Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Gerard and McGarvey: Now Is the Time for the Keystone XL Pipeline : Roll Call Opinion

Gerard and McGarvey: Now Is the Time for the Keystone XL Pipeline : Roll Call Opinion

Barry; Balls of Marshmellow

From: National Review Online

NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE www.nationalreview.com PRINT
If, as is frequently claimed, conservative fears of a federal gun registry are paranoid and spurious, then the stand that Oklahoma senator Tom Coburn is taking in the Senate will presumably be welcomed by all sides. On this week’s Fox News Sunday, Coburn bluntly affirmed that any background-check bill emanating from the Senate “absolutely will not” contain any provision for “record-keeping of legitimate, law-abiding gun owners.” The inclusion of such a scheme, he declared, would “kill this bill” — and any others to boot. As well it should: As things stand, the Firearm Owners Protection Act mandates the federal government to destroy within 24 hours any information that it gathers during background checks; all who are jealous of their liberty must ensure that this remains law.
Contrary to the claims of some on the right, President Obama has not advocated any form of gun registration. But, despite how it sometimes appears, President Obama is not the entire U.S. government, and while he may have kept quiet on the matter, others have not been so wise. Illinois representative Bobby Rush has thrice introduced the “Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act” — first in 2007, again in 2009, and, most recently, as soon as the 113th Congress convened in January of this year. Rush’s bill would require all gun owners to possess a federal firearm license and allow the attorney general to create and oversee a national gun registry.
Another bill, introduced in January of this year by Representative Rush Holt, would “provide for the mandatory licensing and registration of handguns.” And Senator Dianne Feinstein, who authored the 1994 “assault weapons” ban, included registration of grandfathered weapons in her recent “assault weapons” bill and has a history of proposing national gun registration. A host of other bills include provisions, both large and small, by which the federal government might keep tabs on Americans’ gun ownership.
An American gun registry has been an aim of gun-control advocacy groups for almost 40 years — and not always as a stand-alone measure. Reinforcing the worst “slippery slope” fears held by Second Amendment advocates, the chairman of the Brady Campaign explained the role of gun registries in 1976:
The first problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns being produced and sold in this country. The second problem is to get handguns registered. And the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition — except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors — totally illegal.
The threat to liberty inherent in gun registries should be painfully self-evident, especially when combined with the horrifying history of such programs elsewhere. The sheer fruitlessness of such systems, however, is not so apparent, and the uninitiated could be forgiven for wondering, “What’s the fuss?” Luckily, a few other countries — countries regarded by the gun-control lobby as being more enlightened than the United States and happily lacking in the pernicious influence of the National Rifle Association — have tried and abandoned gun registries, providing an example that Americans would do well not to follow.
Canada’s experiment with a long-gun registry, ostensibly contrived to prevent “violence against women” — it’s always for “women” or “the children,” isn’t it? — achieved little more than to demonstrate what the less na├»ve among us already knew: that criminals do not abide by the law. As Mauser has noted, data from Statistics Canada show not just that only 4 percent of long guns used in Canadian homicides were registered, but also that the claim that such registration will help the police to “monitor potentially dangerous gun owners” is upside down. Instead, statistics reveal that Canadians who own legally registered guns are less dangerous to their fellow citizens than those who either do not own guns at all or own unregistered guns. Unsurprisingly, while the long-gun registry was in force, in not a single case did the police employ it in order to identify a murderer.
When, as the culmination of a piecemeal process that began in 1995, the registry was created in 2003, Canada’s parliament promised that its cost would not exceed $2 million. By 2012, the registry had cost taxpayers $2.7 billion — a 134,900 percent increase on projections. (In the U.S., a registry costing the same amount per person would run $67 billion over the same time.) For this considerable outlay, the government reaped a homicide rate that dropped more slowly than that of the United States, a country in which gun laws have been slowly liberalized; a collection of disillusioned police forces, whose budgets were being eaten up by the growing costs of gun registration; and an angry citizenry whose indignation, Gary Mauser observes, was serious enough to create a peculiar coalition of the Reform, Progressive, Conservative, and New Democratic parties and to wipe out the Liberal party in the West. The registry was abolished in 2012.
New Zealand’s long-gun-registry experiment ended in failure, too. By the early 1980s, New Zealand’s National Police pleaded with that country’s parliament to abandon the system, having watched ballooning budgets lead only to a lot of wasted time and to the expansion of a system that, frankly, didn’t do anything useful. In 1983, parliament, conceding that criminals are unlikely to leave registered guns at the scenes of their crimes, complied.
Very little thought is necessary to render as a sick joke the oft-repeated claim that police benefit from knowing who has guns and who hasn’t. A registry tells authorities which law-abiding citizens have weapons and which don’t — which at best is useless information, and at worst is yet another case of government’s failing to do anything about the criminal and so going after the rest of us instead. The reductio ad absurdum of this tendency has been well documented by the historian Clayton Cramer. “The U.S. Supreme Court,” Cramer writes,
ruled in Haynes vs. U.S. (1968) that convicted felons have a Constitutional right to not register a gun, because to register a gun would be self-incrimination. Only people that aren’t criminals can be punished for not registering. If the criminals aren’t required to register, but you and I are, why bother?
As Cramer noted, the Supreme Court thus ruled that on Fifth Amendment grounds “a person illegally possessing a firearm, under either federal or state law, [can] not be punished for failing to register it.” This conceit has been upheld elsewhere, too. I have no great objection to this principle, but it does highlight the absurdity of an approach that would see constitutionally protected individual liberties being strictly guarded in the case of criminals but restricted when it comes to the law-abiding. Practically speaking, the Haynes decision legally exempts from any future registry the very people whose behavior is used to justify its necessity. Surely, if we are going to become so strict about the Constitution, then the Second and Fourth Amendments should share in the bounty?
If good sense prevails, this principle will never need to be tested. As John Lott argued in 2012, “in parts of the United States where registration is required, the results have been no different” from what they were in Canada. “Neither Hawaii, D.C., nor Chicago,” he adds, “can point to any crimes that have been solved using registration records. Both philosophically and practically, Senator Coburn is right to insist that the federal government stay out of the game. Only in Washington, D.C., could a handful of politicians look at the failure of registry programs at home and abroad and propose that they be copied and expanded. Those who have charged that opponents of a federal gun registry are fighting a straw man will, I can only presume, line up in support of Coburn; for if there’s truly no enthusiasm for record-keeping in D.C., then no one has anything to fear from the senator’s innocuous stand.
Charles C. W. Cooke is an editorial associate at National Review.

Our Secretary of State-Idiot

Kerry defends liberties, says Americans have "right to be stupid"

9:53am EST
BERLIN (Reuters) - Secretary of State John Kerry offered a defense of freedom of speech, religion and thought in the United States on Tuesday telling German students that in America "you have a right to be stupid if you want to be."
"As a country, as a society, we live and breathe the idea of religious freedom and religious tolerance, whatever the religion, and political freedom and political tolerance, whatever the point of view," Kerry told the students in Berlin, the second stop on his inaugural trip as secretary of state.
"People have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade even though it's the most provocative thing in the world and they carry signs that are an insult to one group or another," he added.
"The reason is, that's freedom, freedom of speech. In American you have a right to be stupid - if you want to be," he said, prompting laughter. "And you have a right to be disconnected to somebody else if you want to be.
"And we tolerate it. We somehow make it through that. Now, I think that's a virtue. I think that's something worth fighting for," he added. "The important thing is to have the tolerance to say, you know, you can have a different point of view."
Kerry made the comments on his first foreign trip since becoming secretary of state on February 1. After one-night stops in London and Berlin, he visits Paris, Rome, Ankara, Cairo, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Doha before returning to Washington on March 6.
While speaking to the students and earlier to U.S. diplomats, Kerry reminisced about the time he spent in Berlin in the 1950s as the intrepid son of an American diplomat and retold a story of sneaking across to East Berlin with his bike.
"I used to have great adventures. My bicycle and I were best friends. And I biked all around this city. I remember biking down Kurfuerstendamm and seeing nothing but rubble. This was in 1954 ... the war was very much still on people's minds," he told the diplomats, referring to West Berlin's main shopping avenue.
"One day, using my diplomatic passport, I biked through the checkpoint right into the east sector and noticed very quickly how dark and unpopulated (it was) and sort of unhappy people looked," he added, saying it left an impression "that hit this 12-year-old kid."
"I kind of felt a foreboding about it and I didn't spend much time. I kind of skedaddled and got back out of there and went home and proudly announced to my parents what I had done and was promptly grounded and had my passport pulled," he added.
"As a 12-year-old, I saw the difference between East and West," he later told the students. "I never made another trip like that. But I have never forgotten it. And now, it's vanished, vanished."
(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Walter Russell Mead-Smart Diplomacy

Did Obama Make the Wrong Call on Syria?

A jarring cover fronts next week’s Economist: “Syria: The Death of a Country” is the headline article inside. The whole piece is worth the read, but here’s a juicy bit that backs up what Via Meadia has been arguing for some time now.
… President Barack Obama has suggested that saving lives alone is not a sufficient ground for military action [in Syria]. Having learnt in Afghanistan and Iraq how hard it is to impose peace, America is fearful of being sucked into the chaos that Mr Assad has created. Mr Obama was elected to win economic battles at home. He believes that a weary America should stay clear of yet another foreign disaster.
That conclusion, however understandable, is mistaken. As the world’s superpower, America is likely to be sucked into Syria eventually. Even if the president can resist humanitarian arguments, he will find it hard to ignore his country’s interests.
If the fight drags on, Syria will degenerate into a patchwork of warring fiefs. Almost everything America wants to achieve in the Middle East will become harder. Containing terrorism, ensuring the supply of energy and preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction: unlike, say, the 15-year civil war in Lebanon, Syria’s disintegration threatens them all.
About a fifth of the rebels—and some of the best organised—are jihadists. They pose a threat to moderate Syrians, including Sunnis, and they could use lawless territory as a base for international terror. If they menace Israel across the Golan Heights, Israel will protect itself fiercely, which is sure to inflame Arab opinion. A divided Syria could tear Lebanon apart, because the Assads will stir up their supporters there. Jordan, poor and fragile, will be destabilised by refugees and Islamists. Oil-rich, Shia-majority Iraq can barely hold itself together; as Iraqi Sunnis are drawn into the fray, divisions there will only deepen. Coping with the fallout from Syria, including Mr Assad’s arsenal of chemical weapons, could complicate the aim of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb.
President Obama had an opportunity to intervene in Syria before it spiralled so far out of control. Indeed, that was precisely what a number of his top military and political advisors urged the President to do: arm the moderate rebels and work with allies to boot out Assad.
Now, however, Syria is in a much more complex position. And America’s interests are threatened. The best-equipped and most determined fighters who have risen to become Assad’s most dangerous enemies are not America’s friends; moderate rebels are few and weak. Israel has been drawn unwillingly into the war, protecting itself by preventing Hezbollah from seizing powerful weapons.
VM doesn’t suggest that had Obama acted all would now be well in the Levant. But it’s clear that as the Syrian war drags on, the likelihood grows of it dragging in the U.S. and/or Israel increases in one way or another, despite Obama’s best efforts. As the Economist notes darkly, “Mr Obama wanted to avoid Syria, but Syria will come and get him.”

Mark Tapscott: Sequestration scares are the ultimate Washington Wink-Winks | WashingtonExaminer.com

Mark Tapscott: Sequestration scares are the ultimate Washington Wink-Winks | WashingtonExaminer.com

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Walter E. Williams

Our Real Problem Is Cultural Decay, Not Guns

Wed, Feb 13 2013 00:00:00 EA13_ISSUES

"Smart Diplomacy" at work

Political News & Commentary

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Well, that worked out well: 92% of Pakistanis now dislike America

Christian Pastor Beheaded By Muslim Mob in Tanzania

Christian Pastor Beheaded By Muslim Mob in Tanzania

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Blame Righty Syndrome

Lead Story

The Blame Righty mob falls silent

By Michelle Malkin • February 8, 2013 09:05 AM
I’ve documented Blame Righty Syndrome countless times over the years (see here here here here). This week, the Blame Righty mob fell silent. The silence and the selectivity speak volumes.
Related: ABC’s Brian Ross strangely silent about Christopher Dorner’s political views
The Blame Righty mob falls silent
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2013
Question: How many times over the past four years have exploitative liberal journalists and Democratic leaders rushed to pin random acts of violence on the tea party, Republicans, Fox News and conservative talk radio?
Answer: Nearly a dozen times, including the 2009 massacre of three Pittsburgh police officers (which lib journos falsely blamed on Fox News, Glenn Beck and the “heated, apocalyptic rhetoric of the anti-Obama forces”); the 2009 suicide insurance scam/murder hoax of Kentucky census worker Bill Sparkman (which New York magazine falsely blamed on Rush Limbaugh, “conservative media personalities, websites and even members of Congress”); the 2009 Holocaust museum shooting (which MSNBC commentator Joan Walsh blamed on Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and yours truly); the 2010 Times Square jihad bomb plot (which Mayor Michael Bloomberg falsely blamed on tea party activists protesting Obamacare); and the 2011 Tucson massacre, which liberals continue to blame on former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Question: What will this rabid Blame Righty mob do now that an alleged triple-murderer has singled out prominent lefties in the media and Hollywood for fawning praise as part of his crazed manifesto advocating cop-killing?
Answer: Evade, deflect, ignore and whitewash.
This week, former Los Angeles Police Department Officer Christopher Dorner allegedly shot and killed three innocent people in cold blood. He was the subject of a massive manhunt as of Thursday afternoon. Dorner posted an 11,000-word manifesto on Facebook that outlined his chilling plans to target police officers.
CNN headlined its story on the rant: “Alleged cop-killer details threats to LAPD and why he was driven to violence.” MSNBC reported: “Manifesto: Alleged Revenge Shooter Named Targets.” KTLA-TV in Los Angeles went with: “Christopher Dorner’s Manifesto (Disturbing Content and Language).”
There was a curious, blaring omission in both the headlines and the stories from these supposedly objective outlets, though. Dorner expressed rather pointed, explicit views of news personalities and celebrities who have influenced, entertained and uplifted him. Dorner praised stars from Ellen DeGeneres and Charlie Sheen (“you’re effin awesome”) to “Jennifer Beals, Serena Williams … Tamron Hall … Natalie Portman, Queen Latifah … Kelly Clarkson, Nora Jones, Laura Prepon, Margaret Cho and Rutina Wesley.”
The shout-outs to liberal journalists go on at length:
“Chris Matthews, Joe Scarborough, Pat Harvey, Brian Williams, Soledad Obrien (sic), Wolf Blitzer, Meredith Viera (sic), Tavis Smiley and Anderson Cooper, keep up the great work and follow Cronkite’s lead,” Dorner cheered. “I hold many of you in the same regard as Tom Brokaw and the late Peter Jennings.”
Dorner also offered an “atta boy” to notorious, anti-Second Amendment CNN anchor Piers Morgan, suggesting he be given “an indefinite resident alien and Visa card.” Offering up his political counsel, Dorner added: “I want you to know that I agree with you 100 percent on enacting stricter firearm laws, but you must understand that your critics will always have in the back of their mind that you are native to a country that we won our sovereignty from while using firearms as a last resort in defense and you come from a country that has no legal private ownership of firearms.”
Dorner reminded MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough that they had “met at McGuire’s pub in P-cola in 2002 when I was stationed there. It was an honor conversing with you about politics, family and life.” The alleged triple-murderer also advised “Today” show personality Willie Geist: “(Y)ou’re a talented and charismatic journalist. Stop with all the talk show shenanigans and get back to your core of reporting. Your future is brighter than most.”
It’s ridiculous, of course, to blame these journos for the deaths of three innocents in Southern California. But herein lies a teachable moment. In the sick cycle of recent politicized tragedies, the Blame Righty mob demanded that conservative media personalities and GOP politicians apologize for crimes they didn’t commit; called for increased regulation of political free speech; and cranked up its decades-old machinery to stifle conservative talk radio in the name of public safety and civility. Even the remotest connection to anything right-wing was excuse enough to convict conservatives for homicidal sprees.
And while the Blame Righty crowd still inveighs about Palin’s completely innocent use of crosshairs on a political map, they have fallen silent about the stunning admission of Floyd Lee Corkins, who pleaded guilty this week to attempting to murder members of the conservative Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., last summer.
Corkins said he wanted to “kill as many as possible and smear the Chick-fil-A sandwiches (he had brought) in victims’ faces, and kill the guard.” How did he pick the office? From a “hate map” published by the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center — the leading guilt-by-association witch-hunt crew targeting conservatives.
Ho-hum. Nothing to see here, move along. Be vewwy, vewwy quiet.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Polar Bears, Global warming hoax

An inconvenient truth: More polar bears alive today than 40 years ago
Posted By Michael Bastasch On 11:15 AM 02/04/2013 @ 11:15 AM In Daily Caller News Foundation,World | No Comments
Author Zac Unger was originally drawn to the arctic circle to write a “mournful elegy” about how global warming was decimating the polar bear populations. He was surprised to find that the polar bears were not in such dire straits after all.
“There are far more polar bears alive today than there were 40 years ago,” Unger told NPR in an interview about his new book, “Never Look a Polar Bear in The Eye.” “There are about 25,000 polar bears alive today worldwide. In 1973, there was a global hunting ban. So once hunting was dramatically reduced, the population exploded.”
“This is not to say that global warming is not real or is not a problem for the polar bears,” Unger added. “But polar bear populations are large, and the truth is that we can’t look at it as a monolithic population that is all going one way or another.”
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there are an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears worldwide, living in Canada, Greenland, the northern Russian coast, islands of the Norwegian coast, and the northwest Alaskan coast.
Polar bears became a focal point for environmentalists after former Vice President Al Gore featured them in his 2006 global warming documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.” The bears were classified as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act to in May 2008 because their habitat was being threatened by global warming.
Unger wanted to write the definitive book on how man-made global warming was destroying polar bear habitats and leading to their extinction. He packed up his family and moved north to Churchill, Manitoba — called the ”Polar Bear Capital of the World” because of the large amounts of bears that congregate near it in the autumn.
“My humble plan was to become a hero of the environmental movement,” Unger told NPR. “I was going to go up to the Canadian Arctic, I was going to write this mournful elegy for the polar bears, at which point I’d be hailed as the next coming of John Muir and borne aloft on the shoulders of my environmental compatriots.”
“So when I got up there, I started realizing polar bears were not in as bad a shape as the conventional wisdom had led me to believe, which was actually very heartening, but didn’t fit well with the book I’d been planning to write,” he added.
In the U.S. the bears are protected from hunting by non-Alaska Natives — who can hunt some polar bears for tribal needs. There are also special importation rules for polar bears and polar bear parts and products.
Polar bears are also protected by international conservation agreements between the U.S. and other countries, such as the Russian Federation.
A federal court recently threw out a federal government plan to protect polar bears and designate a 187,000-square mile area of Alaska — larger than the state of California — as a critical habitat for polar bears. The court ruled that the plan went too far, and that the government needed to correct “substantive and procedural deficiencies.”
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