In NYC Second Amendment Rights Sell For $340

New York City residents who challenged a policy that requires handgun owners in the city to pay a $340 residential licensing fee as unConstitutional were shot down by a Federal judge on Monday.

Federal Judge John Koeltl ruled that the lawsuit brought by citizens and gun rights advocates, including the New York Rifle & Pistol Association and the Second Amendment Foundation, was void because he believes there is no evidence that the hefty fee has stopped anyone from exercising his rights. The fee must be paid every three years, according to The Associated Press.

“The city defendants contend that the $340 fee is permissible under this standard because it is designed to defray, and does not exceed, the costs of administering New York’s handgun licensing scheme,” Koeltl wrote in his 38-page Opinion and Order. “However, the plaintiffs argue that, to be permissible, a fee must not only be designed to defray administrative costs but must also be a ‘nominal’ amount. According to the plaintiffs, the $340 fee is too high to be nominal.”

The judge cited several appellate court rulings that determined such a fee is considered nominal, according to Courthouse News Service.

“While it is possible to conceive of fees that are impermissible because they are so exorbitant as to deter the exercise of the protected activity … there is no showing that the $340 handgun licensing fee qualifies as such a fee,” Koeltl wrote. “The plaintiffs merely assert that the $340 fee is excessive, which is not sufficient to raise a genuine issue of material fact regarding the permissibility of the fee.”

The residential license affords holders the right to have a handgun in their homes; it is not a carry permit.

Paul Campaign Has Organizational Muscle

The political establishment has done everything in its power to negate Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul, but he is still the first of the GOP candidates to have his name on the ballot in all 50 States.

Paul’s campaign filed to appear on the ballot in New Jersey on Tuesday after attaining double the 1,000 signatures required to appear on that State’s ballot. Paul is now the first candidate to have full ballot access throughout the Nation. Mitt Romney is expected to file in New Jersey in the coming days, making his 50-State ballot access likely.

The Paul campaign contends that the candidate’s success in being included in all States before any of the other candidates is a testament to organization and devotion among the supporters.

“Success in accessing ballots no matter a state’s requirements is a barometer for the strength of a campaign organization. Being first to appear on the ballot in all fifty states proves that Ron Paul is the only candidate with the organizational muscle, resources, and stamina to challenge Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination,” said Ron Paul 2012 National Campaign Manager John Tate. “In concert with our delegate-attainment strategy, which is working well in states like Iowa, Nevada, Washington, and Missouri, we’re prepared and eager to continue on the long road to Tampa.”

Though Romney is not far behind Paul in having his name listed on every State ballot, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have both failed to meet filing requirements to be on some ballots throughout the primary. Gingrich and Santorum both failed to be listed on Virginia’s ballot for the March 6 vote, and Santorum is not on the ballot for Washington, D.C., where the primary will be held on April 3.

DHS Employees Unsatisfied With Work Environment

Imagine a career that gave you the opportunity to spend each and every day working to thwart a nameless, faceless enemy that you are told by your superiors is an immediate threat to your safety, culture and way of life. Now imagine if much of the population believed that you and your agency were the real threat to the American lifestyle. Welcome to a career at the Department of Homeland Security.

According to reports, morale within the ranks of the Federal government agency designed to protect Americans from perceived threats in a post-9/11 United States has been in bad shape since 2004. That year, a White House-sponsored survey showed that 56 percent of the agency’s employees said they were satisfied with their jobs, compared to 68 percent for government employees overall, according to Federal Computer Week.

Last Thursday, Congress heard testimony from the DHS Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management focused on the ongoing interagency battle with low employee morale. From the testimony lawmakers learned that DHS employees were averagely satisfied with the rate of pay they receive, but had less positive attitudes about the work they do. Subcommittee chairman Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said that while the employees generally believe in their mission, they are unhappy with the leadership within the agency.

The Washington Post reports DHS has put into place a three-pronged strategy to address management and workforce issues, according to Catherine Emerson, DHS’ chief human capital officer. The first aspect mandates that all top officials prioritize employee engagement. The second element promotes better employee communication, training and employee recognition. The third part strengthens the leadership skills among DHS management.

Photo With Gingrich: $50

A few times since the Republican Presidential primary began, people have speculated that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s goal in running was not ever to win the office, but rather to bolster his public presence. A new report may lend credence to the speculation.

According to Daily Mail, at speaking engagements throughout the country, the enterprising Gingrich has taken to charging supporters $50 to snap photos with him as he campaigns. The candidate began asking for a fee for photos of him with supporters during after a speech to Republican County groups in Hockessin, Del.

In defense of the policy, the Gingrich campaign said in a statement:

Did you see reports today we are charging for photos?

Some campaigns make you travel all the way to Wall Street to pay $2,500 for a photo with a candidate.

We are trying out a new tactic and asking our supporters at our rallies for a nominal donation.

And guess what, it is working.

We have over 175,000 donors who contribute on average $50 to $100 at a time.

We also have an online store where supporters can make a donation to receive a hat, a shirt or even a bandana for your dog.

Every dollar and every supporter count and our campaign is propelled forward one small donor at a time.

The most recent financial filings show the Gingrich campaign taking on more debt that it can cover with campaign funds raised. Gingrich told a reporter for The Atlantic that if Mitt Romney has a majority after Utah votes on June 26, he will support the former Massachusetts Governor.

Before the campaign, Gingrich made lucrative career for himself as a professional speaker.

“I did no lobbying of any kind, period,” Gingrich said at a campaign stop in South Carolina last year. “For a practical reason—and I’m going to be really direct, OK? I was charging $60,000 a speech and the number of speeches was going up, not down.”

Occupy Plans Mass Laughter At World Leaders

Remember the scene in the 1976 film “Network” when newsman Howard Beale — played by actor Peter Finch — encourages his viewers to open their windows and exclaim “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore” in response to the constant barrage of bad news? Adbusters, the publication that could be credited with planting the seeds of Occupy Wall Street, is asking people around the world to do something similar on May 18.

In a recent article, the publication concedes that the Federal government’s decision to relocate the G8 summit of powerful world leaders from Chicago to the Presidential compound at Camp David represents government leaders’ fear of the angry masses.

The article says: “Wow! Looks like the specter of 50,000 occupiers ready to swarm with a list of demands has turned the climactic Showdown in Chicago into a humiliating G8 Backdown. Bravo! Splitting the G8 and NATO summits was a deft move… but now we’ve got a major tactical rethink on our hands.”

Adbusters says that protesters must now decide whether they should “follow Mao’s advice (‘when the enemy retreats, we pursue’) or Sun Tzu’s (‘Do not pursue an enemy who simulates flight’)? “ There have reportedly been discussions within the movement of both organizing protests in Chicago and trying to get near Camp David to disrupt the summit.

Comparing the Administration of Barack Obama to regimes toppled elsewhere in the world over the past year, the article calls for people to simply laugh at the White House and G8 en masse on May 18:

When Ben Ali first attacked then tried to hide from his people, he was toppled. When Mubarak refused to negotiate and tried to beat his people back into line, he was deposed. Now the White House and the G8 are repeating the mistakes of last year’s autocrats … first they try to scare us with tough talk of repressive anti-Occupy ordinances, crowd suppression technologies and paramilitary policing, then they make a hasty retreat to the safety of Camp David.

The world’s leaders flee from us … so what do we do? Maybe we just laugh at them?

On May 18, the day the G8 leaders meet in Camp David, why don’t we, the people of the world have a #LAUGHRIOT. Let roars of laughter rise up from towns and cities everywhere at the spectacle of the world’s leaders trying to crisis manage the economy from behind closed doors and razor wire fences.

Laughter is one of the most powerful tactical weapons of memewar … it signals supremacy and loss of fear. So let’s pull off the greatest comedy of howling flash mobs, riotous street parties and hysterical pranks the world has ever seen. May 18 could be a monumental tipping point… an ahahaha! moment when the people of the world have a collective epiphany, and from that point on start thinking differently about how the world should be governed.

Jammers, whatever we do this Spring, let’s float like butterflies and sting like bees! Let’s bend the G8 and NATO to our will with shock tactics and audacious culture jams that capture the imagination of the world. We may be far closer to a Global Spring than any of us has so far dared to imagine …

for the wild,

Culture Jammers HQ

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_qgVn-Op7Q&w=560&h=315]

Michigan Makes Felons Of Hog Farmers

Michigan lawmakers have their sights set on pigs, literally.

According to NaturalNews, Michigan is days away from issuing an Invasive Species Order (ISO) put in place by the State’s Department of Natural Resources which would allow law enforcement to kill hogs on family farms based on how they look. By April 1, farmers must destroy heritage, or “wild,” breeds of swine or they will be violating the law. State officials will conduct raids of farms where they believe farmers have failed to follow the order and shoot the animals themselves; the farmers will then face felony charges.

The 2010 ISO states: “Possession of the following live species, including a hybrid or genetic variation of the species, an egg or offspring of the species or of a hybrid or genetically engineered variant, is prohibited; . . . . (b) Wild boar, wild hog, wild swine, feral pig, feral hog, feral swine, Old world swine, razorback, eurasian wild boar, Russian wild boar (Sus scrofa Linnaeus). This subsection does not and is not intended to affect sus domestica involved in domestic hog production. [3, § 40.4]”

According to the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, the law is simply a ploy to bow to special interests such as Michigan Pork Producers Association by making it difficult for local farmers to raise hogs.

Mark Baker, owner of a family farm in rural Michigan that may be shut down as a result of the order explains the destructive nature of the order in the video below:

 
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=843yH_0RMIA&w=560&h=315]

FTC Proposes New Privacy Regulation

Americans concerned that corporations are tracking them online and violating their Internet privacy may find some relief in a new Federal Trade Commission report pledging that consumers will have a “Do Not Track” option by the end of the year.

The FTC takes the White House “privacy bill of rights” that was released last month a step further by ensuring consumers will be informed by companies what type of online tracking they are subject to and will be given an option to opt out, according to The Washington Post.

“Although some companies have excellent privacy and data securities practices, industry as a whole must do better,” the report states.

In the report, the FTC also calls for Congress to pass legislation to provide consumers access to the online marketing data that companies store about them.

The agency emphasized heavily on mobile Internet devices in the report as well, saying that there should be regulations regarding corporate use of an individual’s location data, which can be obtained from the devices.

Obama Brags About ‘Flexibility’ If Reelected

Some conservatives have expressed concerns that a second term for President Barack Obama means a chance for the President, who will no longer face reelection, to force radical, unpopular “change” upon the United States. A statement the President made on Monday may fuel those concerns.

Unaware that they were being filmed, Obama was caught by television camera confidently telling Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that once he wins reelection, he will have the “flexibility” to make a deal on ballistic missile defense in Europe, according to Daily Mail.

In part of the exchange, Obama urged Moscow to give him space until after the November ballot. Medvedev said he would relay the President’s message to incoming Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The conversation reportedly went as follows:

Obama: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.”

Medvedev: “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…”

Obama: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”

The conversation was focused only around an American missile defense system being put together in Europe that is unpopular with Russia as the country’s leaders believe it may be used to target their homeland.

In response to questions about the exchange, the White House responded by saying that the President simply meant that because both countries were in the midst of an election year, he didn’t believe there would be a breakthrough regarding the system.

Obama’s remarks, however, may beg the question for people worried about him having a second term: What other issues will the President have more “flexibility” to tackle once he no longer has to worry about angering voters?

Political Pundit Maddow Takes On Perpetual War

MSNBC political pundit Rachel Maddow, promoting her new book, “Drift,” on Meet the Press Sunday, echoed the sentiments of Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul as she discussed the United States’ state of perpetual war.

Maddow said the United States is engaged in a continual war, the effects of which most Americans do not feel. This comes at a high moral cost to the country. The result, she believes, is that the civilian population feels that the military is not engaged in protecting the country, but the government’s interests.

“It’s been bothering me for a very long time, this idea that we’ve made a series of changes over time, over the course of my lifetime, I think, that in all cases have made it easier, have made it a little friction, given us less friction, toward using war,” Maddow said. “Less political friction, less public… discomfort with it, in a way that we have gone to war so frequently and felt it so much less. It bothers me emotionally, and so I wanted to treat it in a long-form way so I could really lay out the case.”

The pundit said that the military has become isolated from the political process, which has resulted in the creation of a runaway “military superstructure” in the Nation. By making it easy to go to war without angering Americans, Maddow contends, the war for profit machine in the United States has been allowed to grow out of control because Americans have become desensitized to the horrors of war.

An excerpt from Maddow’s book can be read here.

Part Two Of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ To Hit Theaters This Fall

The second part of the film adaptation of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” — the novel that every proponent of free-market capitalism and individual liberty should read — is due to hit theaters next fall.

The book, which was published in 1957, is lauded as Rand’s greatest achievement and last work of fiction. In the novel Rand dramatizes her unique philosophy through an intellectual mystery story that integrates ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, politics, economics and sex, leaving readers pondering a questions throughout: Who is John Galt?

The story follows the book’s female protagonist, Dagny Taggart, as she struggles to manage a transcontinental railroad amid the pressures and restrictions of massive bureaucracy. Her reaction to a libertarian group seeking an end to government regulation is first negative, but is later modified in her encounter with a utopian community, Galt’s Gulch, whose members regard self-determination rather than collective responsibility as the highest ideal.

[pl_amazon_book_order src=”http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=perslibedige-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0452011876&ref=tf_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr”]“Atlas Shrugged” epitomizes Rand’s philosophy of individualistic Objectivism which is based on the following tenants:

  • Reality exists independent of consciousness.
  • Human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception.
  • One can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive logic.
  • The proper moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness (or rational self-interest).
  • The only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights embodied in laissez-faire capitalism.
  • The role of art in human life is to transform humans’ metaphysical ideas by selective reproduction of reality into a physical form — a work of art — that one can comprehend and to which one can respond emotionally.

Rand’s works and philosophy have influenced thousands of people throughout the years, including political figures like Presidential candidate Ron Paul and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, among others.

The release of the second part of Rand’s iconic novel follows the release of part one of the series last April.

Part one trailer:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UaZx_DIKgI&w=560&h=315]
Part two teaser:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo8SuRgqdTI&w=560&h=315]

Rand discusses the difference between liberty and socialism:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1RxKW-P5V8&w=420&h=315]

Rule Change Allows More Government Monitoring

The Federal government is now allowed to store personal information about private citizens with absolutely no ties to terrorism for up to five years, expanding previous authority under new rules implemented by the Administration of Barack Obama.

Before the change, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) was supposed to immediately destroy intelligence information about Americans when they were deemed to have no clear ties to terrorism. Government officials who want the right to spy on every American have used terror attempts to justify their actions.

“Following the failed terrorist attack in December 2009, representatives of the counterterrorism community concluded it is vital for NCTC to be provided with a variety of datasets from various agencies that contain terrorism information,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a statement last Thursday. “The ability to search against these datasets for up to five years on a continuing basis as these updated guidelines permit will enable NCTC to accomplish its mission more practically and effectively.”

Officials claim the guidelines will make the Nation safer by making sure relevant terrorism information is readily accessible to analysts, according to The Washington Post.

Earlier this year, the FBI and the Department of Justice released a series of flyers that outline possible indicators of terrorist plotting. The flyers noted many obscure activities that many Americans do every day, such as paying for things with cash, taking photos, etc. Over the past several months, the government has taken steps to make it possible to subject nearly any person to the scrutiny of a terror investigation.

Marine Who Criticized Obama Faces Discharge

A Marine sergeant who made online comments vowing to stand up to the Constitution and criticizing President Barack Obama and his policies is facing dismissal from the Corps for his actions.

According to The Associated Press, Sgt. Gary Stein, who started a Facebook page called Armed Forces Tea Party, was informed by the Marines that he violated a Pentagon policy barring troops from political activities.

The nine-year Marine veteran said he started the page to encourage fellow service members to exercise their free speech rights. Stein was first cautioned by his superiors at Camp Pendleton in 2010, after he launched the Facebook page and criticized Obama’s healthcare overhaul. He volunteered to take down the page while he reviewed the rules at the request of his superiors. Upon determining that he was not in violation of the rules, Stein relaunched the page.

Last week, in response to a post in which Stein said he would refuse to follow unlawful orders from the President, Stein’s superiors barred him from using social media sites on government computers.

The Marines say Stein failed to follow Pentagon directives that say military personnel in uniform cannot sponsor a political club; participate in any TV or radio program or group discussion that advocates for or against a political party, candidate or cause; or speak at any event promoting a political movement. Officers also are not allowed to use contemptuous words against senior officials, including the defense secretary or the President.

Stein said in a statement: “The allegations drummed up against me are no more than an agenda by the Marine Corps to use me as an example. I have never spoken on behalf of the Marine Corps or in uniform.  I have stayed within guidelines DOD Directive 1344.10 and made sure to. If I am guilty of anything it would be that I am American, a freedom loving Conservative, hell bent on defending the constitution and preserving Americas greatness. I am no more the Leader of the Armed Forces Tea Party than any other of 18,000 members are. I just happen to be normal guy who started a facebook page and who hold the Tea Party values close my heart and believes the Tea Party can enact real change in this county. We are all leaders in the Tea Party!”

Americans Victimized By Etch A Sketch Politics For Too Long

The Republican Presidential primary race is a joke, and Barack Obama will have four more years to continue to radically reshape the United States.

Mitt Romney campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom summed up why Republicans are poised to lose in the fall during an appearance on CNN Wednesday: The guy who will most likely be the GOP’s choice in the general election has the conviction of an Etch A Sketch.

When asked whether Romney’s very conservative rhetoric throughout the primary season would hurt his chances of wooing moderate voters in a campaign against Obama, Fehrnstrom replied: “I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch — you shake it all up and start over again.”

The remark — which should certainly come as no surprise to real conservatives, because Romney is essentially Obama-lite — represents one absolute truth: Except for Ron Paul, there is no true conservative running in the GOP primary.

Even if Romney, Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich had a chance to beat Obama, it wouldn’t matter. Look past the phony rhetoric and it is easy to see that Romney, Santorum and Gingrich all represent the same problem for voters. If any one of these men gets the job, nothing is going to change. The destruction of the United States is simply a consequence of other goals shared by the elite within the parties of both establishment Republicans and establishment Democrats.

The shared ambitions between the most powerful people within the two parties are:

  • Lining the pockets of the people at the highest levels within the military-industrial complex, the medical establishment and the Federal government while doing away with individual liberty.
  • And dehumanizing and demoralizing the greater American populace until submission to the will of the elite comes without a fight.

When the goal is accomplished, the United States will have reached the end of the road to tyranny that it has been slowly traveling for more than a century. Elections will no longer be necessary.

The number of people throughout the Nation who see the writing on the wall is growing. They are investing money in precious metals, food and tradable goods in anticipation of the economic collapse that the political elite have orchestrated. They are stocking weapons in anticipation of widespread social disorder and are visiting websites like Personal Liberty Digest™ to learn vital skills and find out about the latest efforts of elitists to control every aspect of their lives while they still can. These are people who demand only the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — things that are becoming foreign ideas to citizens of the United States.

Sadly, there exists a greater number of Americans who remain slave to the false left-right paradigm, many of whom feel the Federal government’s purpose is to make decisions and care for each and every one of its citizens. These people are willing to relinquish the liberty of all Americans for that care.

If there were any hope of the United States returning to its former glory rather than taking its place among the failed empires of history, it would only be the result of a painful process of reigning in spending and dependence on government. It would surely be an uncomfortable process. Paul is the only Presidential candidate who has been willing to admit this, and he is the only one who has provided a plan that would really undo the damage that has been done to the greatest Nation in history. Paul’s plan would cut $1 trillion in Federal spending during his first year in office, give young Americans the ability to opt out of Social Security, provide block grants to States to pay for social welfare programs, reduce the Federal workforce by 10 percent, cut taxes drastically and repeal overreaching Federal regulation. The candidate has also called for an end to unConstitutional military adventurism and restoration of Americans’ liberty.

Is it any wonder the establishment has made every effort to shut Paul up? Even if he were unable to achieve all of his goals, a Paul Presidency would badly damage the elitist agenda. For more than three decades, Paul has warned the Nation about the damage being done at the hands of the political elite with unwavering consistency that is even recognized by his harshest critics. It is time for Americans to reject phony slogans like hope and change, flip-flopping politicians and the top-down destruction of their Nation. This is no time for Etch A Sketch politics.

Obama Popular On The Internet

The Internet has become increasingly involved in political campaigns over the course of the past decade; new research shows that Barack Obama has been more successful than any of his Republican challengers at harnessing online campaign power.

According to Nielson Media Research, Obama’s re-election website had 4.2 million unique monthly visitors over age 18 in January compared to a combined 2.9 million visitors to the campaign sites of Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum during the same month.

  • Ron Paul’s site had 830,000 visitors.
  • Mitt Romney’s site had 773,000 visitors.
  • Rick Santorum’s site had 696,000 visitors.
  • Newt Gingrich’s site had 609,000 visitors.

Women made up more than 60 percent of all traffic to Santorum’s site, the largest gender split of any candidate. Only Paul and Gingrich drew more men than women with 56 percent and 51 percent respectively.

The research indicates that Paul drew the most visitors in the coveted 18- to 34-year-old demographic with 36.8 percent of his visitors falling into the category. Obama, for whom young voters were a key constituency in 2008, was visited mostly by people between the ages of 50 and 64 — only 17.1 percent were 18 to 34.

The information comes after a recent POLITICO report that describes how the Obama campaign has invested millions of dollars in sophisticated Internet messaging, marketing and fundraising efforts that rely on personal data about voters collected on the Internet that is sometimes offered up voluntarily — like posts on a Facebook page — but sometimes not.

Your TV Soon May Be Watching You

In George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984,” the time protagonist Winston Smith spends inside of his home mostly is taken up either hiding from the all-seeing screen that hangs upon his wall or taking direct orders from it.

Orwell writes, “It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself–anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide…”

While it may not be a tool of a totalitarian regime (yet), a new breed of televisions is raising concerns of an Orwellian future among privacy advocates. According to the Daily Mail, new products from Samsung, including plasma and HDTVs, are closer than ever to personal computers meant to sit in your living room and include built-in HD cameras, microphones and face- and speech-recognition software.

Critics say the new television technology opens homes of unsuspecting people up to hackers and possibly companies seeking information for marketing purposes, and there is no way to disable the cameras and microphones to ensure privacy.

Gary Merson, who runs a website called HD guru, said: “What concerns us is the integration of both an active camera and microphone. A Samsung representative tells us you can deactivate the voice feature; however this is done via software, not a hard switch like the one you use to turn a room light on or off. And unlike other TVs, which have cameras and microphones as add-on accessories connected by a single, easily removable USB cable, you can’t just unplug these sensors.”

No Food For The Homeless

New York City’s nanny Mayor Michael Bloomberg has again issued a regulation in his city that many New Yorkers find ridiculous. Now, no food can be donated to homeless shelters in the city by individuals because the government can’t assess salt, fat and fiber content of the sustenance.

According to the National Center For Public Policy Research, Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond said the complete ban on food donations is consistent with Bloomberg’s emphasis on “improving nutrition for all New Yorkers.”

In an opinion piece in the New York Post, Jeff Stier, a critic of the policy, writes:

This is very different from another recent high-profile food-police case. When a North Carolina prekindergarten aide took away a 4-year-old’s home-packed lunch last month, the school defused the incident by blaming a teacher’s bad judgment.

Here, there’s no teacher to scapegoat. The ban on food donations is the direct result of work by many city agencies, all led by a mayoral task force.

Fine, the city’s making enough nutritious food available to our homeless. (Court mandates require it.) But that’s no excuse for turning away charity that brings a tiny bit of joy into these lives.

The Bloomberg administration is so obsessed with meddling in how we all live that it’s now eating away at the very best that New York citizens have to deliver.

Bloomberg said that the city’s shelters do not accept donations for safety reasons, according to CBS New York.

Ron Paul Still Going Strong

Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul is continuing to battle the establishment and moving along through the primary season despite efforts to quiet his message of liberty.

A recent Business Insider report says Paul’s strategy of sweeping up delegates is paying off. The candidate appears to have taken a majority of delegates in Missouri, despite having lost the State’s nonbinding primary to Rick Santorum.

“We did do real well in Missouri,” Paul campaign adviser Jesse Benton said. “Some county conventions are still going on, but we’ve got good turnout. Anecdotal evidence shows we won multiple caucuses, and it looks like we’re going to pick up the majority of delegates.”

Paul has reportedly taken third place in the Illinois primary. During his appearance on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” on Tuesday, Paul said he is counting on a brokered convention to gain some extra delegates from Mitt Romney.

“The second go-round, they’re not committed to him,” Paul said. “Then they can vote their conscience. Then I believe we’ll get a lot of those votes.”

During his appearance on Leno’s show, Paul explained his views on abortion, discussed allegations that he and Romney had formed an alliance, and blasted the other three GOP Presidential candidates for using Secret Service protection, calling it a form of welfare.

“You know, you’re having the taxpayers pay to take care of somebody and I’m an ordinary citizen,” Paul said. “I would think I should pay for my own protection and it costs, I think, more than $50,000 a day to protect those individuals. It’s a lot of money.”

Paul was also in the news earlier in the day Tuesday when he blasted Representative Paul Ryan and House Republicans for a budget proposal released this week in a campaign statement.

From the statement:

What is really disappointing is that the GOP budget assumes that the federal government should continue to do everything, or at least almost everything, it is currently doing. We will never have a balanced federal budget, low taxes, economic prosperity, and individual liberty unless Congress stops trying to run the world, run the economy, and run our lives.

If Republicans really want to win in November, they will have to draw a clear distinction between themselves and Obama’s disastrous agenda. And producing a budget that does not seriously address our nation’s debt crisis will not distinguish them at all in the eyes of the American people.

While the GOP proposal is similar to budget proposals released by other Republican Presidential candidates, Paul previously released a plan that promises $1 trillion in cuts in Federal spending in his first year if elected.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zy_XJKJqhU&w=560&h=315]

How The Devil Has Won

Many Americans likely remember the iconic voice and lively commentaries of conservative radioman Paul Harvey who broadcast for more than 60 years until his death in 2009. On Tuesday, Harvey’s familiar voice surfaced once again as one of his more prophetic commentaries made its way through the viral waves of the blogosphere.

The monologue, entitled “If I Were The Devil,” is attributed to Harvey and has been circulated in various forms via the Internet since around 1999. Harvey’s original version dates back to 1964, according to Snopes.

Harvey’s monologue, in each of the slightly altered forms it has taken over the years, tells how if he were the devil he would set about to take over the world by first inducing moral decline in its most powerful Nation. Listen to a version Harvey reportedly broadcast on ABC Radio on April 3, 1965 below:
 
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJc8Mzg0C-c&w=420&h=315]

With so many distractions from an always-on 24-hour news cycle and the constant creation of new information thanks to the Internet, how is it possible that a 47-year old broadcast from a dead conservative radio host went viral this week? Perhaps Americans are concerned and Harvey’s words are more striking than ever before as the Nation continues to slide into a condition that many conservatives would say is decidedly not American at all.

Below is a transcript of a different form of Harvey’s monologue published on the FOX Nation website Tuesday. Throughout the text, links to recent news stories have been included as examples of how the moral decline discussed in the commentary is rampant in the United States today:

If I were the Devil . . . I mean, if I were the Prince of Darkness, I would of course, want to engulf the whole earth in darkness. I would have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I would not be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree, so I should set about however necessary to take over the United States. I would begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: “Do as you please.” “Do as you please.”   To the young, I would whisper, “The Bible is a myth.” I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what is bad is good, and what is good is “square.” In the ears of the young marrieds, I would whisper that work is debasing, that cocktail parties are good for you. I would caution them not to be extreme in religion, in patriotism, in moral conduct. And the old, I would teach to pray. I would teach them to say after me: “Our Father, which art in Washington”…

If I were the devil, I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull an uninteresting. I’d threaten T.V. with dirtier movies and vice versa. And then, if I were the devil, I’d get organized. I’d infiltrate unions and urge more loafing and less work, because idle hands usually work for me. I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. And I’d tranquilize the rest with pills. If I were the devil, I would encourage schools to refine young intellects but neglect to discipline emotions . . . let those run wild. I would designate an atheist to front for me before the highest courts in the land and I would get preachers to say “she’s right.” With flattery and promises of power, I could get the courts to rule what I construe as against God and in favor of pornography, and thus, I would evict God from the courthouse, and then from the school house, and then from the houses of Congress and then, in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and I would deify science because that way men would become smart enough to create super weapons but not wise enough to control them.

If I were Satan, I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg, and the symbol of Christmas, a bottle. If I were the devil, I would take from those who have and I would give to those who wanted, until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And then, my police state would force everybody back to work. Then, I could separate families, putting children in uniform, women in coal mines, and objectors in slave camps. In other words, if I were Satan, I’d just keep on doing what he’s doing.

Paul Harvey, Good Day.

This is only a small selection of available recent reports that coincide with the Harvey monologue, so maybe it is no surprise it went viral. It appears to be quite relevant to worried conservatives.

Cyberbullying Laws Could Lead To Internet Censorship

Because protecting copyright holders did not seem reason enough for American citizens to go along with total government censorship of the Internet with bills like the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act, lawmakers have chosen a new vehicle for censorship: protecting children.

As many as five States — Delaware, Kentucky, Indiana, Maine and New York — are working to implement cyberbullying laws that critics say could make surfing the Web a legal minefield.

According to USA Today, the legislation is aimed at “bringing our laws into the digital age and the 21st century,” said Senator Jeffrey Klein (D-N.Y.) who sponsored a bill to criminalize cyberbullying. “When I was growing up, you had a tangible bully and a fight after school. Now you have hordes of bullies who are terrorizing over the Internet or other forms of social media.”

Some examples of the State laws:

  • In Indiana, a proposed bill would give schools more authority to punish students for off-campus activities such as cyberbullying from a computer not owned by the school.
  • In Maine, a proposal would define bullying and cyberbullying, specify responsibilities for reporting incidents of bullying and require schools to adopt a policy to address bullying.
  • In Delaware, meetings are under way to decide how a new cyberbullying policy would regulate off-campus behavior.

Critics say that the new legislative trend toes the line of infringing upon free speech. Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, told USA Today the movement in the legislatures and the courts is focusing on the disciplinary system and is shortsighted, saying: “You’re not going to be able to punish people into being more tolerant.”

Internet censorship in the name of protecting children was also proposed by SOPA author Lamar Smith (R-Texas) recently. Through the Protect Our Children From Online Pornographers Act (PCFIPA), Smith proposes some of the same measures included in his previous wildly unpopular attempt at Internet censorship.

Ryan: Budget For Real Spending Discipline

House Republicans introduced an ambitious, if risky during an election year, budget plan to restructure the way government operates and set the Nation on a course to eliminate its deficits by 2040.

The proposal, authored by Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), would reduce debt by reshaping Medicare and Medicaid while deeply cutting other domestic spending and reshaping the tax code to give Americans lower tax rates.

The plan will be rejected by the Democratic Senate, though The Washington Post  reports that it is likely less intensive than most Tea Party conservatives would consider ideal. Ryan’s plan, which he drafted with Democratic Senator Ron Wyden (Ore.), would turn Medicaid spending into a block grant program and cut food stamps and other social welfare programs. The plan, like past GOP budget proposals, also calls for offering seniors retiring in future years payments with which to buy private health insurance coverage along with a traditional fee-for-service option to alleviate Democratic concerns over the restructuring. Many of the budget plan proposals have proven to be anathema to most Democratic lawmakers in the past.

In a recent opinion piece in The Wall Street JournalRyan defends his proposals, “Our budget’s Medicare reforms make no changes for those in or near retirement. For those who will retire a decade from now, our plan provides guaranteed coverage options financed by a premium-support payment. And this year, our budget adds even more choices for seniors, including a traditional fee-for-service Medicare option.”

The timing of the plan’s release is expected to make Republican willingness to make deep cuts and change the way healthcare funding is handled a key issue for Democrats in 2012.

Ryan also reiterates the GOP’s desire to simplify the tax code with the plan similar to those offered by both GOP Presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. It replaces the current six brackets of the tax system with just two tax levels: a 10 percent marginal tax for low-wage earners and 25 percent for those with higher incomes. Corporate taxes would also be slashed from 35 percent to 25 percent, and corporate taxes for overseas profits mostly would be eliminated under the Ryan proposal.

To offset the lower tax rates, which Republicans contend will spur economic growth, the budget proposal allocates $1.028 trillion in Federal spending for fiscal year 2013; the spending allocation will also likely raise a stink among Democrats at $19 billion less than the cap imposed after last summer’s contentious debt ceiling negotiations.

Paul, however, says his plan is the only way to turn around the U.S. economy without making dangerous sacrifices, “Like last year, our budget delivers real spending discipline. It does this not through indiscriminate cuts that endanger our military, but by ending the epidemic of crony politics and government overreach that has weakened confidence in the nation’s institutions and its economy. And it strengthens the safety net by returning power to the states, which are in the best position to tailor assistance to their specific populations.”

Democratic critics say the Ryan plan is a surefire way to make Congressional budget negotiations the same tedious embarrassment that they were last year.


Editor’s note: It’s time to make your submissions for this month’s You Sound Off! feature, which will run March 28. Get your submission in by March 26. It should be no more than 750 words (if they are longer, we probably won’t read them). We will select the one or two we think are the best of the week to publish. We reserve the right to edit for grammar and style but will try not to alter the meaning.

Send your submissions to yousoundoff@personalliberty.com. Please include your name, address and telephone number (only your name will be published) so we can contact you if we need to clarify something. Anonymous submissions will not be considered.–BL

Report Measures State Corruptibility

A recent report by the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International ranks States by corruptibility.

Judging from organizations involved in conducting the report, many conservatives likely assume it’s biased beyond use, but the corruption-risk report cards provided through the State Integrity Investigation have some practical value for political junkies. The index, to the surprise of many Americans, ranked New Jersey the least easily corruptible State in the Union; the most easily corruptible was Georgia.

Each State received a corruptibility report card graded by the following criteria on a 100 percent scale (100 being least corrupt):

  • Public access to information
  • Executive accountability
  • Judicial accountability
  • State civil service management
  • Internal auditing
  • State pension fund management
  • State insurance commissions
  • Political financing
  • Legislative accountability
  • State budget processes
  • Procurement
  • Lobbying disclosure
  • Ethics enforcement agencies
  • Redistricting

New Jersey scored 87 percent, a B+, and took first place as the least corruptible State. Georgia, on the other hand, scored only 49 percent, an F, after failing in nine of the 14 above-mentioned categories.

The State Integrity Investigation, according to its sponsors, does not measure good or morality within States, but rather tests “the structure that governs the government, documenting the laws on the books and investigating the actions that enforce those laws.”

The report explains:

The No. 1 ranking in the State Integrity Investigation does not make New Jersey the least corrupt state in the country, in the same way that seatbelts and airbags don’t prevent car accidents.

So, how did New Jersey win? The state finished first overall in Executive Accountability, Civil Service Management, State Pension Fund Management, and Ethics Enforcement. New Jersey didn’t have a bad category, ranking above the median in 13 of 14 categories. The state also benefitted from weak competition, as evidenced by the fact that its B+ grade was good enough for first place.

To see how your home State did, visit the State Integrity Investigation website.