Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Christians Awaken For Duck Dynasty Flap


Christians Awaken For Duck Dynasty Flap
Chuck Baldwin
Published: Tuesday, December 31, 2013

America is tumbling out of control toward a crash-and-burn impact with disaster, and, for the most part, pastors and churches are asleep--I mean in a coma. Both major parties in Washington, D.C., are selling-out our liberties faster than Chris Christie can swallow a Big Mac, and Christians don't even roll over; George W. Bush and Barack Obama have created the largest surveillance society in the history of mankind, and pastors lie comatose; Dianne Feinstein and her Constitution-hating collaborators in Congress try their best to expunge our right to self-defense, and Christian organizations don't open an eyelid; the right of Habeas Corpus, the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, and our very right of privacy have, for all intents and purposes, been eviscerated by the miscreants in Washington, D.C., and most pastors and Christians remain fast asleep. But let a Christian TV star get the axe for telling a magazine reporter that he views homosexuality as sinful, and Christians storm out of their beds like firemen answering the bell for a five-alarm fire.

Don't get me wrong. The politically-correct entertainment and news industries are hyper-paranoid about anything deemed to be "anti-gay." Homosexuals currently enjoy more protected status than the spotted owl. That A&E would attempt to suspend a long-bearded, redneck Christian for saying homosexuality is a sin should shock no one. Liberal actor Alec Baldwin (no relation to this writer)--a darling of the left-wing establishment--lost his TV show on MSNBC for comments he spoke that were considered to be anti-gay.

Am I glad so many people rallied to the support of Phil Robertson? Yes, of course. Was the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain stupid to pull Duck Dynasty products from their stores as punishment for what Robertson said? They sure were. Are Christians who want to boycott Cracker Barrel and other companies that cater to political-correctness within their rights to do so? You bet. People such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have made careers (not to mention millions of dollars) intimidating private companies with all kinds of boycotts. But I must be honest: this whole episode burns the stew out of me.

In the first place, it doesn't seem to dawn on the vast majority of pastors, churches, and most of these non-profit Christian organizations what the source of all of this politically-correct bull manure really is. The source of all of this dung is that Cesspool by the Potomac: Washington, D.C. It is the policies, laws, and public statements from the White House, Congress, and Supreme Court--not to mention all of the politically-correct propaganda being taught in the government schools and universities--that pressure private companies (especially big companies) to stay on the smiley side of Washington. The IRS can make life a living hell for anyone--and that includes big companies. It wasn't that long ago when the federal government almost closed down Cracker Barrel for what it perceived as acts of discrimination. Take away the intimidation of Washington, D.C., from most of these companies, and the majority of these politically-correct issues (including the homosexual issue) would disappear.

If Christians really wanted to boycott the institution with the biggest pro-homosexual agenda in the world, they would boycott paying taxes to the IRS. Through the US State Department and Pentagon, the homosexual agenda is not only being advanced domestically but internationally. Our State Department hires open homosexuals as diplomats and sends them to countries that hold deep religious and cultural aversions to that lifestyle. More than one country has the homosexual lifestyle thrown in their face through the diplomatic corps of the US State Department. The Pentagon has put homosexuals in the closest of confines with US troops in virtually every military assignment and theater. Various agencies and departments of the federal government spend billions of taxpayer dollars advancing or even demanding a militant homosexual agenda.

Plus, a little intellectual honesty is in order at this point. Not every individual homosexual is a proponent of the militant homosexual agenda. In fact, many homosexuals joined in the chorus of those who were insulted by A&E's flagrant disregard for Mr. Robertson's freedom of speech.

I read Robertson's controversial comments in GQ magazine, and he did NOT single out homosexuality any more than many other acts of immorality. The reporter asked him, "What, in your mind, is sinful?" Robertson simply answered the question by noting a variety of acts he deemed to be sinful by Holy Writ, including sins which he, himself, had committed earlier in his life. He also said that no sin was greater than another sin. He then went on to say that Christ came to redeem men from all of their sin--whatever it was. Has this not been the message of the Gospel for over 2,000 years?

But I remind you that it has been the federal government that has done more to expunge Christian ideology from US society than any other entity in the world--especially since 1962 and '63. And, unfortunately, the CEOs and CFOs of most major corporations are mostly government toadies who will do anything to avoid falling out of the good graces of Washington. Yet, all of this seems lost to the vast majority of pastors, churches, and Christian organizations.

In the second place, it seems to me that the vast majority of pastors and churches only get exercised over two issues: abortion and homosexuality. And lately, most pastors and churches won't even break a sweat opposing abortion. Where are they on the right of self-defense? Where are they on the right to own property? Where are they on the right of privacy? Where are they on the right to be secure in their own homes? Where are they on the Biblical Natural law principles of self-determination, limited, jurisdictional government, and personal liberty? Every one of these issues is a moral issue. Every one of these issues is a fundamental tenet of Biblical Natural Law. Yet, for the most part, none of these issues warrant even the slightest peep of exhortation from the vast majority of pastors, churches, and Christian organizations today.

Christians by the millions verbally descended upon A&E and Cracker Barrel for the politically-correct firing of one man over his personal opinion. But where are they when the politically-correct culture in Washington, D.C., turns into the force of law? Where are they when unconstitutional and, yes, un-Biblical federal mandates threaten the existence of our liberties and our very way of life? Where are they when the politically-correct usurpers in DC abuse the power and force of law that results in the violation--not just of one man and one man's opinion--but of the liberties of every man, woman, and child in the United States? Where are they? They are sound asleep.

If pastors, churches, and Christian organizations would be as vocal and vehement in opposition to turning our country into a giant police state, we would have our privacy back almost overnight. If pastors, churches, and Christian organizations would be as vocal and vehement in their opposition to DC's attacks against our right of self-defense, there would never be another gun control bill put forward and the vast majority of prohibitions against the Second Amendment already in place would be overturned almost immediately. If pastors, churches, and Christian organizations would be as vocal and vehement in their opposition to the rampant misuse of our military and police, justice would be restored almost at once.

Let's be brutally honest: the reason this country is in the dung heap it is in is directly due to the sluggish indifference of America's pastors, churches, and Christian organizations. And I think the flap at A&E and Cracker Barrel proves it.

The massive outcry of millions of pastors and Christians around the country influenced A&E to rehire Phil Robertson. This same outcry influenced Cracker Barrel to return Duck Dynasty products to their stores. If the same kind of massive outcry from millions of pastors and Christians would target the destruction of our Natural God-given liberties emanating from Washington, D.C., the course of our country could be turned around almost overnight. But now that Phil is back on the show and Duck Dynasty products are back on the shelves at Cracker Barrel, I'm confident most of these pastors and Christians are already back in their beds.

P.S. One more time let me remind everyone that we are offering both "Romans 13: The True Meaning of Submission," and "To Keep or Not To Keep: Why Christians Should Not Give Up Their Guns" at a significant discount. These books, written by my constitutional attorney son and me, normally sell for $14.95 each. But for a limited time, the cost is only $17.95 (plus shipping and handling) for BOTH BOOKS.

To order "Romans 13: The True Meaning of Submission," go here:

Romans 13 Truth

To order "To Keep or Not To Keep: Why Christians Should Not Give Up Their Guns," go here:

Keep Your Arms

http://chuckbaldwinlive.com/Articles/tabid/109/ID/1115/Christians-Awaken-For-Duck-Dynasty-Flap.aspx

The Wounded Warriors Project Is a Scam


The Wounded Warriors Project Is a Scam
Laurence M. Vance
December 30, 2013

According to Veterans Today, "As far as I can determine, WWP does little, if any, direct support of wounded warriors and wounded warrior programs." It turns out that "compensation for the top ten WWP employees runs from $150K to $333K per officer annually." Gee, just think of the writing I could do every year with a salary of just 20 percent of the the lowest figure. One woman in the comments section says to a wounded veteran who also commented: "Thank you for your service, without you we would be nothing. " See also the author's follow-up article.

Hat tip to veteran T.M.

Ten Reasons Not to Abolish Slavery


OUR ECONOMIC PAST
Ten Reasons Not to Abolish Slavery
NOVEMBER 18, 2009
by ROBERT HIGGS

Slavery existed for thousands of years, in all sorts of societies and all parts of the world. To imagine human social life without it required an extraordinary effort. Yet, from time to time, eccentrics emerged to oppose it, most of them arguing that slavery is a moral monstrosity and therefore people should get rid of it. Such advocates generally elicited reactions ranging from gentle amusement to harsh scorn and even violent assault.

When people bothered to give reasons for opposing the proposed abolition, they advanced various ideas. Here are ten such ideas I have encountered in my reading.

1. Slavery is natural. People differ, and we must expect that those who are superior in a certain way­for example, in intelligence, morality, knowledge, technological prowess, or capacity for fighting­will make themselves the masters of those who are inferior in this regard. Abraham Lincoln expressed this idea in one of his famous 1858 debates with Senator Stephen Douglas: "[T]here is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

2. Slavery has always existed. This reason exemplifies the logical fallacy argumentum ad antiquitatem (the argument to antiquity or tradition). Nevertheless, it often persuaded people, especially those of conservative bent. Even nonconservatives might give it weight on the quasi-Hayekian ground that although we do not understand why a social institution persists, its persistence may nonetheless be well grounded in a logic we have yet to understand.

3. Every society on earth has slavery. The unspoken corollary is that every society must have slavery. The pervasiveness of an institution seems to many people to constitute compelling proof of its necessity. Perhaps, as one variant maintains, every society has slavery because certain kinds of work are so difficult or degrading that no free person will do them, and therefore unless we have slaves to do these jobs, they will not get done. Someone, as the saying went in the Old South, has to be the mud sill, and free people will not tolerate serving in this capacity.

4. The slaves are not capable of taking care of themselves. This idea was popular in the United States in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries among people, such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who regarded slavery as morally reprehensible yet continued to hold slaves and to obtain personal services from them and income from the products these "servants" (as they preferred to call them) were compelled to produce. It would be cruel to set free people who would then, at best, fall into destitution and suffering.

5. Without masters, the slaves will die off. This idea is the preceding one pushed to its extreme. Even after slavery was abolished in the United States in 1865, many people continued to voice this idea. Northern journalists traveling in the South immediately after the war reported that, indeed, the blacks were in the process of becoming extinct because of their high death rate, low birth rate, and miserable economic condition. Sad but true, some observers declared, the freed people really were too incompetent, lazy, or immoral to behave in ways consistent with their own group survival. (See my 1977 book Competition and Coercion: Blacks in the American Economy, 1865–1914.)

6. Where the common people are free, they are even worse off than slaves. This argument became popular in the South in the decades before the War Between the States. Its leading exponent was the proslavery writer George Fitzhugh, whose book titles speak for themselves: Sociology for the South, or, the Failure of Free Society (1854) and Cannibals All!, or, Slaves Without Masters (1857). Fitzhugh seems to have taken many of his ideas from the reactionary, racist, Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle. The expression "wage slave" still echoes this antebellum outlook. True to his sociological theories, Fitzhugh wanted to extend slavery in the United States to working-class white people, for their own good!

7. Getting rid of slavery would occasion great bloodshed and other evils. In the United States many people assumed that the slaveholders would never permit the termination of the slave system without an all-out fight to preserve it. Sure enough, when the Confederacy and the Union went to war­set aside that the immediate issue was not the abolition of slavery, but the secession of eleven Southern states­great bloodshed and other evils did ensue. These tragic events seemed, in many people's minds, to validate the reason they had given for opposing abolition. (They evidently overlooked that, except in Haiti, slavery was abolished everywhere else in the Western Hemisphere without large-scale violence.)

8. Without slavery the former slaves would run amuck, stealing, raping, killing, and generally causing mayhem. Preservation of social order therefore rules out the abolition of slavery. Southerners lived in dread of slave uprisings. Northerners in the mid-nineteenth century found the situation in their own region already sufficiently intolerable, owing to the massive influx of drunken, brawling Irishmen into the country in the 1840s and 1850s. Throwing free blacks, whom the Irish generally disliked, into the mix would well-nigh guarantee social chaos.

9. Trying to get rid of slavery is foolishly utopian and impractical; only a fuzzy-headed dreamer would advance such a cockamamie proposal. Serious people cannot afford to waste their time considering such farfetched ideas.

10. Forget abolition. A far better plan is to keep the slaves sufficiently well fed, clothed, housed, and occasionally entertained and to take their minds off their exploitation by encouraging them to focus on the better life that awaits them in the hereafter. We cannot expect fairness or justice in this life, but all of us, including the slaves, can aspire to a life of ease and joy in Paradise.

At one time, countless people found one or more of the foregoing reasons adequate grounds on which  to oppose the abolition of slavery. Yet in retrospect, these reasons seem shabby­more rationalizations than reasons.

Today these reasons or very similar ones are used by opponents of a different form of abolitionism: the proposal that government as we know it­monopolistic, individually nonconsensual rule by an armed group that demands obedience and payment of taxes­be abolished. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide whether the foregoing reasons are more compelling in this regard than they were in regard to the proposed abolition of slavery.

http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/ten-reasons-not-to-abolish-slavery#ixzz2p0fWQt00

If You Like Your Governance, You Can Keep It

"Properly understood, anarcho-capitalism is not some crazy theory that "there should be no rules!""

If You Like Your Governance, You Can Keep It
You might be an anarcho-capitalist if you consider this case
DECEMBER 11, 2013
by DAVID J. HEBERT

People often recoil when I mention the very idea of anarcho-capitalism. It has both the A word and the C word­connected by a hyphen. That's some heavy baggage. After all, shouldn't that mean ruthless robber barons getting rich amid social chaos? 
 
Not exactly.
 
Some great scholars have blazed a trail out of those bad connotations. For example, Don Boudreaux wrote a fantastic essay in which he asks whether the State must supply and enforce law. More recently, Benjamin Powell put forth an excellent case in which he argues that the proper question is whether or not anarchy is better than feasible government arrangements a given country faces. Peter Leeson and Claudia Williamson point out that anarchy may be the best that failed or weak states can achieve. And Leeson, along with Daniel Smith, discusses how anarchy once "governed" international trade in the eleventh century -- in fact, it still largely does today.
 
This is all well and good. But people will have to feel that such a worldview works to the benefit of the least advantaged around the globe -- that is, if they can get past the connotations. What about proposing anarcho-capitalism in the developed world?
 
In my experience, putting forth anarcho-capitalism as a solution to policy problems is usually dismissed out of hand -- even among economists who are otherwise pro-market. This has always puzzled me. Anarcho-capitalism seems like a logical extension of already existing arguments for market arrangements in other contexts. For example, it's no mystery why cable companies routinely provide poor service at high cost. They enjoy a geographic monopoly on the provision of their services despite technological advances making the stated reasons for their monopoly status obsolete. Why can't the same be said about governments?

Properly understood, anarcho-capitalism is not some crazy theory that "there should be no rules!" As far as what anarcho-capitalism actually is, let's start with a very basic thought experiment.
 

You Might Be an Anarcho-Capitalist If . . .
 
Suppose that there is a household on the border between the United States and Canada. Currently, this household is a part of the United States and is thus subject to all of its laws, regulations, and tax obligations. After years of being subject to U.S. law, this household is finally fed up (perhaps as a result of some recent policy initiative that passed through Congress). Rather than simply accepting the fact that they must live under a new regime they do not like, they phone up the Canadian government and inquire about the costs and benefits of being subject to Canadian law instead. After careful deliberation, this household decides that it would be much happier as a Canadian household than as an American household. And after similarly careful consideration, the Canadian government decides that they would rather have this household as a citizen of Canada than not. As a result, this household purchases its governance from Canada instead of the United States. This much, at least, should not be terribly contentious: Governments sell governance and citizens purchase this governance in the form of paying taxes. All that is different in this case is that the border between the United States and Canada is not exogenously defined and, instead, is determined by people shopping for their government without having to move. If this doesn't sound contentious, then you might be an anarcho-capitalist.
 

Pizza in Virginia
 
The next step would be to consider a household in, say, Virginia. We can imagine this household similarly getting fed up with U.S. policy and wanting to purchase governance from Canada as well. However, it would be unlikely that the Canadian government would agree to sell governance to this household: The cost of providing the services would be entirely too high. Imagine providing national defense or a police force for a small household that is geographically separate from the rest of your customers. And in fact, this is not all that difficult to imagine. For example, in college I spent many a Friday night eating Hungry Howie's pizza with friends. In Virginia, however, there is no Hungry Howie's. If I were to call the Hungry Howie's in Hillsdale, Michigan, and ask them to deliver a pizza to Fairfax, Virginia, they would (correctly) deny me service. Why? The cost of getting the pizza to me is entirely too high to be worth their effort at a price that I would be willing to pay. Governments, like pizza shops, would not have an obligation to provide governance to anyone. Only to those who pay the requisite price would receive the service.

What this household in Virginia could do then is to start their own government that is completely separate from the U.S. government. This household would be free to offer governance to nearby households as well, and if those other households found the terms agreeable, they would be free to join this new country. This is no different from saying that the household in Virginia is free to set up their own pizza company and sell their pizza to the locals.
 

Self-Determination
 
So, to recap: Anarcho-capitalism is not a radical idea that there should be no rules at all. Instead, it's a system where man is free to choose the provider of the rules under which he lives. Discussion of anarcho-capitalism in this light is nothing new. In fact, this discussion was inspired directly by rereading Mises's Liberalism (1929), where he says:

The right of self-determination in regard to the question of membership in a state thus means: whenever the inhabitants of a particular territory, whether it be a single village, a whole district, or a series of adjacent districts, make it known, by a freely conducted plebiscite, that they no longer wish to remain united to the state to which they belong at the time, but wish either to form an independent state or to attach themselves to some other state, their wishes are to be respected and complied with.
 
Obviously the explanation of anarcho-capitalism put forth here is simple and leaves much to be discussed (provision of public goods, interaction between governments, etc.). I won't pretend to have all of the answers to these questions or solutions to these problems. That's not evidence that anything I've said up to this point is wrong, though. In fact, economics -- properly understood -- is a practice in which one acknowledges the fact that one person can't have solutions to certain kinds of complex problems, which is the job of markets made up of millions of entrepreneurs and arbitrageurs. Adam Smith wrote in 1776 about how a woolen coat gets made. Bastiat recognized that Paris gets fed daily without any one person being in charge. And Leonard Read regaled us with his classic "I, Pencil." That one person cannot answer a question of "well how would X be provided or accomplished?" is by no means an admission that government should try to accomplish it by default. (An excellent place to start thinking about these problems is David Friedman's Machinery of Freedom, available for free in its entirety here.)
 

You Can Have Whatever You Like
 
Instead, beyond what I have shown, all I want to advocate for here is the consistent and persistent application of economic thinking to the world around us. Rules, laws and other forms of governance are economic goods. And as economics teaches us, the provision of economic goods is best left to the market. Properly understood, anarcho-capitalism is simply the belief that individuals know what's best for them regarding the provision of governance. As such, they should be able to purchase whatever governance they like just as they can purchase pizza from whatever pizza company they like.

http :// www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/if-you-like-your-governance-you-can-keep-it#ixzz2ouGvRcg8

Ten Years After Decriminalization, Drug Abuse Down by Half in Portugal


Ten Years After Decriminalization, Drug Abuse Down by Half in Portugal
Erik Kain
7/05/2011

Drug warriors often contend that drug use would skyrocket if we were to legalize or decriminalize drugs in the United States. Fortunately, we have a real-world example of the actual effects of ending the violent, expensive War on Drugs and replacing it with a system of treatment for problem users and addicts.

Ten years ago, Portugal decriminalized all drugs. One decade after this unprecedented experiment, drug abuse is down by half:

Health experts in Portugal said Friday that Portugal's decision 10 years ago to decriminalise drug use and treat addicts rather than punishing them is an experiment that has worked.
.
"There is no doubt that the phenomenon of addiction is in decline in Portugal," said Joao Goulao, President of the Institute of Drugs and Drugs Addiction, a press conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the law.
.
The number of addicts considered "problematic" ­ those who repeatedly use "hard" drugs and intravenous users ­ had fallen by half since the early 1990s, when the figure was estimated at around 100,000 people, Goulao said.
.
Other factors had also played their part however, Goulao, a medical doctor added.
.
"This development can not only be attributed to decriminalisation but to a confluence of treatment and risk reduction policies."

Many of these innovative treatment procedures would not have emerged if addicts had continued to be arrested and locked up rather than treated by medical experts and psychologists. Currently 40,000 people in Portugal are being treated for drug abuse. This is a far cheaper, far more humane way to tackle the problem. Rather than locking up 100,000 criminals, the Portuguese are working to cure 40,000 patients and fine-tuning a whole new canon of drug treatment knowledge at the same time.

None of this is possible when waging a war.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/07/05/ten-years-after-decriminalization-drug-abuse-down-by-half-in-portugal/

A New Year and Old Problems


January 1, 2014
A New Year and Old Problems
Thomas Sowell

Whenever we stand on the threshold of a new year, we are tempted to forget the hazards of prophecy, and try to see what may lie on the other side of this arbitrary division of time.

Sometimes we are content to try to change ourselves with New Year's resolutions to do better in some respect. Changing ourselves is a much more reasonable undertaking than trying to change other people. It may or may not succeed, but it seldom creates the disasters that trying to change others can produce.

When we look beyond ourselves to the world around us, peering into the future can be a very sobering, if not depressing, experience.

ObamaCare looms large and menacing on our horizon. This is not just because of computer problems, or even because some people who think that they have enrolled may discover at their next visit to a doctor that they do not have any insurance coverage.

What ObamaCare has done, thanks to Chief Justice Roberts' Supreme Court decision, is reduce us all from free citizens to cowed subjects, whom the federal government can order around in our own personal lives, in defiance of the 10th Amendment and all the other protections of our freedom in the Constitution of the United States.

ObamaCare is more than a medical problem, though there are predictable medical problems -- and even catastrophes -- that will unfold in the course of 2014 and beyond. Our betters have now been empowered to run our lives, with whatever combination of arrogance and incompetence they may have, or however much they lie.

The challenges ahead are much clearer than what our responses will be. Perhaps the most hopeful sign is that increasing numbers of people seem to have finally -- after nearly five long years -- begun to see Barack Obama for what he is, rather than for what he seemed to be, when judged by his image and rhetoric.

What kind of man would blithely disrupt the medical care of millions of Americans, and then repeatedly lie to them with glib assurances that they could keep their doctors or health insurance if they wanted to?

What kind of man would set up a system in which people would be forced by law to risk their life savings, because they had to divulge their financial identification numbers to strangers who could turn out to be convicted felons?

With all the time that elapsed between the passage of ObamaCare and its going into effect, why were the so-called "navigators" who were to be handling other people's financial records never investigated for criminal convictions? What explanation could there be, other than that Obama didn't care?

Caring is not a matter of words. "By their fruits ye shall know them" -- not by their rhetoric, image or symbolism.

Those who have still not yet seen through Barack Obama will have many more opportunities to do so during the coming year, as the medical, financial and other painful human consequences of ObamaCare keep coming out in ways so clear that not even the mainstream media can ignore them or obscure them.

The question then is: What can be done about it? Nothing can be done about Obama himself. He has three more years in office and, as he pointed out to the Russians, he will no longer have to face the American voters.

ObamaCare, however, has no such immunity. It is always hard to repeal an elaborate program after it has gone into effect. But Prohibition was repealed, even though it was a Constitutional Amendment that required super-majorities in both houses of Congress and super-majorities of state legislatures to repeal.

In our two-party system, everything depends on whether the Republicans step up to the plate and act like responsible adults who understand that ObamaCare represents a historic crossroads that will determine what kind of people we are going to be, for this generation and generations yet unborn -- citizens or subjects.

This means that Republicans have to decide whether their top priority is internal strife among the different wings of the party -- another circular firing squad -- or whether either wing puts the country first.

A prediction on how that will turn out in the new year would be far too hazardous to attempt.

http://townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2013/12/31/a-new-year-and-old-problems-n1770005

Fwd: Court Upholds Willy-Nilly Gadget Searches Along U.S. Border







 

Court Upholds Willy-Nilly Gadget Searches Along U.S. Border

A federal judge today upheld a President Barack Obama administration policy allowing authorities along the U.S. border to seize and search laptops, smartphones and other electronic devices for any reason.

The decision (.pdf) by U.S. District Judge Edward Korman in New York comes as laptops, and now smartphones, have become virtual extensions of ourselves, housing everything from email to instant-message chats to our papers and effects.

The American Civil Liberties Union brought the challenge nearly three years ago, claiming U.S. border officials should have reasonable suspicion to search gadgets along the border because of the data they store. But Judge Korman said the so-called "border exemption," in which people can be searched for no reason at all along the border, continues to apply in the digital age.

Alarmingly, the government contends the Fourth-Amendment-Free Zone stretches 100 miles inland from the nation's actual border.

The judge said it "would be foolish, if not irresponsible" to store sensitive information on electronic devices while traveling internationally.

Korman ruled:

Laptops have only come into widespread use in the twenty-first century. Prior to that time, lawyers, photographers, and scholars managed to travel overseas and consult with clients, take photographs, and conduct scholarly research. No one ever suggested the possibility of a border search had a chilling effect on his or her First Amendment rights. While it is true that laptops may make overseas work more convenient, the precautions plaintiffs may choose to take to 'mitigate' the alleged harm associated with the remote possibility of a border search are simply among the many inconveniences associated with international travel.

The ACLU said it was mulling an appeal.

"We're disappointed in today's decision, which allows the government to conduct intrusive searches of Americans' laptops and other electronics at the border without any suspicion that those devices contain evidence of wrongdoing," said Catherine Crump, the American Civil Liberties Union attorney who argued the case in July 2011. "Suspicionless searches of devices containing vast amounts of personal information cannot meet the standard set by the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Unfortunately, these searches are part of a broader pattern of aggressive government surveillance that collects information on too many innocent people, under lax standards, and without adequate oversight."

The case was brought on behalf of 29-year-old Pascal Abidor, whose laptop was seized for 11 as he was traveling by rail from Canada to his parents' New York residence in 2010. He was an Islamic studies graduate student in Canada.

At an Amtrak inspection point, he showed his U.S. passport to an agent. He was ordered to move to the cafe car, where they removed his laptop from his luggage and "ordered Mr. Abidor to enter his password," according to the lawsuit.

Agents asked him about pictures they found on his laptop, which included Hamas and Hezbollah rallies. He explained to the agent that he was earning a doctoral degree in the modern history of Shiites in Lebanon.

He was handcuffed and then jailed for three hours while the authorities looked through his computer, according to the suit. Numerous agents questioned him, the suit says.

They released him and kept his laptop, until his lawyer complained.

Plaintiffs in the suit also include the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Press Photographers Association. The lawyers' group maintains search policy exposes privileged communications. The photographers say the policy interferes "with their ability to do their work."

The decision supports a conclusion 10 months ago from the Department of Homeland Security's civil rights watchdog that said that travelers along the nation's borders may have their electronics seized and the contents of those devices examined for any reason whatsoever — all in the name of national security.

The President George W. Bush administration first announced the suspicionless, electronics search rules in 2008. The Obama administration followed up with virtually the same rules a year later. Between 2008 and 2010, 6,500 persons had their electronic devices searched along the U.S. border, according to DHS data.



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Fwd: Saudis Recognize Obama as a 'Girly Man' President







http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/saudis-recognize-obama-as-a-girly-man-president?f=must_reads

 

Saudis Recognize Obama as a 'Girly Man' President

by LT. COLONEL JAMES G. ZUMWALT, USMC (RET) December 30, 2013

 

"Saturday Night Live" has run a series of comedy sketches mimicking Arnold Schwarzenegger -- "Pumping Up with Hans and Franz." "Weightlifters" Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon dressed up in sweat suits with inflated, fake muscles. The duo mocked those who didn't lift weights as "girly men." Emphasizing the importance of being fit, Hans or Franz warned, "Hear me now, believe me later."

Early in his first term, U.S. President Barack Obama announced two major foreign policy objectives. Those knowledgeable about the complexities of these objectives recognized the futility of pursuing them. But, an eloquent Obama made it sound possible. For "SNL" fans, it was "Hear me now, believe me later" all over again.

With three years remaining in office, Obama has yet to achieve either -- his plea now falling on deaf ears. Ironically, one objective -- announced in Cairo in June 2009 -- was doomed the same day, ultimately sealing the fate -- and failure -- of the other.

U.S. manufacturers are held accountable for faulty representations; unfortunately, rarely are our presidents.

In the Middle East, Obama sought to establish a new relationship with a region of the world condemned to turmoil for centuries by its dominant religion. Obama's Cairo speech sought to engage Muslim extremists and moderates alike in a new beginning with the United States.

A student of Islam, Obama should have known better. The likelihood of success for this objective was "zilch" -- for it not only involved bridging the great divide between Muslim and Western world mindsets but also between extremist and moderate Muslim mindsets. If 1,400 years of sectarian strife proved Muslims incapable of bridging the latter to start a new beginning among themselves, how could Obama expect to be successful?

Many outlandish statements were made in Cairo by Obama in direct contravention of Islam's holy book. He suggested, "I know there are many -- Muslim and non-Muslim -- who question whether we can forge this new beginning... Some suggest that it isn't worth the effort -- that we are fated to disagree and civilizations are doomed to clash."

Clash is exactly what the Koran orders, requiring all non-Muslims convert to Islam or be put to death. Thus, a clash of civilizations based on different religions is unavoidable. Obama made no effort to stress all religions demand mutual respect.

Praising Islam's major contributions of long ago, Obama failed to emphasize its failure to contribute much to mankind's advancement since then.

In seeking to "reset" the United States' relationship with the Muslim world, Obama neglected to remind his audience that that relationship got off to a bad start more than two centuries earlier solely due to unprovoked attacks on U.S. ships by Muslim pirates.

Nor did he explain, seeking to avoid war then, the United States opted to pay the pirates tribute -- only to have them renege, forcing America to fight a war in which it prevailed.

In 2011, the Arab Spring ravaged the Middle East. "New beginnings" in affected countries saw Muslim women and non-Muslims victimized. As established leaders fell, Obama never quite grasped who should and shouldn't be supported -- in most cases, opting to do nothing. In Egypt, Christians were put to the sword.

On Dec. 17, the Saudi ambassador to Britain wrote an op-ed in the New York Times lambasting Saudi's "Western partners" for inaction against Syria and Iran. He noted, "rather than challenging the Syrian and Iranian governments, some of our Western partners have refused to take much-needed action against them. The West has allowed one regime to survive and the other to continue its program for uranium enrichment, with all the consequent dangers of weaponization."

The ambassador continued: "We expected to be standing shoulder to shoulder with our friends and partners who have previously talked so much about the importance of moral values in foreign policy. But this year, for all their talk of 'red lines,' when it counted, our partners have seemed all too ready to concede our safety and risk our region's stability."

That last sentence references Obama's failure to act against Syria should it use chemical weapons.

Rarely has Saudi Arabia publicly criticized the United States but the ambassador's scathing comments left no doubt -- Obama may be eloquent but he is a "girly man" when it comes to acting in the Middle East. The op-ed -- entitled "Saudi Arabia Will Go It Alone" -- is Riyadh's recognition the United States has surrendered its leadership role there. Such an opinion would only have been expressed by the ambassador with the Saudi king's approval.

Saudi Arabia's "go it alone" decision brings to the fore Obama's second announced foreign policy initiative failure.

In an April 2009 speech, Obama announced the United States' "moral responsibility" to work toward "a world without nuclear weapons." With North Korea and Iran both engaged in nuclear weapons programs they wouldn't surrender, only a fool believed such a world possible.

Today, having failed to stop either nuclear program, Obama has created an arms race. With the United States no longer a reliable partner, Saudi Arabia is acquiring such weapons from Pakistan. Other countries are joining the race, recognizing Iran seeks such weapons to secure Shiite dominance over Sunni nations.

Obama's vision of a "world without nuclear weapons" and initiative to get there has only created a more dangerous world as multiple regional players are securing nuclear weapons to protect themselves due to an American lack of leadership.

Looking back on Obama's 2009 foreign policy initiatives brings to mind the Miss America contestant who, when asked what she would do if elected president, responded she would pursue world peace. While such naivete may be acceptable from a beauty contestant as a hypothetical U.S. president, it isn't from an elected one -- unless, of course, he is a girly man. 

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (Ret.), is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam war, the U.S. invasion of Panama and the first Gulf war. He is the author of "Bare Feet, Iron Will--Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam's Battlefields," "Living the Juche Lie: North Korea's Kim Dynasty" and "Doomsday: Iran--The Clock is Ticking." He frequently writes on foreign policy and defense issues.

 



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Fwd: The Magic Words: Credible Fear



No illegal should ever be allowed to remain here for even one minute. No exceptions. 

And no one should ever be granted amnesty.  We don't need other's rabble-rousers and troublemakers.




 

The Magic Words: Credible Fear

by Phyllis Schlafly

January 1, 2014

Those who seek to enter the United States illegally are resourceful in selecting their route. They climb over fences, scramble through underground tunnels, swim through waterways, and claw their way through the heat of the Arizona desert.

Now, some illegals have learned two magic words that let them in legally. They can walk up to a border agent and say: "credible fear."

These may be the only words they can speak in English, but they are sufficient to unlock the gates of our borders. Credible fear applications have increased from 5,000 to more than 36,000, with the biggest numbers coming from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

If a credible fear application passes an initial screening interview, the applicant is allowed to live and work in the U.S. until his case is resolved. That might take years.

The House Judiciary Committee recently held a hearing to examine reports that the asylum system is being exploited by drug traffickers. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) accused some asylum seekers of "gaming the system"; they "get free education, free healthcare."

Such a loose system invites fraud. Last year in New York, 26 people including six attorneys were indicted on charges that they manufactured asylum claims and coached Chinese clients on how to lie to immigration officials. In 2012, more than 10,000 people from China were granted asylum.

The House Judiciary Committee discovered a woman in the U.S. on an asylum claim who three months later was caught at a Border Patrol checkpoint with more than $1 million worth of cocaine. According to Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), "dangerous criminals are gaming the system by claiming they have a 'credible fear' of persecution when often they've been the perpetrators of violence themselves."

According to Rep. Goodlatte, the law requires most people claiming "credible fear" to be put in mandatory detention until their case is resolved. But, surprise, surprise, the Obama Administration argues that they should be released rather than detained unless there is a demonstrable danger to the community.

Among the 70,000 Iraqis admitted to the U.S. as war refugees were several dozen suspected terrorist bomb-makers, including some believed to have targeted U.S. troops, according to the FBI agents investigating the roadside bombs recovered from Iraq and Afghanistan. An Iraqi named Waad Ramadan Alwan, who claimed to be a refugee, was allowed to settle in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where he moved into public housing and collected public assistance handouts.

The FBI secretly taped Alwan, which recorded him bragging that he had built a dozen bombs in Iraq and used sniper rifles to target American soldiers near Baghdad. Bowling Green residents are asking why this criminal was allowed to move to their town.

The FBI now admits that dozens of terrorist bomb-makers were allowed to move to the U.S. as war refugees. Don't forget the Boston Marathon Bombers who were admitted to the U.S. using the asylum racket and then received welfare handouts.

Asylum requests from Mexico soared to 36,000 in fiscal 2013, and 2,000 recent applicants carried a bleeding-heart letter describing their alleged need for asylum. A local official named C. Ramon Contreras Orozco has been busy providing these letters, which have been copied, resold or forged for a going rate of $75 each.

The U.S. Border Patrol reported a "surge of unaccompanied minors coming across our border," some used by drug smugglers. Border statistics released this December show that 24,668 "unaccompanied alien children" were housed in federally funded U.S. care centers last year, double the 2012 number, and quadruple the number in previous years.

Our Border Patrol arrested a 12-year-old boy illegally smuggling 80 pounds of marijuana on his back from Mexico into Texas. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) commented that some of the so-called Dreamers, portrayed as having been innocently brought into the U.S. as children by their parents, actually were "hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."

Federal Judge Andrew S. Hanen of Texas accused the Department of Homeland Security of hand-delivering children smuggled into the U.S. to their illegal alien parents. The judge said that Customs and Border Protection agents helped to locate and deliver the kids to their parents, and U.S. taxpayers paid the bill for flights to multiple locations to find the parents.

One of those children was delivered to the person who paid the smuggler. The judge accused the government of "completing the criminal mission" of human traffickers "who are violating the border security of the United States" and assisting a "criminal conspiracy in achieving its illegal goals."

Judge Hanen called the Administration's behavior "dangerous and unconscionable" and said that "DHS should cease telling the citizens of the United States that it is enforcing our border security laws because it is clearly not. Even worse, it is helping those who violate these laws."

 



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Fwd: [New post] Russian president Vlaidmir Putin vows ‘total annihilation’ of the Muslim terrorists who were behind the recent suicide bombings and bus bombings which killed dozens and wounded many more






BareNakedIslam posted: " While visiting survivors of the most recent terrorist bombings, Putin vowed to pursue these Muslim terrorists to their "total annihilation" in his first public comments since the Volgograd suicide bombings. "The inhumane terrorist acts in Volgograd" were"

New post on BARE NAKED ISLAM

Russian president Vlaidmir Putin vows 'total annihilation' of the Muslim terrorists who were behind the recent suicide bombings and bus bombings which killed dozens and wounded many more

by BareNakedIslam

While visiting survivors of the most recent terrorist bombings, Putin vowed to pursue these Muslim terrorists to their "total annihilation" in his first public comments since the Volgograd suicide bombings. "The inhumane terrorist acts in Volgograd" were among the biggest challenges Russia faced in 2013." RT  The deadly suicide attacks in Volgograd forced Vladimir Putin to make […]

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BareNakedIslam | January 1, 2014 at 5:00 pm | URL: http://wp.me/p276zM-10v5

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Fwd: [New post] FRANCE: Nothing says ‘Happy New Year’ like the Muslim tradition of car torchings




BareNakedIslam posted: "Burn out the old year, torch in the new. How many cars will Muslims in France incinerate this year? We'll probably never know the actual numbers. Firefighters extinguish a burning car during New Year's eve celebrations in Lille last night. While we don'"

New post on BARE NAKED ISLAM

FRANCE: Nothing says 'Happy New Year' like the Muslim tradition of car torchings

by BareNakedIslam

Burn out the old year, torch in the new. How many cars will Muslims in France incinerate this year? We'll probably never know the actual numbers. Firefighters extinguish a burning car during New Year's eve celebrations in Lille last night. While we don't know if the government will put a media blackout on the annual […]

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BareNakedIslam | January 1, 2014 at 2:57 pm | URL: http://wp.me/p276zM-10uC

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Fwd: Huge story gets little coverage







http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/archives/sunnews/straighttalk/2013/12/20131231-093734.html

Huge story gets little coverage

The most important news story of 2013 went all but unreported.

Petronas, the giant Malaysian oil and gas company, announced a $36 billion investment in British Columbia. For comparison, that's larger than the entire GDP of New Brunswick or Newfoundland. They're going to frack for natural gas, pipe it to the coast and load it into specialized tanker ships for LNG - "liquefied natural gas." They'll ship it from North America, where gas sells for about $3.50 per thousand cubic feet, to Asia, where it sells for up to $19. This news was reported precisely once in Canada's largest newspaper, the Toronto Star. Other newspapers noted it in passing, usually buried in the business section. The CBC reported the announcement and then dropped it, going back to their usual diet of anti-fracking fearmongering.

Compare that coverage with, say, the proposed Canada-Europe trade deal. That proposal got substantial coverage (as it should have). But it's only worth $12 billion a year.

This fits a pattern. How many Canadians know that the two proposed oilsands pipelines in B.C. - Enbridge's Northern Gateway Pipeline and Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain expansion - would entail more than $13 billion in construction work?

Petronas plus those two projects are nearly $50 billion right there. Add in TransCanada Pipelines' proposed $12 billion Energy East pipeline and the Canadian leg of their $5 billion Keystone XL pipeline, and you're just a touch smaller than Canada's entire auto industry output.

But that's just the construction of these pipelines. That's not what's going to be shipped through them every year. The oil pipelines, at today's prices, will pump more than $100 billion a year. And the Petronas gas project, over its lifetime, measures more than a trillion dollars.

Any of these five projects would be the largest public works project in Canada today - and none of them use any Canadian taxpayers' money. Taken together they represent the largest construction boom in Canadian history, greater than building the Canadian Pacific Railway or the St. Lawrence Seaway.

So why have they received so little coverage?

It's true, the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines have received enormous attention - but it has all been political coverage, dominated by professional anti-oilsands lobbyists, almost all of whom are paid for by foreign interests to whip up environmental fears. That suits most journalists just fine - it's more fun to cover a stunt by Greenpeace than to report on a dry economic study. And most reporters aren't good at math anyways. There are other explanations, too. Most journalists are based in Toronto and Ottawa, and the centre of gravity of these projects is in the west, a place not well-known or well-liked by many reporters. And then there's the ideological explanation: Many reporters just don't support heavy industry, and are inherently suspicious of capitalism itself. They are true believers in the superstition that using oil and gas causes global warming, even though the UN itself has reported no global warming since 1998.

But hundreds of thousands of Canadians know how important oil and gas is. It's what's lifted Saskatchewan and Newfoundland from economic "have-not" to "have" status. It's what has lured thousands of Atlantic Canadians west, for the promise to earn six figures. Ask a journalist what the most important story of 2013 was and they'll tell you it was Rob Ford or Miley Cyrus.

But that's the difference between the world of work and the world of chatter and gossip.

 



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Fwd: First You Laugh: Rules for the Knockout Game







First You Laugh: Rules for the Knockout Game

Posted By Colin Flaherty On January 1, 2014

They always laugh, these Knockout Game artists. That is why they call it a game. The fun is more important than the violence.

But lots of media reports ignore that.

The latest example of the Knockout Game in Charlottesville, Virginia illustrates  all of the features of this increasingly popular past time. Let's start with the central organizing feature of the mayhem: First, the attackers were black.

Jeanne Doucette and her boyfriend Marc Adams were enjoying the holiday season in downtown Charlottesville when Adams tripped. As he tried to get up, three black people came upon them, one said something, perhaps even offering him a hand up.

Much like a similar episode of the Knockout Game last year in Springfield, Missouri: A bicyclist hit a pot hole near a black fraternity party, causing him to fly over the handlebars.  One of the party-goers came out to see if biker was alright. When he put his hand out to help him up, he punched the bicyclist in the face with the other hand.

Then walked away laughing.

Marc Adams is not clear about what his attacker said prior to the beginning of the Knockout Game.  According to the C-Ville Weekly, they

kicked Adams while he was on the ground, before being joined by his friends who beat Adams severely, breaking his ankle, cracking ribs and knocking out one of his teeth.

While Doucette suffered bruising to her head and tearing of the cartilage in her ear, Adams bore the brunt of the men's aggression, sustaining broken bones and a concussion that he said has robbed him of any memory of the incident and its immediate aftermath.

All for no other reason than the attackers could attack and the victims could not resist.  The predators did not utter any racial epithets. None that the victims told police anyway. Without the magic words, it would not be correct to call this a hate crime.

But given that the overwhelming number of people who play this game are black, and most of the victims are not, it would be equally incorrect to say race has no role in the violence. Or that the violence is random. It is not.

The assault moved up the street as Adams and Doucette tried to escape their attackers. They screamed at passersby for help. They screamed at their attackers to stop. No one listened. The beating continued.

Then came the next identifying feature of the Knockout Game: The laughing.

they had no apparent interest in robbing her. Instead, she said, they seemed to delight in the brutality.

"They were laughing, high-fiving, hugging, and then returning to kick him," said Doucette. "There was some kind of camaraderie to it."

The predators laugh. They are having fun. In Philadelphia, a businessman in a similar situation pleaded with his attackers to stop. He asked them: "Why are you doing this? Why?"

"Its not our fault you can't fight," they told him. Then the laughing started again.

In Milwaukee, when a group of 50 to 100  black people attacked a few white kids on a Fourth of July picnic, a black woman stood over a white woman during the attack and motioned to her friend, laughing: "White girl bleed a lot," she said, laughing even louder.

Her friends thought that was funny too. Maybe because it was true.

The laughing predators are documented in White Girl Bleed a Lot: The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore it.

Eventually the violence ended when the attackers knocked Adams out. And they got tired of beating up the girlfriend. But not before Doucette took their pictures.

Then came the next traditional phase of the Knockout Game: The dismissal.  The disinterest. Doucette turned her photos over to police and waited for the full court press to catch the dangerous men who tried to kill her boyfriend. And her.

Not that anyone would call this a life threatening attack. That's another part of the Knockout Game:  Police and reporters usually call the injuries "non-life threatening" or minor — when this kind of violence can shatter a life time for a long time.

And the perpetrators are rarely apprehended.

The victims — and their families – are now left wondering what happened. Why no one cares. And why they feel weird about talking about the fact that their attackers were black, and it has happened before. Many times.

That is what happened to Sherry Godfrey in Springfield, Missouri when her son was the victim of racial violence from people attending (another) black fraternity party in Springfield.  Police did not investigate, other than asking a few perfunctory questions of a few party-goers. And when, last year, Godfrey asked if her son was the victim of racial violence, officials at the school where the attackers attended and local met met her inquiries with impatience. Then silence.  Says Godfrey:

If you have never been to Springfield, there might be a reason: Not much happens here. It is the home of Brad Pitt and Bass Pro Shops. It is a quiet and safe place to raise a family. So we thought.

After learning more about this epidemic of racial violence, I asked the police officers investigating the assault on my son if this had ever happened before in Springfield.

"All the time," he said.

But no stories in the paper.

Unhappy with the police and media indifference to her son's beating, she put up a web site — JusticeInSpringfield.com — where she gathered all the police reports and other information about the attack on her son. The perpetrators have yet to be brought to justice, but she's not giving up:

We know that people at the party know who is responsible. We are putting up this web site in the hope that telling the world who they are, they will tell the world what they know. Trevor never saw his attackers and was unable to defend himself,  but we are going to fight back by seeking justice.

And now Doucette and Adams are today where Sherry Godfrey was last year. Says the C-Ville Weekly:

Nearly two weeks after the attack, the physical wounds are healing, but both Doucette and Adams are troubled by what they see as a lack of response from the Charlottesville Police Department.

"It's like they don't care," said Doucette, who said she called police on December 29 to follow up on the investigation and was told that the case had been suspended due to a lack of information and had not been assigned to a detective. "I don't understand why they couldn't even have the courtesy to call and say we're not even going to look for them," she said.

That's not how the Knockout Game is played, that's why.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.


Article printed from FrontPage Magazine: http://www.frontpagemag.com

URL to article: http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/colin-flaherty/first-you-laugh-rules-for-the-knockout-game/

 



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