Nat Geo Producer: John Wilkes Booth Poster Child For Tea Party

Promoting an upcoming television movie based on Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Lincoln,” National Geographic Executive Producer Erik Jendresen said that he believes infamous assassin John Wilkes Booth “could be the poster child for the Tea Party.”

Jendresen stressed that Booth did not kill President Abraham Lincoln in an act of random madness, but for political reasons. Booth, a member of the anti-immigrant “Know-Nothing” political party, held political beliefs that were fairly common for the period. Jendresen said that the views are still popular with a number of Americans today, namely members of the Tea Party.

“This is not the act of somebody who can be easily dismissed as a psychopath so that it’s easy to understand: ‘Oh, well, he was crazy.’ No. It’s more disturbing to find out who Booth was,” Jendresen said, according to The Wrap. “This is a man who believed what still probably 20 percent of this country still believes. He could be a poster child for the Tea Party.”

Jendresen later continued, “I think that if you look at the sort of politics of the time, and a lot of the epithets that were being hurled at Lincoln, there was a feeling in the nation that’s not dissimilar from what we’ve experienced in the past four years in response to Barack Obama – the sense of an imperial presidency or soundbytes about somebody who’s going to proclaim himself king and take over.

“It’s stunning to me to read some of the newspaper articles and some of the interviews of the time, some of the contents of the letters and memoirs from the time and some of the things that were thought about Lincoln in the South are so similar to … the dialogue today.”

National Geographic drew criticism from many Republicans and Tea Party members when it aired the film “Seal Team Six,” which highlighted President Obama’s role in the killing of Osama bin Laden, two days before the Presidential election.

Monday Morning News Roundup 1-7-2013

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

  • This will make people who object to the police state happy. A Federal appeals court in New York said Thursday a man’s lawsuit for his arrest after displaying his extended middle finger to a police officer can go forward.
  • Grassroots Tea Party movement leaders are saying Republicans may pay a price for their votes on the “fiscal cliff” deal.
  • The U.S. Department of State says Hillary Clinton is in good health and will testify on the Sept. 11 Benghazi, Libya, terror attacks after all.
  • Google chairman Eric Schmidt arrived in North Korea for a private visit aimed at gaining a firsthand look at the communist nation’s economy and social media, his delegation said Monday.

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

2013 NDAA Still A Threat To Americans

Earlier this week, President Barack Obama signed the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, a bill that keeps Guantanamo Bay open and indefinite detention of American citizens a prospect.

This year’s NDAA also authorizes funding for the war in Afghanistan, tightens sanctions against Iran, funds Special Forces and boosts security at diplomatic posts abroad in response to the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in September.

The President, in a signing statement, expressed regret for provisions keeping Guantanamo open.

“I continue to oppose this provision, which substitutes the Congress’s blanket political determination for careful and fact-based determinations, made by counterterrorism and law enforcement professionals, of when and where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees,” Obama wrote.

“This provision would, under certain circumstances, violate constitutional separation of powers principles. In the event that these statutory restrictions operate in a manner that violates constitutional separation of powers principles, my administration will implement them in a manner that avoids the constitutional conflict,” he added.

While Congress added a provision, Sec. 1029, asserting that “any person inside the United States” is allowed his Constitutional rights, including habeas corpus as a fix for the indefinite detention provision, critics are less than impressed.

“Saying that new language somehow ensures the right to habeas corpus — the right to be presented before a judge — is both questionable and not enough. Citizens must not only be formally charged but also receive jury trials and the other protections our Constitution guarantees. Habeas corpus is simply the beginning of due process. It is by no means the whole,” Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said.

The American Civil Liberties Union also criticized the Obama-approved bill.

“His signature means indefinite detention without charge or trial, as well as the illegal military commissions, will be extended,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero. “He also has jeopardized his ability to close Guantanamo during his presidency. Scores of men who have already been held for nearly 11 years without being charged with a crime — including more than 80 who have been cleared for transfer — may very well be imprisoned unfairly for yet another year. The president should use whatever discretion he has in the law to order many of the detainees transferred home, and finally step up next year to close Guantanamo and bring a definite end to indefinite detention.”

America’s Mainstream Personal Fable

As political idiocy and economic folly continue to become more the norm in the United States than reason, logic and freedom, one question continues to get harder and harder to answer: What makes us so special in America?

At some point in the Nation’s early history, revolutionary spirit would have been a sound answer. Later — around the time of Alexis de Tocqueville’s visit to the country — laws, freedoms, overwhelming civic responsibility and entrepreneurial vigor were all good answers.

The Nation has been through many hard times, tragedies and embarrassments over the past 237 years. There were times when the Nation seemed doomed and pulled through, and there were times of great prosperity. Much of the Nation’s success — despite some recent opinions to the contrary — can be attributed to its revolutionary roots and the foresight ingrained in its founding documents.

But the Nation is young. Perhaps it could even be correctly personified as adolescent in the grand historical scheme. As anyone with teenage children or who has ever looked back on their own adolescence with the wisdom of a few more years will tell you, adolescence is often a time of reckless abandon and great change.

There is a psychological term associated with adolescence that applies nicely to the mindset of mainstream America today. “Personal fable” is a common teen belief that arises from adolescent egocentrism. It is the adolescent’s belief that he or she is highly special and unlike anyone else who has ever walked the Earth. The adolescent living out a personal fable believes others are so obviously fascinated by him (adolescent egocentrism) that he must be a unique individual (the personal fable).

One great example of America’s collective personal fable arises in the recently feverish debate over gun control in the United States. After a bloody Revolution against a tyrannical ruling force, America’s Founding Fathers felt it proper to include in the Nation’s supreme law a provision allowing every American citizen to arm himself. The 2nd Amendment says nothing about hunting, self-defense, sport shooting or muskets. But it states its purpose quite expressly:

A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Gun control advocates never mention the necessity of firearms to the security of a free state. They argue that Americans have a standing army, police, civilized society and courts to ensure the state of freedom. But they fail to realize that the right to bear arms is not an outdated addendum to those previously mentioned markers of our modern civil society, but rather a last line of defense should they fail — or, worse, should they be used with malevolent intent by those in charge.

Slate magazine crime blogger Justin Peters outlined the mindset of the common anti-assault weapon crusader in a recent piece about the usefulness of the AR-15 as a hunting or home defense weapon:

But the guns also appeal to another demographic that doesn’t get nearly as much press—paranoid survivalists who worry about having to fend off thieves and trespassers in the event of disaster. Online shooting message boards are rife with references to potential “SHTF scenarios,” where SHTF stands for “shit hits the fan”—governmental collapse, societal breakdown. (Adam Lanza’s mother, Nancy Lanza, has been described as “a gun-hoarding survivalist who was stockpiling weapons in preparation for an economic collapse.”) An article on ar15.com titled “The Ideal Rifle” notes that “the threats from crime, terrorism, natural disaster, and weapons of mass destruction are real. If something were to happen today, you would need to have made a decision about the rifle you would select and be prepared for such an event. So the need to select a ‘survival’ rifle is real. Selecting a single ‘ideal rifle’ is not easy. The AR-15 series of rifles comes out ahead when compared to everything else.” Depending on where you live, it’s perfectly legal to stockpile weapons to use in the event of Armageddon. But that’s a far different argument than the ones firearms advocates have been using since the Newtown shootings.

Peters is right when he writes that firearms advocates haven’t made the proper case for the vitality of American assault weapon ownership. The National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups have stuck to the argument that assault weapons are good for hunting and home defense, with hardly a mention of the 2nd Amendment. They can’t make the proper case for the 2nd Amendment, because the personal fable mindset of a majority of the population simply won’t have it.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana

While madmen in the United States may have taken a few hundred lives with guns in America over the past century, the world’s rulers — which some lawmakers say have the monopoly on legitimate violence — were splattered with the blood of 260 million human beings in the 20th century alone. They are poised to murder billions more in the 21st century.

Here are three infamous mass killers of the last century:

Adolf Hitler — Death Toll: Nearly 20 Million 

“The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty. So let’s not have any native militia or native police. German troops alone will bear the sole responsibility for the maintenance of law and order throughout the occupied Russian territories, and a system of military strong-points must be evolved to cover the entire occupied country.”

Nazi Germany established gun control in 1938.

Joseph Stalin — Death Toll: 61,911,000

“If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves.”

In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control.

Mao Tze Tung — Death Toll: 35,236,000

“All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party.”

China established gun control in 1935.

The American condition is fragile and changing all too rapidly. The “it could never happen here” mindset has, quite unfortunately, led many Americans to mistake patriotism and citizenship for all out support of the ruling class. And government in the United States has repaid its citizenry by installing a massive surveillance/police apparatus, methods by which it may circumvent courts and prosecute or kill citizens, and virtually all of the power it needs to do anything it wishes. Americans have gleefully allowed this to happen with hopes of becoming safer and more comfortable. If it weren’t for the adolescence of our Nation and the personal fable mindset to which we subscribe, we might recognize that these things have happened before and it is our Constitution which has protected the Nation from the same events thus far.

Thursday Morning News Roundup 1-3-13

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.

  • As gun grabbers plan for an all-out assault on the 2nd Amendment, the FBI reports that December set a new record for gun-purchase background checks.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who was expected to be re-elected easily in an election this month — is plummeting in polls after a series of embarrassing publicity flops following his decision to merge with Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party.
  • Police State alert: An 18-year-old man was jailed in Brevard County, Fla., after being accused of stuffing a $1.29 Iced Honey Bun down his pants and leaving a store.
  • Happy New Year to the additional 372,000 Americans who filed new jobless claims this week. 2013 is sure to be another year of American economic malaise.

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

Anti-Gun Newspaper Hires Armed Security

The New York news organization that recently published a list of names and addresses of pistol permit holders in its locale has, in response to a torrent of angry phone calls and email, hired armed guards to defend its offices.

The Journal News elicited national controversy when it released an interactive map of pistol permit holders’ names and addresses in Rockland and Westchester counties on Dec. 23. The newspaper’s editors said they believe knowing where guns are located is a matter of public interest. The newspaper also took a strong editorial position in favor of strict gun control.

But following a barrage of angry phone calls and emails from gun owners that felt they were lampooned in the news for owning firearms as if they were sex offenders, the anti-gun publication felt the need to hire armed guards to protect its offices.

From another local publication, the Rockland County Times:

Guns are good for the goose but NOT for the gander.

A Clarkstown police report issued on December 28, 2012, confirmed that The Journal News has hired armed security guards from New City-based RGA Investigations and that they are manning the newspaper’s Rockland County headquarters at 1 Crosfield Ave., West Nyack, through at least tomorrow, Wednesday, January 2, 2013.

Meanwhile, despite anti-gun campaigning from media outlets like The Journal News and a number of politicians, the FBI reports that the number of background checks for gun purchases in America hit a new record in December.

Shelby: GOP Will Regret Fiscal Cliff Deal

Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said Wednesday that the United States is “headed down the road that Europe’s already on” in reflection of the Senate’s fiscal cliff offer.

Shelby is one of eight lawmakers from both sides of the aisle that rallied against the fiscal cliff deal put together by the Senate. The deal extends George W. Bush-era tax cuts for families making less than $450,000 a year and wards off sequestration for another two months. What it fails to address, however, is a plan to cut debt or entitlement spending.

“I [would have liked] to see a grand bargain,” Shelby told Fox and Friends. “And I believe you never know — if we would have held out, maybe it would have done something. The pressure was building on the president to do something. He certainly doesn’t want us to go into recession. But we need fundamental tax reform. We need to reform our entitlements. We need to look at the spending ledger.”

The Senator was joined in voting against the measure by Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tom Carper (D-Dela.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).

Republicans who voted for the fiscal cliff deal, Shelby said, made a big mistake and will “rue the day.” He said he was proud of those lawmakers that stood with him in opposition.

Paul, in a statement before the fiscal cliff vote, outlined why he would note “nay”: “It’s impossible to get to any deal on the fiscal cliff when Majority Leader Reid and President Obama refuse to consider meaningful cuts in spending. They are demanding we raise taxes on working families and small businesses — and worse — using these tax increases for more government spending.

“Sending more taxpayer dollars to Washington isn’t the solution to this situation; cutting wasteful government spending and enabling Americans to keep more of their own money is.”

The fiscal cliff bill moved on to the House Tuesday for consideration and passed 257-167. Congress will now shift focus to its next looming crises and opportunity for political theater: the debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner submitted a letter to Congress on Monday saying he had begun a “debt issuance suspension period” that would last through Feb. 28. The Department of the Treasury will employ a series of “extraordinary measures” so it does not exceed the debt limit before lawmakers work out a deal. The debt limit is currently set at $16.394 trillion.

Wednesday Morning News Roundup 1-2-2013

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

 

  • According to the Congressional Budget Office, the last-minute fiscal cliff deal reached by congressional leaders and President Barack Obama cuts only $15 billion in spending while increasing tax revenues by $620 billion—a 41:1 ratio of tax increases to spending cuts.

 

 

 

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

Americans Aren’t Using Their Vacation Days, But Want More

A new study of American workers shows that most would like to have more vacation days from work, but a majority of them don’t even use all of the days they already have by the end of the year.

Research from Adecco Staffing USA shows that 75 percent of employees had yet to take all of the vacation days allotted to them by their employers as of November. But 40 percent of those surveyed said they would like one or two additional weeks off, and about 25 percent of the respondents said they would like to have three or more additional weeks of vacation time.

“It’s interesting that many workers are not taking advantage of their available vacation days for the year, yet are hungry for more time off,” said Joyce Russell of Adecco Staffing.

According to the study, the stockpiling of vacation time comes most often from workers using sick days or other paid time off as vacation time and saving the actual vacation days for other situations when they may be needed.

About half of employees surveyed admit to using their sick days as “vacation” days, and 27 percent have used jury duty days as vacation time. Also, 26 percent reported using bereavement days as vacation days.

Gun Sales Up, Crime Down

Gun sales are up in California and, contrary to what politicians and the media say, gun deaths and injuries in the State are down sharply.

Firearm dealers in California sold 600,000 guns in 2011, almost double the number sold in 2002. Over the same period of time, hospitalizations due to gun injuries declined from about 4,000 annually to 2,900, a roughly 25 percent drop, according to The Sacramento Bee.

Health records from the State also indicate that there was an 11 percent drop in firearm-related fatalities, which fell from about 3,200 annually to about 2,800.

What is happening in California also appears to be playing out on a national scale.

The FBI reported a record number of background checks (16.5 million) were conducted in 2011 for individuals who were purchasing firearms. During the same year, FBI numbers showed a 4 percent decrease in violent crime throughout the Nation.

Gun control has become one of the Nation’s hottest topics following the tragic murders of elementary school students in Connecticut last month. President Barack Obama has vowed to use the full power of his office to make stricter gun laws during his second term, and a handful of liberal lawmakers are preparing bills that include draconian gun-control measures.

Crime Increasing In America’s Suburbs

Amid an overall national decline in homicides, murders in the suburbs and other areas not traditionally associated with high rates of violent crime are on the rise.

This, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal, is the result of criminals looking for easier targets outside inner-city areas where police presence has increased in recent years.

“They just shifted their operations,” Craig Steckler, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, told WSJ.

The report indicates that about 25 percent of all homicides in the United States occur in suburban areas, up from around 20.7 percent in 2001.

According to a Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics study of the most recent data, there was a 16.7 percent drop in homicides in big cities due largely to aggressive police patrols in cities like New York and Los Angeles. But during the same period, homicides rose 16.9 percent in their outlying suburbs.

Gun Sales Soaring

Demand for assault rifles in the United States has increased tremendously as politicians’ knee-jerk reactions to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School threaten Americans’ right to bear arms.

Last month, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced that she will introduce legislation early in 2013 that will essentially criminalize millions of law-abiding American gun owners. Harsh provisions in her legislation and bills being drafted by other lawmakers have Americans in a mad dash to buy firearms, particularly those deemed “assault rifles.”

“Our phones are ringing every 10 seconds and people are saying, ‘Do you have any assault rifles?’” Dennis Pratte, owner of My Gun Factory in Falls Church, Va., told CNN Money. “They’ve sold out of just about every gun shop nationwide and just about every distributor is out of stock.”

Reports from around the Nation indicate that community gun sellers are experiencing a healthy uptick in business and many online retailers are out of stock on various high capacity magazines, assault rifles and popular ammunition.

A report from the North Carolina based Hickory Record is indicative of what is happening at gun shops throughout the country:

Scott Ledford, who operates Ledford’s Trading Post, said, “We’re getting 20 calls a day looking for AR-15s and AK-47s, SKSs and that kind of thing, and we just don’t carry that.” His shop specializes in antique and collectable weapons, but he said even he has seen an increase in ammunition sales…

…Smitty Smith works at Catawba Valley Tactical Supply in Newton. The store is waiting to receive its Federal Firearms License, so it does not currently sell firearms, but it does sell ammunition. When asked if he had seen an increase in ammunition sales over the past two weeks, Smith laughed and said it wasn’t a matter of an increase in sales, but rather a matter of a total wipeout of supply. “There’s no .223 ammo out there,” he said.

Catawba Valley Tactical Supply had been selling 1,000-round boxes of .223-caliber ammunition for $450, Smith said. His supply has run out and now customers who are able to find .223-caliber rounds are paying at least double what they would have paid two weeks ago. Ellizondo said the price of a 1,000-round box of .223-caliber ammunition at the gun show was around $1,200.

Brownells Inc., a supplier of firearms accessories and gunsmithing tools, said that demand in recent weeks has been so high that at one point the company sold 3.5 years’ worth of stocked ammunition and magazines in a 72-hour period.

Monday Morning News Roundup 12-31-2012

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.

 

  • Civil rights campaigners voiced dismay on Friday over the Senate’s re-authorization of the government’s warrantless surveillance program and the defeat of two amendments that would have provided for basic oversight of the eavesdropping.

 

  • President Barack Obama on Sunday said he would make gun control a priority in his new term, pledging to put his “full weight” behind passing new restrictions on firearms in 2013.

 

  • The OPEC oil cartel, led by Saudi Arabia, will pocket a record of more than $1 trillion in net oil revenues in 2012 as the annual average price for Brent, the benchmark, heads to an all-time high in spite of weak economic growth.

 

  • World shares were steady on Monday, but set to end the year up 13 percent, as U.S. politicians prepared for last-minute talks to avoid a fiscal crunch of spending cuts and tax hikes that could drag down the world economy in 2013.

 

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

Nadler: Government Has Monopoly On Violence, Not People

Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) recently told a reporter for CNS that he essentially believes the exact opposite of what the 2nd Amendment says.

The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution states: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Nadler said at press conference on Capitol Hill earlier this month that he wants to ban future sales of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. The lawmaker said he would also like to take it one step further than many of his colleagues by enabling the government to confiscate high capacity clips already legally possessed by American citizens.

Nadler told CNS: “Now, the fact of the matter is that Germany has 150 or so people killed a year with guns; Canada, 170; the United States 9,000 to 10,000 a year. We have a murder rate with guns that are 15 to 20 times higher than any other industrialized country. There’s only one explanation and that’s the availability, the easy availability of assault weapons and of high-capacity clips.”

But while Nadler does want to do his part to put an end to all of the senseless killing, he also wants the government to continue in its ability to kill, maim or imprison anyone it likes. Nadler calls it “legitimate violence.”

When asked by the reporter if the military should continue to have high capacity magazines, Nadler said: “One of the definitions of a nation state is that the state has a monopoly on legitimate violence. And the state ought to have a monopoly on legitimate violence.”

“If the premise of your question is that people are going to resist a tyrannical government by shooting machine guns at American troops, that’s insane,” he said.

The Gun Control Debate Continues

Last week, there was a huge amount of media coverage of the gun-control debate that has gripped the Nation in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy. The emotionally charged national conversation has been chock full of harsh knee-jerk gun control proposals from the left.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced recently that she will introduce legislation early in 2013 that will essentially criminalize millions of law-abiding American gun owners.

A summary of the legislation posted on the Senator’s website is as follows:

  • Bans the sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing of:
    • 120 specifically-named firearms;
    • Certain other semiautomatic rifles, handguns, shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one or more military characteristics; and
    • Semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds.
  • Strengthens the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and various state bans by:
    • Moving from a 2-characteristic test to a 1-characteristic test;
    • Eliminating the easy-to-remove bayonet mounts and flash suppressors from the characteristics test; and
    • Banning firearms with “thumbhole stocks” and “bullet buttons” to address attempts to “work around” prior bans.
  • Bans large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.
  • Protects legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners by:
    • Grandfathering weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment;
    • Exempting over 900 specifically-named weapons used for hunting or sporting purposes; and
    • Exempting antique, manually-operated, and permanently disabled weapons.
  • Requires that grandfathered weapons be registered under the National Firearms Act, to include:
    • Background check of owner and any transferee;
    • Type and serial number of the firearm;
    • Positive identification, including photograph and fingerprint;
    • Certification from local law enforcement of identity and that possession would not violate State or local law; and
    • Dedicated funding for ATF to implement registration.

Feinstein, who co-introduced the original assault weapons ban in 1994, is “going for broke” with her 2012 version, according to the National Rifle Association. The bill would classify three rifles that are decades old and extremely popular throughout the Nation as assault rifles: the M1 Carbine, a model of the Ruger Mini-14 and virtually any variation of the SKS.

The bill would ban any firearm with a fixed magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds (except for tubular-magazine .22s), threaded barrels on handguns and any semiautomatic, centerfire or rimfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches.

The NRA points out that Feinstein’s bill would also open the possibility of government prosecution of firearm enthusiasts who don’t even break her harsh anti-2nd Amendment law:

Whereas the 1994 ban protected gun owners from errant prosecution by making the government prove when a magazine was made, the new ban includes no such protection. The new ban also requires firearm dealers to certify the date of manufacture of any >10-round magazine sold, a virtually impossible task, given that virtually no magazines are stamped with their date of manufacture.

The bill would not immediately lead to government confiscation of semi-automatics considered by her definition as assault weapons, but would require owners to register the firearms with the Federal government by submitting photographs and fingerprints to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), informing the ATF of the address where the firearm will be kept and obtaining the ATF’s permission to transport the firearm across State lines. It would also impose a $200 per firearm tax.

In the end, however, Feinstein wants ultimate confiscation of any firearm she and other 2nd Amendment haters deem too dangerous for Americans. Owners of so-called assault rifles would not be permitted to pass them on to loved ones after death, the point at which the Federal government would confiscate the firearms.

Become A New Year’s Prepper

Make a New Year’s resolution this year that could end up saving your life or keeping your friends and family safe in the face of disaster: Become a prepper.

Mainstream media and popular culture often portray American preppers as anti-government extremists who are stockpiling guns and freeze-dried foods in anticipation of societal collapse. This mischaracterization of what it means to be prepared could prove to have deadly consequences for many people who don’t want to risk being labeled a fringe wacko and, therefore, refuse to take seriously the benefits of comprehensive disaster preparedness.

While there is a fringe element to the prepper community (as there is with any group), the vast majority of preppers are normal Americans who simply enjoy the security of knowing that they could provide for themselves in the event of a short- or long-term disruption in the conveniences of civil society. That could mean a tornado, snowstorm or other weather event that wipes out power for a long period of time and makes buying food and other basics impossible in some circumstances. Or it could mean economic calamity (a very real possibility given the current state of affairs in Washington) that suspends basic public services most Americans take for granted.

Whatever the scenario, knowing what steps to take to stay fed, protected and relatively comfortable under trying circumstances is responsible and reinforces a basic human survival instinct. If you or someone you know has bought into the media misinformation about what it means to be a prepper, New Year’s would be a great opportunity to look into it for yourself. You may be delighted to learn that not only is it crazy to not pick up some prepping skills, but also that becoming more self-reliant is a rewarding and empowering experience.

Here are a few good places to start learning more about becoming a prepper:

  • Personal Liberty’s “On Your Own” section is updated weekly with valuable information related to everything from disaster preparedness to self-defense to cooking. And you don’t need to wait for next week for a fresh survival story, check out the “Survival and Self-sufficiency” archives and brush up on your preparedness skills.
  • Also on the Personal Liberty site is a selection of books written by Personal Liberty Media Group Founder Bob Livingston. Livingston’s books — written with the motto “Living independently healthy and wealthy for the rest of your life” in mind — are filled with information that anyone working to become more self-reliant could benefit from. Check out the books and special offers here.
  • Founded in 2008, the American Preppers Network provides multiple online resources to help preppers come together and share ideas, techniques and experiences with each other. APN includes self-sufficiency advice that could benefit the most extreme preppers and casual preppers alike.
  • YouTube is an excellent resource for preppers who want to learn about becoming more self-sufficient. While you may have to use common sense and wade through a few not-so-good videos, a simple search on the site for “prepper” can yield hundreds of results from Americans doing a valuable public service by sharing what they’ve learned in their pursuits of self-reliance. The everyday Americans putting prepper videos on YouTube are a welcome departure from the outrageous reality show preppers featured on television.
  • Personal Liberty contributor Brandon Smith is the founder of the Alternative Market Project, an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for barter and mutual aid. His website is Alt-Market.com.

Don’t make the mistake of believing mainstream media’s portrayal of America’s preppers. Instead, do your own research and get to know some people involved in prepping this year; it might save your life one day.

Friday Morning News Roundup 12-28-2012

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.

  • The private sector is gaining upward momentum, growing by 23 percent… in Cuba.

 

 

  • The Senate delayed a final vote on whether or not to add oversight and privacy safeguards to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) amendments that allow Federal agencies to conduct warrantless wiretapping.

 

 

 

  • An American Airlines passenger was arrested at Orlando International Airport on Wednesday after police say she hit two Transportation Security Administration agents while going through a security checkpoint.

 

  • As the Nation debates gun policy following the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., some parents are imposing a different kind of gun control in their own homes: They are taking away their children’s toy guns.

 

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

Senate Oks Special Interest Internet Measure, Denies Americans Privacy Protection

By now, it is common knowledge among privacy-concerned Americans that Federal agencies have the wherewithal and the desire to access private email communications without warrant or accusation of criminal activity. But in case there was any question as to whether that is legal (it isn’t, according to the Constitution’s 4th Amendment), the Senate killed a key portion of a new bill that would have required acquisition of a warrant prior to government snooping.

The Video Privacy Protection Act was adopted by Congress in 1988 following controversy when Washington City Paper published the video rental history of failed Supreme Court Justice nominee Robert Bork. (Ironically, Bork did not believe that the U.S. Constitution mandates a general right to privacy.) The law prohibits the disclosure of video rentals without customer consent.

Social networking and online video streaming websites have more recently lobbied Congress to update the law, arguing that in today’s always-connected society people want to share with their online friends what television shows and movies they watch on platforms like Netflix. The 1988 provision barred Netflix from automatically publishing viewing information to social networking sites.

The Senate voted to amend the law last week. But while lawmakers caved to the marketing aspirations of special interests, they struck down another key portion of the legislative package that would have protected Americans from warrantless government email snooping.

Under the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the government can obtain e-mail or other electronic communications without a warrant as long as the content has been stored on a third-party server for at least 180 days. This is often done via what is referred to as an administrative subpoena, an information gathering tool widely used for Federal investigations. The provision removed by the Senate would have made warrants mandatory.

“If Netflix is going to get an update to the privacy law, we think the American people should get an update to the privacy law,” Chris Calabrese, the legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, told Wired.

America’s Tragic Economic Future

Loosely attributed to politically outspoken rock legend Frank Zappa is the notion that politics is the entertainment wing of the military industrial complex. But unless you enjoy economic drama (or tragedy), the playbill for 2013 is already looking pretty lousy.

For months, political news coverage has been saturated with talk of the United States’ damning march toward fiscal ruin; the Nation can almost certainly look forward to confusion as tax rate increases coupled with automatic government spending cuts take place in coming days.

There is some chance that lawmakers could still reach an agreement to lessen some of the consequences of the Nation’s plummet off of the fiscal cliff. But even so, Americans will not have heard the last of depressing economic news.

Just as many people are celebrating the beginning of the New Year with promises of better lifestyle choices and new beginnings, the Nation will have once again maxed out its extraordinary debt limit. The $16.4 trillion in approved government borrowing will be exhausted on New Year’s Eve.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has urged lawmakers to prepare to take big steps in addressing the pressing debt problem. Without coming to an agreement about how to handle the fiscal cliff first, though, it is unclear how much can really be done.

Treasury is examining options that it had previously considered in 2011 when the government exhausted its borrowing power and earned a credit downgrade from ratings agency Standard and Poor’s.

“However, given the significant uncertainty that now exists with regard to unresolved tax and spending policies for 2013, it is not possible to predict the effective duration of these measures,” Geithner wrote to lawmakers.

On the Treasury shortlist are measures such as selling portions of the Nation’s gold reserves and other Federal assets, or simply withholding payments until tax revenues cover its checks. But Geithner isn’t convinced that any of those measures would be good news for the economy.

“Treasury reached the same conclusion that other administrations had reached about these options,” he wrote in analysis. “None of them could reasonably protect the full faith and credit of the U.S., the American economy, or individual citizens from very serious harm.”

Political grandstanding continues unabated, as Republicans calling for very serious cuts to government spending to accompany any debt ceiling increase continue to be stonewalled by the Administration of Barack Obama.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he would agree to go along with the President’s debt ceiling increase for one year if the President would agree to equal amounts of spending cuts. Obama said he wants two years.

Obama Likes Guns, Just Not For Citizens

In an interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters, President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama joked about the President’s second term being a ploy to continue having their children protected by having “men with guns around at all times.”

In the highly personal interview, the President and first lady discussed their marriage and family life in the White House. When the conversation moved on to the Obama’s two daughters, the President discussed his dismay at the prospect of 14-year-old Malia becoming interested in dating boys.

The President joked, “One of the main incentives of running was continued Secret Service protection so we can have men with guns around at all times.”

The interview was reportedly taped on Dec.11 and was originally scheduled to air on Dec. 14, the same day of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, before being postponed.

The President’s men with guns remark has drawn criticisms of hypocrisy from 2nd Amendment advocates, as Obama has renewed calls for harsher gun-control laws in the wake of the tragedy earlier in the month.

Though many liberals balked at suggestions from the National Rifle Association and some lawmakers about arming teachers or providing armed guards for schools throughout the Nation, no less than 11 armed guards protect Sidwell Friends— the Washington, D.C. area private school attended by the Obama daughters— according to news reports.

Thursday Morning News Roundup 12-27-2012

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.

 

 

 

  • Social Security’s deficits are depressing and the number of Americans applying for disability benefits hit an all-time high this month.

 

 

 

  • There seems to be less excitement about President Barack Obama’s second inauguration than the first. Could it be his record?

 

 

 

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

Newspaper Treats Gun Owners Like Perverts

Thousands of Americans were shocked and angered at one New York newspaper’s attempt at Orwellian vilification of gun owners after it published an online database of gun-permit holders in its locale in the wake of the Connecticut Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy.

The Journal News, based in White Plains, N.Y., published a sensationalized gun-ownership story on Dec. 24 entitled “The gun owner next door: What you don’t know about the weapons in your neighborhood” linking legal gun-permit holders to violent crime. The newspaper collected permit information on 44,000 people in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties proclaiming that one out of every 23 adults in the area are licensed to own a handgun.

From the article:

Anyone can find out the names and addresses of handgun owners in any county with a simple Freedom of Information Law request, and the state’s top public records expert told The Journal News last week that he thinks the law does not bar the release of other details. But officials in county clerk’s offices in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam maintain the public does not have a right to see such things as the specific permits an individual has been issued, the types of handguns a person possesses or the number of guns he or she owns — whether one or a dozen.

The story quickly caught the attention of conservative news sites and media outlets and drew heavy criticism. Gun rights advocates likened the publication of a map pinpointing the location of every permit holder in the area to an attempt to portray gun owners as a societal danger like sex offenders.

“We knew publication of the database would be controversial, but we felt sharing as much information as we could about gun ownership in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings,” said CynDee Royle, editor and vice president/news told USA Today.

“People are concerned about who owns guns and how many of them there are in their neighborhoods,” she said. “Our Freedom of Information request also sought specifics on how many and what types of weapons people owned. That portion of the request was denied.”

Of note, newspaper giant Gannet Co. Inc., owns both USA Today (which published a follow-up story on the controversial gun-owner list) and The Journal News.

Ron Paul: ‘Government Has Zero Moral Authority To Legislate Against Violence’

The Nation is still mourning the terrible loss of life that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., nearly two weeks ago. And the debate about how to prevent future mass shootings, particularly in schools, continues with emotional—and often irrational—suggestions from individuals and organizations all over the country.

Coming to the conclusion of his Congressional career and after a failed bid for the Presidency, Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) has been noticeably out of the media spotlight for a number of weeks. But as everyone from the National Rifle Association to leftist anti-gun groups throw in two cents about how the Nation should proceed in the conversation about guns, mental illness and violence, the Libertarian icon took to his Congressional website recently to plea for rational discourse.

Paul points out the misguided logic that both the political right and left have employed in trying to understand how America should proceed:

Predictably, the political left responded to the tragedy with emotional calls for increased gun control.  This is understandable, but misguided. The impulse to have government “do something” to protect us in the wake national tragedies is reflexive and often well intentioned.  Many Americans believe that if we simply pass the right laws, future horrors like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting can be prevented.  But this impulse ignores the self evident truth that criminals don’t obey laws.

The political right, unfortunately, has fallen into the same trap in its calls for quick legislative solutions to gun violence.  If only we put armed police or armed teachers in schools, we’re told, would-be school shooters will be dissuaded or stopped.

Paul goes on to make the same case he has for more than three decades: More government regulation is not the answer. Putting aside emotion, the veteran Congressman points out that the tragic killing of the children at Sandy Hook mustn’t be used as the political lynchpin for increased Government tyranny in the United States.

He writes:

[D]o we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, X-ray scanners, and warrantless physical searches?  We see this culture in our airports: witness the shabby spectacle of once proud, happy Americans shuffling through long lines while uniformed TSA agents bark orders.  This is the world of government provided “security,” a world far too many Americans now seem to accept or even endorse.  School shootings, no matter how horrific, do not justify creating an Orwellian surveillance state in America.

The point, Paul contends, is that the violence Americans are witnessing on a near daily basis is the result of decades of “moral and intellectual decline.” Furthermore, can Americans trust a government that kills thousands of people overseas with unmanned drones each year to have the moral authority to implement legislation to keep them safe from the occasional deranged gunman in the homeland? Paul’s answer: They absolutely cannot unless they’re willing to live in a totalitarian state.

Read Paul’s full message here.