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Category Archives: THE BILL OF RIGHTS

The resignation of avowed communist Van Jones has plenty of people feeling that the future of the country is a bit safer. And it is an interesting “coincidence” that the attendees of the Cincinnati Tea Party demanded his resignation on Saturday, and then it was announced on Sunday.

The newest threat to the free market system and to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, according to many conservatives is the appointment of Cass Sunstein as the regulatory czar. describes him as “left of center, ” and has reported that he is as a, “progressive. ” Some of his academic writings apparently favor animal rights above human rights to the point of arguing the defense of animal rights over human rights in a court of law.

He’s not known for being a supporter of the second amendment, which is the right to keep and bear arms, and that disturbs ranchers who want to protect their cattle, those who are interested to have a gun on hand to protect their family, and those who are hunters. has also stated that, Sunstein has “spent years delving into the obscure issues of regulatory law and behavioral economics,” which is a deep concern for conservatives who are supporters of the free market system, and the fact that he has, “embraced a controversial ‘senior death discount’ ” is of great concern to those who are pro life. Somehow, the words ‘senior death discount’ sounds an awful lot like the death panels in the healthcare bill.

Interestingly, reported on Wednesday that Representative Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), “called for President Obama’s ‘czars,’ or appointed high-level advisers, to testify before Congress about their ‘authority and responsibilities’ in the executive branch.”

The question of the legitimacy of their authority is a good one. Especially since Article II section 2 of the Constitution states that, “…he (the President) shall nominate, and  by and with the Advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law” (emphasis added). In other words, the czars need to be confirmed by the Senate. And if the Senate doesn’t confirm them, they have no business standing in the positions to which they have been appointed.

To make matters even more interesting, there is a bill named HR 3226, also known as the “Czar Accountability Act of 2009.”  This particular bill states that, “appropriated funds may not be used to pay for any salaries or expenses of any task force, council, or similar office which is established by or at the direction of the President and headed by an individual who has been inappropriately appointed to such position…without the advice and consent of the Senate.”  The bill was introduced in the House on July 15, 2009 by Rep. Jack Kingston and is being supported by many in the House. It would be in the best interest of “We the People” to demand that it be made into a law.

Similar Articles:

Tea Party attendees demand Van Jones resignation, and it happens
Socialism in America is unconstitutional
Congressman says Obama has potential to ‘make himself a dictator’
Senate’s fiscal irresponsibility is scaring the UN
Former communist turned Christian organizes interdenominational group in Prayer for Nation

Websites of possible interest: (HR 3226: Czar Accountability & Reform)


Would-be appointees quizzed on guns
By: Jonathan Martin
November 20, 2008 06:51 PM EST

President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team is asking potential appointees detailed questions about gun ownership, and firearms advocates aren’t happy about it.

The National Rifle Association has denounced the move, which has already led one Republican senator to consider legislation aimed at ensuring a president can’t use an applicant’s gun ownership status to deny employment.

It’s just one question on a lengthy personnel form — No. 59 on a 63-question list — but the furor over the query is a vivid reminder of the intensity of support for Second Amendment rights and signals the scrutiny Obama is likely to receive from the ever-vigilant gun lobby.

Obama’s transition team declined to go into detail on why they included the question, suggesting only that it was done to ensure potential appointees were in line with gun laws.

“The intent of the gun question is to determine legal permitting,” said one transition aide.

But even some Democrats and transition experts are baffled by the inclusion of the question.

Tucked in at the end of the questionnaire and listed under “Miscellaneous,” it reads: “Do you or any members of your immediate family own a gun? If so, provide complete ownership and registration information. Has the registration ever lapsed? Please also describe how and by whom it is used and whether it has been the cause of any personal injuries or property damage.”

Paul Light, professor of public service at New York University, said there was no such question for potential appointees when President George W. Bush took office in 2000.

“It kind of sticks out there like a sore thumb,” Light said.

He expressed uncertainty over why it was included but surmised it was out of an abundance of caution, a desire to avoid the spectacle of a Cabinet-level or other high-ranking appointee who is discovered to have an unregistered handgun at home.

“It’s the kind of thing that, if dug out, could be an embarrassment to the president-elect,” Light said.

Clay Johnson, deputy director of management at the Office of Management and Budget and the head of Bush’s 2000 transition, also didn’t quite understand the purpose of the question.

“It could be their way to say to prospects that they will have to answer all these questions sooner or later, so be prepared,” Johnson observed.

Matt Bennett, a veteran campaign operative who did a stint at Americans for Gun Safety and who now works for the moderate Democratic think tank Third Way, was equally befuddled.

“It strikes me as overly lawyerly,” he said, noting that only a small percentage of guns owned by adults are ever used improperly.

Only half-joking, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) alluded to the shooting accident involving Vice President Dick Cheney, suggesting the query could be a better-safe-than-sorry measure.

“Given the behavior of the vice president under the last administration, you may want to know these things,” Ryan said.

On a more serious note, Ryan suggested that the new president was being “very, very thorough” in his approach.

An Obama ally and pro-gun Democrat from a blue-collar region of Ohio, Ryan dismissed the notion that the inclusion of such a question would do any political harm to the incoming president.

But other gun rights supporters want Obama to know the question has raised their antennae.

“It’s very odd and very concerning to put out a question like that,” said Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), adding that it may also be “unprecedented.”

The freshman senator, who is up for reelection in 2010, had his campaign organization send an e-mail to supporters this week, pledging to enact legislation to bar federal hiring discrimination on the basis of gun ownership.

“Barack Obama promised change, and this is proof positive that we are going to see some of the most liberal change in our nation’s history,” wrote DeMint’s campaign in the e-mail.

DeMint conceded it was unrealistic to try to get a bill on the matter through during the lame duck session this week.

Still, it’s the sort of symbolic issue that may provide a political opening for Republican members of Congress from conservative-leaning states to contrast themselves with the new Democratic administration.

“I want him to know that we’re looking for areas we can work with him but also looking for areas of concern that we want to let him know we’re going to fight on,” DeMint said.

The NRA, the gun-rights group that spent millions to defeat Obama, only to see him easily carry sportsmen-heavy states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania, is signaling that it intends to keep up the fight.

“Barack Obama and his administration are showing their true colors and true philosophy with regard to the Second Amendment,” said Chris Cox, the NRA’s top political official. “It shows what we’ve been saying all along — this guy doesn’t view the Second Amendment as a fundamental constitutional right.”

Cox said the group had put the word out to their members on the question.

Bennett, though, argued that approach would have little resonance.

“The real question is whether he’s doing harm to the broader image of Democrats on guns, and the answer is probably no,” he said. “It may gin up 350,000 hard-core NRA types, but it won’t really bother 65 million other gun owners.”

© 2008 Capitol News Company, LLC

Now this is just my opinion–but the only politicking that should be done on public school property (property paid for and maintained by tax payer’s money) are class elections and student body elections.  City, county, state and Federal  elections need to be kept personal and private while being paid by the parents of the students.  Mock elections??  Definitely, with teachers and other staff members remaining neutral advisers and mediators.  For teachers and other staff members to push personal agendas on tax payers time is WRONG.







by Emily Jane Goodman
October 2008

Photo (cc) by Marilyn M

In the final days of the hotly contested and contentious presidential campaign, three New York City public school teachers and their union president commenced a federal lawsuit claiming a violation of their constitutional rights. The question was whether the school chancellor could bar plaintiffs from using union bulletin boards in schools to post political material; whether candidate-based political materials could be placed in mailboxes in Department of Education buildings; and the hot button issue of whether teachers could wear political campaign buttons in school.

The answer from a federal district judge in Manhattan was yes and no. Yes, the Department of Education can ban the wearing of buttons, and no, teachers and their union cannot be banned from displaying or disseminating political material on candidates in school on their bulletin boards in schools or among themselves. The result is that the judge denied in part and granted in part a request for an injunction against the city’s enforcement of its regulations.

The school chancellor’s regulations state that “while on duty or in contact with students, all school personnel shall maintain a posture of complete neutrality with respect to all candidates.” Another section of the regulation says, “No material supporting any candidate … may be distributed, posted or displayed.”

The Legal History

Judge Lewis Kaplan agreed, and the city did not dispute, that an unconstitutional infringement of First Amendments rights would cause irreparable harm to the plaintiffs and all teachers. However, citing a series of cases that reached the U.S. Supreme Court, the judge concluded that the plaintiffs would be unable to establish that their freedom of speech or expression had been denied if they could not wear buttons on the job.

The judge referred to a case in which Supreme Court held that a public school could restrict a teacher’s speech regarding matters of public concern only if the speech would harm the school’s ability to operate efficiently or the teacher’s ability to perform his or her job. That case involved a teacher who was fired for writing a letter to a newspaper criticizing the school system. The court found that the letter writing, which did not take place in the school, did not interfere with the school’s mission.

Kaplan also looked to Tinker v. Des Moines, a famous case in which the issue was whether students, while in class, had the right to wear black armbands to protest the war in Vietnam. There, the Supreme Court concluded that the constitutional rights of the students could not be stopped “at the schoolhouse gate,” and found in their favor, with the warning that free expression could be limited only if it interfered with school work or with other students. In a third case, which, as Kaplan put it, the plaintiffs invited him to follow, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a high school teacher could not be suspended for wearing a black armband in a similar protest of the Vietnam war, since it did not disrupt the educational mandate.

Kaplan took a different view, relying on another line of cases which concluded that school boards have the right to determine what is inappropriate in their classrooms and that reasonable restrictions could be imposed where they relate to legitimate pedagogical concerns. He emphasized the determination that students should not be exposed to views that they might attribute to the school rather than to an individual teacher.

In his ruling, the judge adopted this more recent reasoning, rather than the cases plaintiffs relied on. The judge borrowed the language of a California case that also involved teachers wearing political buttons during working hours. “Public school authorities may reasonably conclude it is not possible to both permit instructors to engage in classroom political activity and at the same time successfully disassociate the school from such advocacy” without the school board having to establish the disruptive nature of the activity or the wearing of buttons, Kaplan said quoting the California Court of Appeals.

Kaplan also looked favorably to a 2007 case in which another federal court upheld a school board decision not to renew the contract of a probationary elementary school teacher who had taken a political position in class. There, the court reasoned that students are a “captive audience,” and said as an aside that a teacher’s views could lead to “indoctrination.”

Official Position?

In the recent New York case, known as Weingarten v. Board of Education of New York City, the school system feared that some students would misunderstand the personal nature of the buttons, and that the greater goal was to avoid “the entanglement of their public educational mission with partisan politics.” The judge found no evidence that political buttons appearing in the classroom would lead students or their parents to the conclusion that they were expressing the views of the school system. Still, the question remained as to what authority the Department of Education has, and the opinion in Weingarten is that the buttons “might reasonably be perceived to bear the school’s imprimatur or otherwise interfere with the accomplishment of defendants’ public role.”

In other words, the prevention of that possible perception would trump the First Amendment argument. This is based on the theory that the department has the expertise to determine the “needs, capabilities and vulnerabilities” of the school population, although the judge cautioned, in a kind of risk benefit analysis, that there was a balance to be achieved, which had to include the “sensitivity of [the department’s] judgment to First Amendment values.”

As far as the wearing of buttons, Kaplan concluded that the restrictions were reasonable and “reflect a good faith judgment by the defendants in their professional capacities about the impact of teachers’ political campaign buttons in the school rather than a covert attempt to favor one viewpoint over another or a willingness to paint with too broad a brush.”

Further, the judge decided, that in this instance, the Department of Education deserves the court’s deference. To counter that, the teachers and their union would have had to have shown there was a likelihood that they could establish that the ban on the button was unconstitutional. Kaplan decided they had not done that and so he denied the plaintiffs an injunction against the ban.

On the question of disseminating information to teachers in the school building but not in the classroom and not to students, the court reached a different temporary conclusion that will be considered as the litigation continues after Election Day.

Emily Jane Goodman is a New York State Supreme Court Justice

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Obama’s Whining and Attacks on Free Speech are Getting Tiresome

By Guest: Mary Mostert on Oct 14, 08

Rep. John Lewis’ attack on Gov. Sarah Palin and Senator John McCain over the week-end, Senator McCain’s response, combined with the amazing 900 plus rise in the Stock Market on Monday seem to have unleashed a barrage of just plain whining and attacks on free speech in the Obama camp.
By way of background, the first we heard about John Lewis in this race was in August during the Saddleback Church interviews of the candidates. The Rev. Warren asked John McCain to name the “three wisest people that you know that you would rely on heavily in an administration” and without hesitation McCain named Gen. David Petraeus, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), and eBay CEO Meg Whitman. It struck me at the time that it was quite a nice compliment to Rep. Lewis for McCain to have named him, a democrat, a black man and a Civil Rights leader during the Selma March as a “wise” man. However, it appears that Rep. Lewis not only does not reciprocate McCain’s respect and admiration, but would like to stop him from speaking freely.
On Saturday Rep. Lewis issued the following statement about McCain and Palin:
“As one who was a victim of violence and hate during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, I am deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.”
“During another period, in the not too distant past, there was a governor of the state of Alabama named George Wallace who also became a presidential candidate. George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama.”.
“As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all. They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy. We can do better. The American people deserve better.”
By pointing out that “four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama” was John Lewis, perhaps, suggesting something similar might happen to Sarah Palin if she didn’t shut up? Or, was Rep. Lewis suggesting that Sarah Palin and John McCain might end up like Governor George Wallace, who was shot five times by a would be assassin, which left him paralyzed and in constant pain for the rest of his life?
When John McCain heard Lewis’ statement, he literally stopped what he was doing and immediately issued a statement in defense of Governor Palin and himself as follows:
“Congressman John Lewis’ comments represent a character attack against Governor Sarah Palin and me that is shocking and beyond the pale. The notion that legitimate criticism of Senator Obama’s record and positions could be compared to Governor George Wallace, his segregationist policies and the violence he provoked is unacceptable and has no place in this campaign. I am saddened that John Lewis, a man I’ve always admired, would make such a brazen and baseless attack on my character and the character of the thousands of hardworking Americans who come to our events to cheer for the kind of reform that will put America on the right track.
“I call on Senator Obama to immediately and personally repudiate these outrageous and divisive comments that are so clearly designed to shut down debate 24 days before the election. Our country must return to the important debate about the path forward for America.”
What, exactly, was Rep. Lewis talking about? What comments made by Gov. Palin or Sen. McCain did he consider to be “sowing the seeds of hatred and division?” Why didn’t he tell us what he was talking about?
The most quoted statement used by Obama’s apologists in the media following Lewis’ statement have identified a comment made by Gov. Palin as “sowing the seeds of hatred and division.” The Associated Press writer Jim Kuhnhenn wrote: “Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Saturday accused Democrat Barack Obama of ‘palling around with terrorists’ because of his association with a former 1960s radical, stepping up the campaign’s effort to portray Obama as unacceptable to American voters.
“Palin’s reference was to Bill Ayers, one of the founders of the group the Weather Underground. Its members took credit for bombings, including nonfatal explosions at the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol, during the tumultuous Vietnam War era four decades ago.”
Now, exactly what part of Sarah Palin’s comment was either inaccurate or “sowing the seeds of hatred and division?” Bill Ayers WAS one of the founders of the Weather Underground, a terrorist organization in the 1960s and 1970s. His wife, Bernadine Dohrn, served time in prison after being convicted as a terrorist and after refusing to apologize for her activities as a terrorist. To this day, they freely take credit for bombing the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol during the 1960s.
In the 1990s, Bill Ayers and Barack Obama were neighbors in the Hyde Park area of Chicago and both were involved in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge from 1995-1999. Obama was founding chairman and president of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge during those years and Ayers was a co-chairman of the Chicago School Reform Collaborative that received, and spent, Annenberg’s $49.2 million in grants given to him by Obama’s board to improve Chicago public schools.
It was in 1995 that Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn hosted a gathering at their home in Hyde Park to launch and raise money for Barack Obama’s first political campaign for the Illinois State Senate in 1995. In my 60 years in politics, I never knew of ANYONE helping to launch a political campaign for someone they barely knew. It was also 1995 when Barack Obama’s first book Dreams of My Father was written. Some believe it was either ghost written by Bill Ayers, or heavily edited by Bill Ayers, since the writing is very similar to Ayers’ books and different from the style from Obama’s writing.
What, exactly were the results of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, funded by billionaire Walter Annenberg, distributed under Barack Obama’s chairmanship in grants to Bill Ayers’ School Reform board to improve Chicago public education between 1995 and 1999? According to an August 2003 final technical report by the Consortium on Chicago School Research, the schools supported by the Annenberg Challenge while Obama was its chairman and Ayers group was getting the grants “had little impact on school improvement and student outcomes, with no statistically significant differences between Annenberg and non-Annenberg schools in rates of achievement gain, classroom behavior, student self-efficacy, and social competence.”
Whenever anyone looks for or asks for some kind of proof that Barack Obama actually has some kind of record of success in bringing about change for the better in his past endeavors, what we get in response are accusations that Obama is being attacked because of his “race” – which, incidentally, is mostly white and Arabic, with something like 6% actually black African. He was raised by his white mother and his white, American grandparents. He is a graduate of Harvard. It is a bit silly for him, or his supporters, to try to protect him by accusing anyone who questions his competency of being “racist.”
All we are asking is – where ARE his records of actual accomplishments? If elected, are we going to have to listen to him whine for the next four to eight years about how he is being mistreated because of his “race” every time the public expects him to actually DO something?
Mary Mostert

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On the Second Amendment,
Don’t Believe Obama!

On the campaign trail, Senator Obama hides behind carefully chosen words and vague statements of support for sportsmen and gun rights to sidestep and camouflage the truth. But even he can’t hide from the truth forever… his voting record, political associations, and long standing positions make it clear that, if elected, Barack Obama would be the most anti-gun president in American history. The facts speak for themselves. This election day, vote to defend freedom…because if Obama wins, you lose.


  • Obama voted to ban hundreds of rifles and shotguns commonly used for hunting and sport shooting
    Illinois Senate, SB 1195, 3/13/03

  • Obama endorsed a ban on all handguns
    Independent Voters of Illinois/Independent Precinct Organization general candidate questionnaire, 9/9/96
    Politico, 03/31/08.

  • Obama voted to allow the prosecution of people who use a firearm for self-defense in their homes
    Illinois Senate, S.B. 2165, vote 20, 3/25/04

  • Obama supported increasing taxes on firearms and ammunition by 500 percent
    Chicago Defender, 12/13/99

  • Obama voted to ban almost all rifle ammunition commonly used for hunting and sport shooting
    United States Senate, S. 397, vote 217, 7/29/05

  • Obama opposes Right-to-Carry laws
    Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 4/2/08, Chicago Tribune, 9/15/04

Veteran – Obama TV Ad


On the Second Amendment,
Don’t Believe Obama!

On the campaign trail, Senator Obama hides behind carefully chosen words and vague statements of support for sportsmen and gun rights to sidestep and camouflage the truth. But even he can’t hide from the truth forever… his voting record, political associations, and long standing positions make it clear that, if elected, Barack Obama would be the most anti-gun president in American history. The facts speak for themselves. This election day, vote to defend freedom…because if Obama wins, you lose.


  • Obama voted to ban hundreds of rifles and shotguns commonly used for hunting and sport shooting
    Illinois Senate, SB 1195, 3/13/03

  • Obama endorsed a ban on all handguns
    Independent Voters of Illinois/Independent Precinct Organization general candidate questionnaire, 9/9/96
    Politico, 03/31/08.

  • Obama voted to allow the prosecution of people who use a firearm for self-defense in their homes
    Illinois Senate, S.B. 2165, vote 20, 3/25/04

  • Obama supported increasing taxes on firearms and ammunition by 500 percent
    Chicago Defender, 12/13/99

  • Obama voted to ban almost all rifle ammunition commonly used for hunting and sport shooting
    United States Senate, S. 397, vote 217, 7/29/05

  • Obama opposes Right-to-Carry laws
    Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 4/2/08, Chicago Tribune, 9/15/04

“…just because you have an individual right does not mean that the state or local government can’t constrain the exercise of that right…”

Barack Obama, 2008
Philadelphia primary debate

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NRA Begins Push To Tarnish Obama On Guns

Sept. 23, 2008

(CBS) This story was written by political reporter Brian Montopoli.

The defining moment in the National Rifle Association’s eight-figure advertising offensive against Barack Obama takes place about 15 seconds into a new spot featuring Karl Rusch, a white, middle aged Virginian clad in hunting gear.

After claiming that Obama supports “a huge new tax on my guns and ammo,” Rusch closes the door of his truck and turns directly to the camera.

“Where is this guy from?” he asks. “He’s probably never been hunting a day in his life.”

The spot, the Washington Post points out, is a “huge stretch” – the claim that Obama wants to institute a large tax on guns and ammo, for instance, rests on a few words in an essentially irrelevant and vaguely-worded newspaper article from nine years ago.

But the point is clear: If you’re a hunter, Barack Obama is not anything like you. And if he doesn’t understand your concerns, he sure doesn’t deserve your vote.

Obama has been fighting the notion that he opposes gun rights, stressing on the stump that he backs Second Amendment protections. His campaign has released a radio ad featuring American Hunters and Shooters Association head Ray Schoenke telling hunters the Democratic nominee won’t come for their guns.

“The bottom line is this. If you’ve got a rifle, you’ve got a shotgun, you’ve got a gun in your house, I’m not taking it away,” Obama said earlier this month in Pennsylvania. “Alright? So they can keep on talking about it, but this is just not true.”

(Obama also said at the time that even if he wanted to take hunters’ guns away, he “couldn’t get it done” since he doesn’t “have the votes in Congress” – a statement that did not exactly put sportsmen’s fears to rest.)

Obama’s running mate Joe Biden, meanwhile, suggested recently that Republicans will use the issue to scare voters away from the Obama-Biden ticket.

“I guarantee you, Barack Obama ain’t taking my shotguns, so don’t buy that malarkey,” Biden said in Southern Virginia. “Don’t buy that malarkey. They’re going to start peddling that to you. I got two, if he tries to fool with my Beretta, he’s got a problem.”

The NRA’s political arm has been going after the Democratic nominee hard: In addition to an advertising blitz that includes four new television spots running on national cable and in New Mexico, Colorado, and Pennsylvania, as well as radio and print ads, the organization is suggesting that Obama would be “the most anti-gun president in American history.” It has sent mailers and emails to members hammering the Illinois senator, including one from NRA President Wayne LaPierre suggesting that Obama has a “deep-rooted hatred of firearm freedoms.” Earlier this week, there was a minor dustup when West Virginia union leaders said an NRA film crew tried to coerce miners into badmouthing the Democratic nominee on camera.

“Barack Obama has throughout his entire career embraced the radical agenda of extremist gun control groups,” NRA chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox said. “He’s going all over the country trying to mislead gun owners and sportsman that he is some sort of friend. It’s shameless. We’re going to arm gun owners with the facts so they can make an informed decision on Election Day.”

The Democratic presidential nominee has voted to leave gun makers and dealers open to lawsuits, and as a state lawmaker he supported tighter restrictions on firearms and a ban on semiautomatic weapons.

“Obama has the audacity of claiming to support the second amendment,” Cox said. “This is a politician who has shown nothing but disdain and mistrust of law abiding gun owners in America.”

Largely absent from the NRA’s rhetoric has been much mention of Obama’s rival, GOP presidential nominee John McCain. Though NRA officials made conciliatory statements concerning McCain after he secured the GOP nomination, the Arizona senator has not always been a favorite of the gun lobby: He earned a C+ from the NRA in 2004 after backing legislation to close the so-called “gun show loophole,” legislation that this 2003 NRA document claimed “is about eliminating gun shows.” McCain is also the co-author of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation that the NRA saw as an unfair restriction on its free speech.

“We’ve had disagreements with Senator McCain, those disagreements are well known, but it would be foolish to disregard over 20 years of high profile agreements,” Cox said. McCain opposed an assault weapons ban and favored shielding gun makers and dealers from lawsuits, and his addition of lifetime NRA member and hunter Sarah Palin to the GOP ticket was widely lauded by gun advocates.

The NRA, which claims roughly 4 million members, plans to spend $40 million on election related advertising, a large chunk of it devoted to tearing down the Democratic nominee. But the organization has not yet endorsed a candidate. In the October issues of its three magazines, the NRA plans to include a political preference chart which details the candidates’ positions and encouraging members to support the candidate whose positions best matches their values.

Gun issues have largely remained low profile for much of the campaign, except during a short period in June following a Supreme Court’s decision to toss out the D.C. gun ban. At the time, McCain unequivocally applauded the measure and signed an amicus brief supporting it; Obama said that while he supports the Second Amendment, “I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common-sense, effective safety measures.”

McCain also took an opportunity in the wake of the decision to take a shot at Obama’s infamous comment that small town voters frustrated by economic stasis “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” The comment is referenced in Rusch’s NRA advertisement.

“Unlike the elitist view that believes Americans cling to guns out of bitterness, today’s ruling recognizes that gun ownership is a fundamental right — sacred, just as the right to free speech and assembly,” McCain said.

According to Democratic political consultant Dave “Mudcat” Saunders, a former John Edwards advisor who is known for pushing Democrats to take rural voters’ concerns more seriously, it is McCain, not Obama, whom gun owners should fear. Saunders argues that while Obama has essentially vowed to leave the gun owners alone, McCain has stood by his position on gun shows.

“One of Obama’s young volunteers called me up and asked me what he could do to help,” Saunders, who casts himself as more pro-gun than the NRA, told “I told him to go down to the Hillsville (Virginia) gun show with some fliers with [McCain’s] picture on them that said, ‘if you elect this guy John McCain president, don’t plan on coming back next year.'”

McCain told Field And Stream that his position in favor of closing the gun show loophole is the issue most likely to cause friction between himself and sportsmen.

“I think that gun shows are marvelous, and we now have the capability for instant background checks,” he said.

Dennis Fusaro, a Republican and pro-gun activist in Virginia who served for a time as Ron Paul’s national field director, said he would not be voting for either Obama or McCain. A lifetime member of the NRA, Fusaro was director of state legislation for the Gun Owners of America, a hardcore gun-rights group that describes itself as “no compromise.”

“On paper, Obama appears worse than McCain,” he said. But McCain is more dangerous, he argued, because he is more likely to successfully enact legislation that would result in fewer rights for gun owners. Obama, Fusaro believes, simply won’t make the issue a priority.

Saunders said Obama should continue to stress that he backs Second Amendment rights. He argued that McCain’s ten-point lead among rural voters in 13 key states would be higher if the GOP nominee had more credibility when it comes to gun issues.

“The single issue voters on guns are not the anti-gun people, it’s the pro-gun people,” he argued.

But Fusaro said it was unlikely that many pro-gun voters would support Obama in November.

“There are people who are looking at Barack Obama and are scared,” he said. “They may just say, ‘I can live with John McCain.'”

By Brian Montopoli
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On Shooting Taggers: Why Conservatives and Liberals Differ
Dennis Prager
Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Earlier this month Andrew Sullivan, a well-known writer, once in the center, now on the left, nominated me for what is apparently his lowest badge of distinction for defending citizens who shoot to wound graffiti vandals, or “taggers,” while committing their vandalism.

Under the heading, “Malkin Award Nominee,” Sullivan provides a quote from my radio show:

“‘So you will now say — I hear the voice of an ACLU member — ‘Dennis, do you think that this guy should have shot these people spray painting graffiti on his shop?’ To which my answer is yes. I do. Not to kill. Not to kill. But if he shot them in the legs or in the arms I would have considered the man one of the great advancers of civilization in my time. And that is what divides left from right. Because anybody on the left hearing this would think that this is barbaric whereas I consider not stopping these people in any way that is necessary to be barbaric.’ — Dennis Prager, on his radio show.”

Mr. Sullivan provides no commentary because, as I predicted in the excerpt he cites, what I said is so obviously morally offensive to him, no commentary is necessary. It is self-indicting.

To those on the left.

Their differing reactions to graffiti vandals further clarify the philosophical differences between liberals and conservatives.

Reactions to graffiti on the cultural left — not necessarily the political left, since liberal politicians must respond to public outrage or they are not re-elected — have generally ranged from support to indifference.

Many on the left have long described graffiti as “urban art” and graffiti vandals as “artists.” Even when not admired or even defended, most liberals regard graffiti in far less negative ways than do conservatives. Conservatives tend to regard graffiti as an assault on society, perpetrated by pathologically narcissistic lowlifes bent on undermining the foundations of higher civilization.

To personalize this for a moment, while I assume that graffiti troubles Sullivan, I strongly doubt it troubles him nearly as much as it troubles me. If it did, the odds are he would not be a man of the left.

Why are so many on the left not as angered by graffiti as most conservatives are? I would like to offer some possible reasons:

One is that liberals find it difficult to condemn the poor, especially poor members of ethnic and racial minorities. If rich white kids spray painted their names on university buildings, there would probably be a liberal outcry.

A second reason is that crimes against property tend to disturb the left less than the right, especially when “no one is hurt”; and graffiti is deemed by many liberals as a classic example of no one being hurt. That is why I suspect that most people on the left would express greater anger toward someone who lit up a cigarette in a mall or a restaurant than toward an inner city kid who spray painted his initials on neighborhood walls and signs.

A third reason is that conservatives tend to view higher civilization as more fragile than the left views it. Conservatives believe the line between civilization and barbarism is under constant assault and is not necessarily enduring. That is one reason the right tends to have a higher regard for the police than does the left. Conservatives see the police as “the thin blue line” that separates civilization from barbarians.

So, it is natural that conservatives would see graffiti as vandalism, as an undermining of the very notion of higher civilization, as a public scorning of the common good, as essentially an “F—- you” to society.

Liberals are far more inclined to see graffiti as a mere nuisance, or even as an example of the downtrodden trying to have a voice in a civilization that oppresses young people who are usually members of historically oppressed minorities.

To the conservative, graffiti is an assault on civilization; to the liberal, graffiti is the result of civilization’s assault on those who paint the graffiti.

For those who share Sullivan’s political and social values, the notion that someone would defend a man who shot and wounded graffiti vandals defacing his property is worthy of derision. Sullivan is so sure his readers have contempt for such a view that he felt it unnecessary to offer a word of commentary on what I said.

That is unfortunate. I would be interested to know how Sullivan regards taggers and what he would suggest be done to them if caught in the act of defacing property. Since most people suspect that calling the police would achieve little, if anything, what should be done?

My first wish is that taggers be arrested and punished. I also wish for world peace and a cure for cancer. But the real-life choice is almost always between taggers getting away with their vandalism and an irate citizen taking action. Given the destructive nature of tagging — the moment one sees graffiti, one knows one has entered a largely lawless and violent environment where thugs terrorize innocents — I prefer something, even if violent, rather than nothing be done.

I have no desire to see a graffiti vandal killed — my position has always been that only those who cause death deserve death (that is why I oppose the death penalty for any crime except murder). But if enough taggers are wounded, their assault on civilization will decline dramatically. And if one accidentally dies? That would be a tragedy. But here is the bottom line: More innocent people will die if tagging is not stopped than if it is. Graffiti unchecked leads to worse crime.

Those who deface private and public property are not otherwise decent kids who are oppressed and not allowed any other form of self-expression. My sense is that the vast majority of graffiti vandals are headed toward, if not already involved in, a life of sociopathology, including violence.

Indeed, increasingly those graffiti vandals do engage in violence. Citizens who so much as flash their headlights or yell at them to stop have been shot and sometimes murdered.

As in so many other areas, with regard to taggers, right and left see life through opposing moral prisms. On the left, the tagger is viewed as society’s victim; on the right, society is viewed as the tagger’s victim.

Copyright © 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.


Lawsuit filed against new DC gun regulations

WASHINGTON (AP) — The plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that struck down Washington’s 32-year-old handgun ban filed a new federal lawsuit Monday, alleging the city’s new gun regulations still violate an individual’s right to own a gun for self-defense.

Dick Heller and two other plaintiffs argue that the city’s regulations are “highly unusual and unreasonable” in the complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

The lawsuit claims the District of Columbia continues to violate the intent of the Supreme Court’s June 26 decision by prohibiting the ownership of most semiautomatic weapons, requiring an “arbitrary” fee to register a firearm and establishing rules that make it all but impossible for residents to keep a gun in the home for immediate self-defense.

The D.C. Council was immediately criticized by gun rights advocates when it unanimously passed emergency gun legislation July 15. The law will remain in effect for 90 days, and the council expects to begin work in September on permanent legislation.

The regulations maintain the city’s ban of machine guns, defined in the law as weapons that shoot more than 12 rounds without reloading. That definition applies to most semiautomatic firearms.

Handguns, as well as other legal firearms such as rifles and shotguns, also must be kept unloaded and disassembled, or equipped with trigger locks in the home unless there is a “reasonably perceived threat of immediate harm.”

“A robber basically has to make an appointment” for a resident to be able to prepare the weapon for use, Heller’s attorney, Stephen Halbrook, said Monday. Halbrook also called the city’s definition of machine guns “bizarre.”

“The District’s ban on semiautomatic handguns amounts to a prohibition of an entire class of arms that is overwhelmingly chosen by American society for the lawful purpose of self defense in the home,” the lawsuit alleges.

D.C. interim Attorney General Peter Nickles said the suit came as no surprise and that he expects a long legal fight as the issue makes it way through the courts.

“I think there’s a fundamental disagreement with the intent of the Supreme Court’s decision,” said Nickles, noting that the Supreme Court’s ruling did not give officials much guidance with respect to regulating firearms.

“I feel comfortable with what the city has done,” Nickles said.

After the Supreme Court narrowly struck down Washington’s handgun ban last month in a narrow 5-4 decision, the D.C. Council quickly moved to comply with the ruling, and residents were allowed to begin applying for handguns July 17 for the first time since 1976.

Monday’s lawsuit alleges that Heller initially tried to register a semiautomatic Colt pistol, but was denied because D.C. police considered the weapon to be a machine gun.

Besides Heller, the other plaintiffs are Absalom Jordan, whose application to register a .22-caliber pistol was denied, and Amy McVey, who must return to D.C. police headquarters two more times to register her weapon after being photographed and fingerprinted and undergoing a background check, according to the lawsuit.

Washington’s gun ban essentially outlawed private ownership of handguns in a city struggling with violence. But what impact the ban has had on crime has long been debated, particularly after homicides more than doubled during a crack epidemic in the late 1980s and early ’90s.

The city’s gun regulations remain among the strictest in the country under the new regulations, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

July 30, 2008 Posted by ragamuffin08 | GUN RIGHTS, THE BILL OF RIGHTS | | No Comments | Edit