Wednesday Morning News Roundup

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

 

 

 

 

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook.

Washington Post: Is Top Brass Too Pampered?

In the wake of a sex scandal that has brought to light the decadence of the lifestyles of America’s highest command of military and intelligence officers, The Washington Post has published an article calling into question the lavish lifestyles of the Nation’s four-star generals.

The article outlines how it often becomes possible for the military’s top commanders — many of whom enjoy lifestyles akin to the living arrangements of billionaires with chartered jets, gourmet chefs and servants at home — to forget what life is like for regular people and especially those living the modest lifestyles of lower-ranking service members.

“Being a four-star commander in a combat theater is like being a combination of Bill Gates and Jay-Z — with enormous firepower added,” Thomas E. Ricks, author of The Generals, a recently published history of American commanders, told The Post.

But many retired top brass defend the kickbacks afforded to America’s military command, citing 18-hour work days filled with massive amounts of stress combined with having to balance budgets higher than those of many small countries.

Republicans Rally Against Susan Rice

Republican lawmakers rallied en masse this week against the potential of President Barack Obama nominating United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice as Secretary of State because of her involvement in the Benghazi, Libya terror-attack scandal.

The letter, signed by 97 House Republicans, says that Rice’s  actions in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attack raise serious questions about her credibility and ability to hold a position of such power as Secretary of State.

“Though Ambassador Rice has been our Representative to the U.N., we believe her misleading statements over the days and weeks following the attack on our embassy in Libya that led to the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans caused irreparable damage to her credibility both at home and around the world,” they wrote in their letter, led by Representative Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.).

Though the Senate, not the House, would have the last word on confirmation if Obama did opt to nominate Rice, House Republicans have allies in Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham R-S.C.), who have vowed to block the nomination.

Contrarian Professor Attacked For Rejecting Racial Conventional Wisdom

California State University Long Beach professor Kevin MacDonald has come under fire, being called a white supremacist and neo-Nazi, for arguing that white people should have the same ability to pursue their interests as minorities.

MacDonald is a psychology professor at the college as well as the leader of the American Third Position (A3P), a political party that opposes immigration.

On its website A3P states:

The American Third Position is a patriotic, democratic alternative to the two parties that have wrecked our great nation. The U.S. political system has been shaped by the corrupt, entrenched, nearly identical Democrat and Republican machines. They are united in their ruthless suppression of all “third” parties.

Parts of our beautiful country now resemble Third World communities in Latin America, Africa and Asia. White people are already a minority in many cities and counties, along with several states, both large and small. Without constructive political action, within a few decades we will become a minority across the entire country. Enough is enough!

The American Third Position Party believes that government policy in the United States discriminates against white Americans, the majority population, and that white Americans need their own political party to fight this discrimination. Our government no longer represents us. The Democrats no longer represent us. The Republicans no longer represent us. There is a real need to educate European Americans that they have common interests, common values, and common traditions.

MacDonald’s prosecution for his beliefs that white Americans (who he says will be a minority by 2045) should have groups working in their best interests has led to attempts to have him fired from his job and students boycotting his classes.

“There’s the NAACP for black people, the ADL for Jewish-Americans, but the very thought that white people have identity and should be able to organize to pursue their interests as white people is off the map, and anyone who talks that way they will try to fire them,” MacDonald said in a recent interview.

His beliefs in white advocacy has made his ideas popular with some white supremacists and hate groups, though the professor contends that he is not espousing hate, but rather wishes to preserve white society.

Unfortunately for MacDonald, groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Anti-Defamation League — both have been described as extremely intolerant of views not in line with their own — have led an assault against the professor to portray him as a man who justifies slavery and genocide.

SPLC even relished in harming the man’s teaching career in a bio on its website:

Kevin MacDonald is the neo-Nazi movement’s favorite academic. A psychology professor at California State University, Long Beach, MacDonald, who also is a board member of the white supremacist Charles Martel Society, published a trilogy that supposedly “proves” that Jews are genetically driven to destroy Western societies. MacDonald also argues that anti-Semitism, far from being an irrational hatred for Jews, is a logical reaction to Jewish success in societies controlled by other ethnic or racial groups. After the publication of a 2007 Intelligence Report exposé detailing MacDonald’s anti-Semitism, his teaching duties were reduced and many of his colleagues publicly condemned his racist research.

Reading some of MacDonald’s writings offers a far less sensational portrait than anti-hate, hate groups like SPLC or ADL would have one believe. The academic’s biggest crime, it seems, is taking a contrarian academic view on issues that were long ago hijacked by the political-correctness movement. While many of MacDonald’s views may not be popular, they are far less dangerous than the free-speech chilling tactics undertaken by his detractors at SPLC and ADL.

There is a much larger philosophical debate to be had, because some questions grow louder and louder each day: How much power do we give those with the monopoly on righteousness? And who will they be?

Tuesday Morning News Roundup

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

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook.

Senators Urge Obama Keystone XL Action

A bipartisan group of Senators is calling on President Barack Obama to meet with them in “the near future” to discuss moving forward with the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

In a letter, the 18 Senators implore the President to consider the thousands of jobs the pipeline project would create for Americans, as well as the impact on American energy security.

The Senators write:

Setting politics aside: Nothing has changed about the thousands of jobs that Keystone XL will create. Nothing has changed about the energy security to be gained through an important addition to the existing pipeline network built with sound environmental stewardship and the best modern technology. Nothing has changed about the security to be gained from using more fuel produced at home and by a close and stable ally. And nothing has changed about the need for America to remain a place where businesses can still build things

Discussing Obama’s directive last spring (which allowed Nebraska to move forward in some work on the pipeline), the Senators said the State route is near completion and the President should issue a permit to allow the rest of the project to move forward.

The state of Nebraska is nearing completion of the new pipeline route within Nebraska. With that process near completion, we look forward to an affirmative determination of national interest soon.

We then urge you to issue a Presidential Permit immediately afterward.

Signatories of the letter include Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), David Vitter (R-La.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.).

Another Botched FBI Raid Nearly Kills Unarmed Family

Last week, an FBI raid of a suburban Maryland home left an 18-year-old woman wounded when agents burst through her door to execute a warrant before opening fire on the unarmed inhabitants of the home.

Members of the Hughley family said that agents swarmed their George’s County home at 6 a.m. last Thursday. The FBI’s Washington field office has yet to specify what the warrant was for.

When the agents entered the home forcibly in full riot gear, homeowner Emory Hughley said that one agent allegedly felt threatened by his 18-year-old daughter who was clad only in a sleep shirt. According to the resident, the agent then opened fire at least seven times putting multiple holes in the brick wall behind his daughter and barely missing her head.

“I’m shouting ‘Nobody is armed, nobody has a gun!’ and then all of a sudden I heard ‘She’s got a gun!’ and they just opened fire,” he told ABC 7.

His daughter was treated for a minor wound and released from a local hospital.

“I’ve got eight holes in my wall. One bullet went past my head, almost hit me, ricocheted off my brick wall and some of the shrap metal hit my little daughter in the back of her neck, all for nothing.” said Hughley.

Hughley’s neighbors told reporters that they could not imagine any reason for the family to be raided by the FBI.

Facial Recognition Surveillance Is Coming

Facial recognition software, a major privacy concern for many people, is here to stay. And it looks as though the software is going to become a mainstay of law enforcement agencies throughout the Nation.

According to a report by RT, facial recognition software created by a company called FaceFirst, a division of Airborne Biometrics Group of Camarillo, Calif., is already in use in San Diego. FaceFirst boasts that the software is capable of identifying anyone, as long as the police have a facial profile in their database.

The software is similar to that which is being popularized by a smartphone-based system that allows shoppers to be identified when they enter certain retail establishments. The system then issues discounts and deals on merchandise.

On FaceFirst’s website, the company boasts that not only can it issue deals, but it can also identify possible shoplifters by matching their faces with past arrest records.

From the site:

Our military-grade technology targets (or identifies) individuals with prior arrest records or persons who may not necessarily have been previously arrested. These can be individuals suspected, or on the users internal watch or ban list when they enter your store. Suspects photographed by our high-speed face-tracking video camera are automatically matched with watch list photos. Alerts are instantly sent directly to cash registers, cell phones and/or computers.

Your loss prevention department can monitor the suspects’ movements, or ask them to leave the premises before a criminal act is committed. Staff can also take cell phone photos of suspected offenders and receive a confirming match in seconds.

Similarly, law enforcement agencies throughout California are currently working to integrate FaceFirst into public surveillance systems, which could possibly lead to increased scrutiny of pedestrians with prior arrest records as they traverse public areas.

Monday Morning News Roundup

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

  • A gun shop owner in Arizona doesn’t want any supporters of President Barack Obama shopping at his store. A sign at the door reads: “If you voted for Obama, please turn around and leave! You have proven you are not responsible enough to own a firearm.”
  • The European Union is facing even more financial trouble. A summit planned for this week to work out a long-term trillion-euro budget looks doomed for failure.
  • “Shadow banking,” a system of international banking which is largely out of reach of regulators grew to a new high of $67 trillion globally last year. Some have blamed “shadow banking” for the recent economic crises.

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook.

Rand Paul Continues Indefinite Detention Fight

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) filibustered a vote on the Defense Authorization Act in an attempt to get Congress to vote on his amendment affirming the Constitution’s 6th Amendment to ensure Americans are protected against indefinite military detention.

The Paul Amendment would ensure that any American citizen being held by the military is granted the right of trial by a jury of peers and the right to confront witnesses against him.

“A citizen of the United States who is captured or arrested in the United States and detained by the Armed Forces of the United States pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40) shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense,” the amendment states.

The Senator came under fire from Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) who said the legislative body wanted to clear the Defense Authorization Act, S. 3254, before Congress breaks for Thanksgiving.

“[Republicans] say they want to move to the defense authorization bill, so I said yesterday, fine, let’s move to it,” Reid said on the floor last week. “But my friends can’t take ‘yes’ for an answer.

“[Democrats are] not the cause for why the defense authorization bill is not being brought to the floor.”