine to (Romero) in order to utilize his addiction to crack cocaine to further the investigation and to ‘stack drug related charges’ against him,” the lawsuit alleges.

The Federal agents later charged Romero with drug distribution.

According to his attorneys, Romero’s drug distribution charges were dropped — but his addiction to crack persisted, thanks to the Federal government.

“He was targeted because he was a known drug addict,” his attorney Erlinda Ocampo Johnson said. “He is trying to get his life back together but he’s still afraid that the government will try to restart his addiction again.”

According to the lawsuit, agents deliberately repeatedly instructed an informant to contact Romero in 2011. At the time, after years of drug addiction had taken its toll, Romero was allegedly working to get his life together and repair relationships.

Via the lawsuit:

… [The informant]returned to Las Vegas, New Mexico and contacted Aaron to arrange for the acquisition of $40-$50 worth of Crack Cocaine in exchange for payment of Crack Cocaine to Aaron for consumption.

After consumption of the large amount of Crack Cocaine distributed to Aaron on  November 30, 2011 by the United States Government and the subsequent related relapse of addiction to Crack Cocaine, Aaron agreed to arrange for the acquisition of $40-$50 worth of Crack Cocaine in exchange for payment of Crack Cocaine to Aaron for consumption.

Consequently, this pattern of arrangement of the acquisition of $40-$50 worth of Crack Cocaine to ¼ ounce of Crack Cocaine for [the informant] in exchange for payment of Crack Cocaine to Aaron for consumption continued 2-3 times per week from early December 2011 through May 2012.

All the while, the Feds stacked charges against the drug addict as they manipulated him.

Romero named five DEA agents in the lawsuit, including two special agents, one group supervisor, an assistant agent-in-charge and the overall agent in charge. He is seeking $8.5 million in damages from the Federal government.

Romero’s case is only the latest in a string of reports of government agents manipulating vulnerable people and employing counterintuitive investigation tactics in targeting crime.

In December, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel printed a laundry listed of dubious tactics employed by another Federal law enforcement agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF):

■ ATF agents befriended mentally disabled people to drum up business and later arrested them in at least four cities in addition to Milwaukee. In Wichita, Kan., ATF agents referred to a man with a low IQ as “slow-headed” before deciding to secretly use him as a key cog in their sting. And agents in Albuquerque, N.M., gave a brain-damaged drug addict with little knowledge of weapons a “tutorial” on machine guns, hoping he could find them one.

■ Agents in several cities opened undercover gun- and drug-buying operations in safe zones near churches and schools, allowed juveniles to come in and play video games and teens to smoke marijuana, and provided alcohol to underage youths. In Portland, attorneys for three teens who were charged said a female agent dressed provocatively, flirted with the boys and encouraged them to bring drugs and weapons to the store to sell.

■ As they did in Milwaukee, agents in other cities offered sky-high prices for guns, leading suspects to buy firearms at stores and turn around and sell them to undercover agents for a quick profit. In other stings, agents ran fake pawnshops and readily bought stolen items, such as electronics and bikes — no questions asked — spurring burglaries and theft. In Atlanta, agents bought guns that had been stolen just hours earlier, several ripped off from police cars.

■ Agents damaged buildings they rented for their operations, tearing out walls and rewiring electricity — then stuck landlords with the repair bills. A property owner in Portland said agents removed a parking lot spotlight, damaging her new $30,000 roof and causing leaks, before they shut down the operation and disappeared without a way for her to contact them.

■ Agents pressed suspects for specific firearms that could fetch tougher penalties in court. They allowed felons to walk out of the stores armed with guns. In Wichita, agents suggested a felon take a shotgun, saw it off and bring it back — and provided instructions on how to do it. The sawed-off gun allowed them to charge the man with a more serious crime.

■ In Pensacola, the ATF hired a felon to run its pawnshop. The move widened the pool of potential targets, boosting arrest numbers. Even those trying to sell guns legally could be charged if they knowingly sold to a felon. The ATF’s pawnshop partner was later convicted of pointing a loaded gun at someone outside a bar. Instead of a stiff sentence typically handed down to repeat offenders in federal court, he got six months in jail — and a pat on the back from the prosecutor.

News Flash: Guns In America Have Triggers, Fire Projectiles

Rolling Stone magazine recently published a highly informative photo essay titled “The 5 Most Dangerous Guns In America” which lends further credence to the notion that those who most fear firearms are also those who know the least about them.

Kristen Gwynne, writing for the publication, cites “firearm trace data from the ATF, as well as FBI homicide records” to make an largely unscientific and entirely useless list of the top five guns that cause “the most harm” in America today.

“Contrary to what those who defend the right to own high-powered assault rifles believe, not all guns are created equal,” she writes in her introduction. “Due to a combination of availability, portability and criminal usage the following five types of guns are the country’s most dangerous.”

Here’s what she came up with—excerpts of her outstanding firearms knowledge included:

1) Pistols

Popular among handgun-owners, pistols are defined by their built-in barrel and short stock. They are the most commonly recovered firearm type reported by the ATF.

2) Revolvers

Revolvers, named for their rotating chambered cylinder, placed second in the ATF’s ranking of guns found at crime scenes more than 46,000 recovered in 2012, the most recent year for which statistics were kept.

Some grenade launchers, shotguns, and rifles also have rotating barrels, but the term “revolver” is generally used to describe handguns.

3) Rifles

Law enforcement agencies pulled more than 39,000 from crime scenes in 2012, firmly establishing this weapon — designed to be fired from the shoulder — in third place on the ATF’s trace list. Pulling the trigger of a rifle fires one projectile at the intended target, as opposed to the shotgun’s ability to spray. According to FBI latest publicly available homicide records, in 2012 rifles were used to murder more than 320 people.

4) Shotguns

Like rifles, shotguns are fired from the shoulder and may release a single projectile. Unlike rifles, however, one pull of a shotgun’s trigger may also spray the target with round pellets, or shot. Additionally, the explosive that creates the energy to fire the gun occurs in the fixed shell of a shotgun rather than the metallic cartridge of a rifle.

5) Derringers

Derringers, small pocket or palm-sized pistols with one or two barrels, have no strict legal definition, but are included in the ATF’s trace form as a category of firearm. With just more than 2,000 recoveries in 2012 — a small number compared to the other firearm types listed above, largely because it is a subset of the highly-popular pistol — derringers are the fifth most-cited firearm in crime scene recoveries.

Feel free to suffer the idiocy in its entirety here.

RS readers, it seems, aren’t as ignorant as the magazine’s writers. The comments on Gwynne’s piece are priceless:


Americans Haven’t Been This Worried About Immigration In Years

Polling data out Wednesday indicate that President Barack Obama and Congress ought to get busy coming up with a plan to fix the immigration crisis along the U.S.’s southern border, as one in six Americans cites immigration as the most pressing issue facing the Nation.

According to Gallup, 17 percent of Americans polled said that immigration is the biggest issue facing the United States, up from just 5 percent last month. The number of Americans concerned about illegal immigration is the highest it’s been since 2006.

Gallup contends that concern over immigration will likely grow in coming months.

“…[I]mmigration has clearly captured public attention given the political and humanitarian crisis building at the border with the influx of thousands of children from Central and South America seeking refugee status,” Gallup’s Lydia Saad writes.

“Each previous spike in mentions of immigration as the nation’s top problem was fairly short-lived,” she continues. “But with no solution to the current crisis in sight, and less than four months to go before the midterm elections, it is easy to believe the issue could still be a factor come November.”

Indeed, a government solution to the current immigration crisis isn’t likely to come anytime soon as GOP lawmakers have not warmed to President Obama’s $3.7 billion proposal to deal with the crisis at the border. And many Democrats have balked at bipartisan legislation proposed by Representative John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Representative Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) which changes a 2008 anti-human trafficking law to make it easier to deport some of the illegal minors flowing into the country.

The growing immigration frustration could be good news for Republicans in November, according to Gallup, because “the issue is of particular concern to Republicans and older Americans — both groups that Republicans need to turn out in force in the midterms…”

Worry over immigration is closely followed by what caused the border crisis in the first place: government ineptitude.

Sixteen percent of respondents cited “dissatisfaction with government/ Congress/ politicians/ Poor leadership/ Corruption/ Abuse of power” as their primary concern. Next on the list is the economy, with 15 percent of respondents fretting over fiscal issues.

Why Focus On LGBT Issues When That Affects Less Than 3 Percent Of Americans?

The Barack Obama Administration has gone out of its way to express support for Americans who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. But according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Administration’s focus on all things LGBT may be overblown, considering that Americans identifying as such make up less than 3 percent of the population.

According to the CDC’s annual National Health Interview Survey, only 1.6 percent of American adults self-identify as gay or lesbian and just 0.7 percent consider themselves bisexual. Just more than1 percent declined to answer, answered “I don’t know the answer” or claimed to be “something else.”

Meanwhile, 96.6 percent of American adults said they are straight.

The CDC survey offers the first large-scale measure of American sexual orientation and will serve as a way to determine where government funding should be allocated in examining LGBT issues.

NHIS includes a wide range of survey questions on health, the addition of questions on sexual orientation will facilitate many opportunities for future researchers to examine health among sexual minority populations using a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults,” the report said.

The LGBT data was included in the CDC survey as the result of a promise made by Obama Administration Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius in 2011.

The Administration has heavily focused on LGBT issues, most notably with the Obama’s February 2011 order that the Department of Justice no longer defend Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) against equal protection constitutional challenges brought by same-sex couples and his repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.