Tag Archive: human-rights


Analysis: New Study Did Not Prove That Gay Parents Are Better

BY NAPP NAZWORTH , CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER
July 9, 2014|7:07 am

Several liberal media organizations are reporting the results of a new same-sex parenting study which suggests that gay parents do a better job of raising children than the general population. There are four imporant points to understand about that study, however.

Here are a few of the headlines:

CBS News: “Children of same-sex couples healthy, well-adjusted, study finds”

NBC News: “Children of Same-Sex Parents Are Healthier: Study”

The Huffington Post: “Children Of Gay Parents Are Happier And Healthier Than Their Peers, New Study Finds”

Vox: “Largest-ever study of same-sex couples’ kids finds they’re better off than other children”

The study, though, does not warrant the conclusions suggested by those titles.

“Parent-reported measures of child health and wellbeing in same-sex parent families: a cross-sectional survey,” by lead author Dr. Simon R. Crouch at The University of Melbourne in Australia, was published June 21 by the journal BMC Public Health. The co-authors were Elizabeth Waters, Ruth McNair, Jennifer Power and Elise Davis. Power is affiliated with La Trobe University. The rest of the authors are at The University of Melbourne.

The study found that children of same-sex parents scored higher on measures of general behavior, general health and family cohesion than the general population of Australia. The study also measured how often the parents felt stigmatized for being gay. A high number of stigmas was negatively correlated with measures of the children’s physical activity, mental health and family cohesion.

Here are four important points to understand about the study:

1) The study did not use a random sample.

To make a generalizable conclusion about a population, scientific studies need a large, probability sample of the population, sometimes called “random sample” or “representative sample.” A probability sample means that those surveyed are representative of the general population.

The Crouch study was based upon a convenience sample, or non-probability sample. Participants for the study were recruited through gay and lesbian community email lists and ads posted in gay and lesbian press. This means that the participants volunteered for the study and were not randomly chosen from the population.

The sample had 315 parents of 500 children. Most of the children, 80 percent, had a female parent complete the survey. Eighteen percent had a male parent, while the remaining parents described themselves as “other gendered.”

As stated in the study: “Every effort was made to recruit a representative sample, and from the limited data available about same-sex parent families it appears that the [study's] sample does reflect the general context of these families in contemporary Australia.”

Convenience samples can be an important research tool when probability samples are difficult to achieve. They can also help researchers design better studies and help them resolve issues with their research before conducting large scale studies. Social scientists understand, however, that conclusions about a general population should not be drawn based upon a convenience sample.

2) The study did not compare same-sex parents to biological parents.

Previous studies have shown that kids do best when they are raised by their biological parents and those parents are married. The Crouch study, however, compares its convenience sample of children raised by same-sex parents to the general population, which includes those raised by single parents, step parents, foster parents and other same-sex parents.

The study cannot conclude, therefore, that children raised by gay parents have better or worse outcomes than children raised in two-parent heterosexual households.

3) The study relies upon parent-reported outcomes.

The health and well-being of the children are based upon what the parents say they are. While these measures are being compared to other parent-reported measures, there are reasons that gay and lesbian parents might overstate their outcomes at a greater rate than the general population.

The survey was conducted while Australia is debating redefining marriage to include same-sex couples. Part of that debate deals with child-rearing. Government recognition of marriage should only be for a man and woman, proponents of traditional marriage argue, because this arrangement is best suited for the raising of children, which is a public good.

It is in the interests of gay marriage supporters, therefore, to show that gay couples can raise children just as well as straight couples. The gays and lesbians who volunteered to participate in the Crouch study likely understood the significance of the study. As a result, they may have inflated their results more than the average parent. Additionally, gays and lesbians who are raising children with poor outcomes may have been reluctant to participate in the study for similar reasons.

4) Studies using probability samples show poor outcomes for gay parents.

Two recent studies that did use probability samples showed some poor outcomes for children of gays and lesbians.

RELATED
The New Family Structures Study at the University of Texas led by sociologist Mark Regnerus found, for instance, that those who reported that at least one parent had a same-sex relationship had poor outcomes along a range of variables. They were, for instance more likely to be depressed, unemployed, have more sex partners and report negative impressions of their childhood.

A study published last December by economist Douglas W. Allen looked at a 20 percent sample of the Canadian census and found that children from gay and lesbian families were less likely to graduate from high school than children raised by opposite sex couples and single parents.

The issue of gay parenting in highly politicized. In such an environment, liberal media tend to exaggerate the results of those studies that appear to confirm their biases and write hyper-critically about the studies showing different results. Conservative media have similarly focused more on reporting the research that confirms their biases.

There are some significant differences, though, between how Allen and Regnerus are presenting their findings compared to Crouch and other social scientists who say there are no differences between gay and straight parents. Unlike the “no differences” social scientists, Allen and Regnerus do not argue that their studies are conclusive.

Gay parenting is difficult to study because it is so new. In the history of human civilization, gay parenting has only recently become culturally accepted. To understand the effects on the children they raise, social scientists need more and larger samples and time — time for the kids raised by gays and lesbians to grow up and have outcomes that can be measured and compared to those raised by other family types. Allen and Regnerus point this out in their research and other reports.

For the time being, research has shown that biological, two-parent households provide, on average, the best outcomes for children compared to all other family types. Additional research has demonstrated the unique contributions of mothers and fathers to child development. (One study, for instance, found that fatherlessness harms the brain.) These studies should be sufficient to at least raise suspicion of the studies suggesting that kids raised by parents of the same gender have the same, or better outcomes as kids raised by both a mom and a dad.

The social scientists reporting “no differences,” on the other hand, make sweeping generalizations based only upon their small, non-random samples that confirm their liberal biases. Liberal media uncritically follow them.

Some of Regnerus’ liberal critics have also argued that his findings should be ignored because he is a conservative Catholic. Crouch, though, is a gay man raising two kids with his partner. Would these same critics suggest that Crouch’s study should be ignored because Crouch is personally invested in the results?

Contact: napp.nazworth@christianpost.com, @NappNazworth (Twitter)

Published on Clarion Project (http://www.clarionproject.org)
Efforts Mount to Gloss Over Islamist Ideology of Boko Haram

The reason that Boko Haram believes its kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian girls is justified is because of Islamist teachings that the taking of female slaves is justified during jihad. And this jihad is not limited Nigeria. In a recent video, its leader said it is at war with Christianity and democracy.

There are efforts to gloss over the fact that Boko Haram is inspired by Islamist doctrine. Comedian Dean Obeidallah writes that Boko Haram is not “Islamic” and the media shouldn’t describe it as “Islamist,” “Islamic terrorists” or anything of the sort.

Ahmed Bedier, former executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and current leader of United Voices for America, speaking at a press conference organized by Muslim advocacy groups to distance Islam from Boko Haram, said he was “tired of people coming on television asking, ‘Where does this ideology come from?’ ” His answer was that it “comes from nowhere.”

Yet, the leader of the same press conference, Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, the spokesman for the Dar Al Hijra mosque in Falls Church Va., said in reference to formally excommunicating Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau, “There is a great reluctance to excommunicate someone by extension. … It would be like convicting someone in absentia.”

Two days later, in a telephone interview, when asked to give sources from Islamic texts that contradict Boko Haram’s Islamist ideology, the interviewer reported that Abdul-Malik “quickly ended the call.”

CAIR and its allies work hard to cleanse the semantics of the media so the Islamist ideology isn’t a topic of scrutiny, but Boko Haram leader Abubaker Shekau wants the world to know that he is motivated by Islamic sources. For example, he said:

“If we meet infidels, if we meet those that become infidels, according to Allah, there is not any talk except hitting of the neck. I hope you, chosen people of Allah, are hearing. This is an instruction from Allah. It is not a distorted interpretation. It is from Allah himself.”

He also cites Islamic sources when justifying Boko Haram’s kidnapping of the Nigerian girls. Slavery of one’s adversaries, he says, is permissible during a jihad. The captives are the booty of war. Shekau explains, “There are slaves in Islam, you should know this, Prophet Muhammed took slaves himself during [the] Badr war.”

Shekau isn’t saying that it is permissible to take just anyone as a slave, but only those that belonged to the enemy. So how do these innocent girls qualify as seized enemy property? Because Shekau believes the jihad is not against an army, government or ethnic group but against Christianity, Western influence, democracy and Muslims that Boko Haram sees as impure.

Shekau declared, “To the people of the world, everybody should know his status, it is either you are with us mujahideen or you are with the Christians.”

He continues:

“We know what is happening in this world, it is a jihad war against Christians and Christianity. It is a war against Western education, democracy and constitution… This is what I know in Quran. This is a war against Christians and democracy and their constitution, Allah says we should finish them when we get them.”

Contrary to Bedier’s assertion that Boko Haram’s ideology “comes from nowhere,” it does come from well-established Islamic interpretations, even if most Muslims disagree with those interpretations (a mere 2% of Nigerian Muslims view Boko Haram favorably).

Shekau’s view is substantiated by IslamWeb, a popular website that endorses Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. In a 2002 fatwa (authoritative Islamic ruling), IslamWeb concludes:

“Islam left only one source for slavery that is enslavement in war and only legal war (i.e. against the non-Muslims). Indeed, the enslavement of prisoners of war was a part of warfare. So, Islam did not free the slaves of its enemies while its own followers are enslaved by those enemies and given the worst possible treatment.”

In another 2002 fatwa, IslamWeb specifies that females from the enemy camp can be taken as booty. It says:

“’the slaves that your right hand possesses’…includes the slave girls and slaves in general those who are under the control of a free Muslim. As a rule, the only channel of producing this segment of society is Jihad in the cause of Allah.”

It continues:

“At last, a Muslim has the right to have sex with a slave girl since she is “in the possession of his right hand.”

Islam Q & A is a website by Sheikh Muhammad Salih al-Munajjid. He is an Islamic scholar that preaches in Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and has two television shows.

In fatwa 10382, Islam Q & A states, “It is permissible for you to take concubines from among those whom you seized as war booty,” regardless of if one has a spouse. It says, “Islam allows a man to have intercourse with his slave woman, whether he has a wife or wives or he is not married.”

“The scholars are unanimously agreed on that and it is not permissible for anyone to regard it as haraam [prohibited] or to forbid it. Whoever regards that as haraam is a sinner who is going against the consensus of the scholars,” it rules.

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi is another supporting source. He is the Islamist scholar that founded the Jamaat-e-Islami group in Pakistan and is continues to be referenced by Islamists around the world. The New York-based Islamic Circle of North America, one of the largest Muslim-American groups, continually cites him as a top authority on Sharia.

Maududi wrote, “And forbidden to you are the wedded wives of other people, except those who have fallen in your hands (as prisoners of war): This is the Law of Allah.”

Then there’s the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America, based in California. In 2006, it issued a fatwa written by Dr. Hatem al-Haj, a member of its Fatwa Committee.

“God miraculously laid down a system by which all the tributaries feeding into the river of slavery would be cut off except for the captives of war,” AMJA’s fatwa rules (emphasis mine).

The fatwa’s author, Al-Haj, is also the Dean of the College of Islamic Studies of the Mishkah Islamic University of North America that is headquartered in Minnesota. Mishkau University also has branches in Detroit, Houston and Montreal and on-site activities in Tampa and Rutgers University in New Jersey.

All of these Islamic sources are in agreement. That doesn’t just “come out of nowhere,” as former CAIR official Ahmed Bedier insists.

 

Ryan Mauro is the ClarionProject.org’s National Security Analyst, a fellow with the Clarion Project and is frequently interviewed on top-tier TV stations as an expert on counterterrorism and Islamic extremism.

 

Pro-Lifers Have More Intensity But Fewer Registered Voters, Gallup Poll Shows

Americans are about evenly split on the issue of abortion. The issue is more likely to be a deciding factor in the vote of pro-lifers than pro-choicers, but there are fewer pro-life registered voters.

Forty-seven percent of Americans consider themselves pro-choice and 46 percent consider themselves pro-life, according to Gallup’s May 8-11 poll of 1,028 adults.

With a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points, the split is too close to say which position has the highest level of support. Since 2009, Lydia Saad wrote for Gallup, abortion attitudes have been “roughly split” with only a few fluctuations.

Pro-lifers, however, demonstrated more intensity in their position. When asked if they only support candidates who share their views on abortion, about one in four, 24 percent, of pro-lifers said they would, compared to only 16 percent for those who identify as pro-choice. Thirty-two percent of pro-choice identifiers said they do not see abortion as a major issue, compared to only 21 percent of those who identify with the pro-life position.

position on abortion
The pro-life intensity advantage in the voting both is diminished, however, by the fact that fewer of them are registered to vote. Among registered voters, 50 percent are pro-choice and 44 percent are pro-life.

Franklin Graham Calls on Pastors to Speak Out on Abortion, Homosexuality; Says ‘God Hates Cowards’

Marco Rubio Mentions When Life Begins According to Science; Washington Post Looks for Answers With Pro-Abortion Group

20th Abortion Clinic Closes in Texas After Abortionist Is Denied Hospital Privileges

When looking at intensity among registered voters, the eight percentage point advantage for pro-lifers shrinks to, within the margin of error, only three percentage points — 11 percent of registered voters say they only vote pro-life and eight percent say they only vote pro-choice.

About two-thirds of Democrats are pro-choice, 28 percent are pro-life. Republicans are essentially the reverse of that — 69 percent are pro-life and 27 percent are pro-choice. Independents, like the full sample, are about evenly split — 46 percent are pro-choice and 45 percent are pro-life.

Regionally, Easterners are the most pro-choice, 59 percent, and Midwesterners and Southerners are the most pro-life, 50 percent and 49 percent, respectively. Westerners were evenly split, 48 percent pro-choice and 47 percent pro-life.

Gallup also found a high level of intensity from the partisans on both sides of the abortion issue. Twenty-four percent of Republican voters and 19 percent of Democratic voters will only vote for candidates who share their views on abortion.

These voters, therefore, are “prime targets for party turnout efforts,” Saad wrote. “While their impact could result in a draw on the abortion issue, it is a battle neither party can afford to ignore.”

 

Published on Clarion Project (http://www.clarionproject.org)
Home > Hollywood Stars Call For Brunei Boycott Over Sharia Law
Hollywood Stars Call For Brunei Boycott Over Sharia Law

Hollywood stars were the prominent protesters against the famous Beverly Hills Hotel that is owned by Brunei, a Southeast Asian country that has just begun to implement sharia law and its harsh punishments.

As Clarion Project previously reported, as of April 1, the first phase of sharia law went into effect in the country. Eventually, punishments including the stoning to death for the crimes of adultery, homosexuality and blasphemy and the amputation of limbs for theft will be implemented.

Jay Leno, who participated in the protest organized outside the hotel, said, “I’d like to think that all people are basically good and that when they realize that this is going on, hopefully, they will do something about it … I mean, it’s just … I don’t know. Berlin, 1933? Hello, does it seem that far off from what happened during the Holocaust?”

Other celebrities and business people are joining in the boycott, including comedians Stephen Fry and Ellen DeGeneres, and TV host Sharon Osbourne.

British billionaire Richard Branson, owner of the Virgin Group, said in a tweet: “No @virgin employee, nor our family, will stay at Dorchester Hotels until the Sultan abides by basic human rights.”

On Tuesday, the city of Beverly Hills voted unanimously to pressure the government of Brunei to divest itself from the famous hotel. Protesters have called for a boycott of the century-old establishment, frequented since its inception by Hollywood’s elite.

Council members stopped short of calling for a city-sanctioned boycott.

In recent days, a number of organizations have cancelled events scheduled for the hotel. The Feminist Majority Foundation announced it had cancelled the Beverly Hills hotel as the venue for its annual Global Women’s Rights Awards. The Motion Picture & Television Fund’s annual “Night Before the Oscars” charity event has also cancelled its event at the hotel.

Tensions at the city council meeting ran high between those outraged over human rights abuses inherent in sharia versus those interested in preserving the jobs the hotel generates for local workers.

Christopher Cowdray, the chief executive of the London-based Dorchester Collection of hotels owned by Brunei, said it was unjust to single out the Beverly Hills Hotel and its employees. “There are other hotel companies in this city that are owned by Saudi Arabia … you know, your shirt probably comes from a country which has human rights issues,” said Cowdray.

“This is misguided,” Robert Anderson, the great-grandson of the founder of the hotel, told Reuters after the vote. “We should be against human rights violations in all countries, not just the Brunei.”

On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department said the U.S. ambassador in Brunei had privately relayed concerns to the Brunei government about implementing sharia law. Previously, State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki had said, “We don’t take a position on this specific effort,” while acknowledging it was the right of citizens to institute a boycott.

The initial phase of sharia law in Brunei, instituted on April 1, begins with fines and imprisonment for violations of sharia. Press reports mentioned offenses such as “indecent behavior,” pregnancies outside of marriage, the preaching of religions besides Islam and not attending mandatory prayers on Fridays.

The second phase institutes physical punishments, such as cutting off hands and floggings for offenses like theft. The Guardian says this is to be implemented later this year, but Reuters says it will happen in 2015.

The third phase mandates executions, including stoning, for offenses like adultery, sodomy and blasphemy. Reports differ as to whether this starts in 2015 or in 2016.

 

 

 

Common Core Alert! Holocaust as a ‘Propaganda Tool’? That’s What One CA School District is Teaching

May 6, 2014 By Jennifer Burke

Holocaust
Those in opposition to Common Core are frequently told that there is nothing controversial about the program. It is simply way to better prepare students for college by increasing their critical thinking skills. Many arguments have been made about Common Core’s nonsensical Math lessons, its abandonment of American literary classics for progressive reading materials, and the Common Core based anti-American lessons that have been reported across the country. The latest Common Core controversy out of California is beyond imagination. It is a dangerous, anti-Semitic rewriting of history.

The San Bernardino Sun reported on the lesson at the center of the controversy. Students in the eighth grade in the Rialto Unified School District were asked to hone their critical thinking skills by debating, in essay form, whether the Holocaust was ‘merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth.’”

The district says the assignment is merely to teach students to evaluate the quality of evidence made by advocates or opponents of an issue.
“When tragic events occur in history, there is often debate about their actual existence,” the assignment reads. “For example, some people claim the Holocaust is not an actual historical event, but instead is a propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain. Based upon your research on this issue, write an argumentative essay, utilizing cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe the Holocaust was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain. Remember to address counterclaims (rebuttals) to your stated claim. You are also required to use parenthetical (internal) citations and to provide a Works Cited page.”

Asking junior high students to prove that the Holocaust was real or was simply a made-up event for propaganda purposes is not critical thinking; it is anti-Semitic. The Anti-Defamation League spoke out about this inappropriate and hate based assignment. The associate regional director, Matthew Friedman, sent the following in an email to Rialto Unified’s interim school superintendent, Mohammad Z. Islam.

“An exercise asking students to question whether the Holocaust happened has no academic value; it only gives legitimacy to the hateful and anti-Semitic promoters of Holocaust denial. It is also very dangerous to ask junior high school students to question the reality of the Holocaust on their own, given the sheer volume of denial websites out there.

If these questions do come up, it’s better to show the huge preponderance of evidence that’s out there (testimony, documentation, death camp sites, archaeology, etc.) and to also question why people would question the reality of the Holocaust (many motivated not by historical curiosity, but by anti-Semitism). Also, who are the people questioning the Holocaust and what do real historians say? This is more of an issue of teaching good information literacy.”

Even worse, this anti-Semitic project was assigned during the unit focused on the “Diary of Anne Frank,” the story of a young girl who, along with her family, was a Jewish victim of the Holocaust.

Local news affiliate KTLA, channel 5, offered an even further look into the offensive nature of this assignment.

The 18-page assignment instructions included three sources that students were told to use, including one that stated gassings in concentration camps were a “hoax” and that no evidence has shown Jews died in gas chambers.

“With all this money at stake for Israel, it is easy to comprehend why this Holocaust hoax is so secretly guarded,” states the source, which is a attributed to a webpage on biblebelievers.org.au. “In whatever way you can, please help shatter this profitable myth. It is time we stop sacrificing America’s welfare for the sake of Israel and spend our hard-earned dollars on Americans.”

The district claims that it received no complaints from parents , teachers, or students about the assignment, which encouraged students to question whether the Holocaust, the killing of 6 million Jews by the Hitler Nazi regime, between 1933 and 1945, really happened. They initially defended the assignment as simply one focused on critical thinking and research. District spokesman Syeda Jafri made a statement via email on behalf of the district.

“One of the most important responsibilities for educators is to develop critical thinking skills in students. “This will allow a person to come to their own conclusion. Current events are part of the basis for measuring IQ. The Middle East, Israel, Palestine and the Holocaust are on newscasts discussing current events. Teaching how to come to your own conclusion based on the facts, test your position, be able to articulate that position, then defend your belief with a lucid argument is essential to good citizenship. This thought process creates the foundation for a good education. The progression is within district board policy and also supports the district’s student inspired motto: ‘Today’s Scholars, Tomorrow’s Leaders.’”

After her adamant statement that actually admits that the assignment encouraged students to decide for themselves if the Holocaust truly happened, Jafri then offered a contradiction to the district’s stance.

“There is no doubt the Holocaust was one of the most horrific, traumatic time-pieces in our history,” she wrote in an emailed response Friday afternoon. “We want our students to engage in developing critical thinking skills and have an in-depth perspective on the importance of the Holocaust. Although I received one email last week in reference to this subject, the district has not received any concerns about this writing prompt from any teachers, administrators or parents. However, due to its sensitive nature, we are always open to go back and examine the prompt.”

As news about this assignment was spread around the country, people were not buying the district’s double speak about this controversial, anti-Semitic assignment. After defending the project for days, the district finally, under pressure, changed its tune and altered the assignment. On Monday, Jafri revised the district’s stance on the assignment stating, “This was a mistake. It should be corrected. It will be corrected. We all know it was real. The Holocaust is not a hoax. … I believe our classroom teachers are teaching it with sensitivity and compassion.”

Ms. Jafri, there is no sensitivity and compassion in encouraging young, impressionable minds to question whether the Holocaust was real and provide them with materials filled with vile, anti-Semitic, hate-based lies and ask if they believe it. The assignment was wrong and dangerous. Anti-Semites have been trying to rewrite history by stating that the Holocaust never happened and a school funded with taxpayer money just supported that twisted stance.

Supreme Court: Christian Prayers OK to Open Council Meetings
By Associated Press May 5, 2014 12:25 pm
Print Tell a Friend Text Size: A A A
Supreme Court BuildingWASHINGTON (AP) — Prayers that open town council meetings do not violate the Constitution even if they routinely stress Christianity, a divided Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The court said in 5-4 decision that the content of the prayers is not significant as long as they do not denigrate non-Christians or proselytize.

The ruling by the court’s conservative majority was a victory for the town of Greece, N.Y., outside of Rochester. The Obama administration sided with the town.

In 1983, the court upheld an opening prayer in the Nebraska legislature and said that prayer is part of the nation’s fabric, not a violation of the First Amendment. Monday’s ruling was consistent with the earlier one.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said the prayers are ceremonial and in keeping with the nation’s traditions.

“The inclusion of a brief, ceremonial prayer as part of a larger exercise in civic recognition suggests that its purpose and effect are to acknowledge religious leaders and the institutions they represent, rather than to exclude or coerce nonbelievers,” Kennedy said.

Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the court’s four liberal justices, said, “I respectfully dissent from the Court’s opinion because I think the Town of Greece’s prayer practices violate that norm of religious equality — the breathtakingly generous constitutional idea that our public institutions belong no less to the Buddhist or Hindu than to the Methodist or Episcopalian.”

Kagan said the case differs significantly from the 1983 decision because “Greece’s town meetings involve participation by ordinary citizens, and the invocations given — directly to those citizens — were predominantly sectarian in content.”

A federal appeals court in New York ruled that Greece violated the Constitution by opening nearly every meeting over an 11-year span with prayers that stressed Christianity.

From 1999 through 2007, and again from January 2009 through June 2010, every meeting was opened with a Christian-oriented invocation. In 2008, after residents Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens complained, four of 12 meetings were opened by non-Christians, including a Jewish layman, a Wiccan priestess and the chairman of the local Baha’i congregation.

A town employee each month selected clerics or lay people by using a local published guide of churches. The guide did not include non-Christian denominations, however. The appeals court found that religious institutions in the town of just under 100,000 people are primarily Christian, and even Galloway and Stephens testified they knew of no non-Christian places of worship there.

The two residents filed suit and a trial court ruled in the town’s favor, finding that the town did not intentionally exclude non-Christians. It also said that the content of the prayer was not an issue because there was no desire to proselytize or demean other faiths.

But a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that even with the high court’s 1983 ruling, the practice of having one Christian prayer after another amounted to the town’s endorsement of Christianity.

Kennedy, however, said judges should not be involved in evaluating the content of prayer because it could lead to legislatures requiring “chaplains to redact the religious content from their message in order to make it acceptable for the public sphere.”

He added, “Government may not mandate a civic religion that stifles any but the most generic reference to the sacred any more than it may prescribe a religious orthodoxy.”

Kennedy himself was the author an opinion in 1992 that held that a Christian prayer delivered at a high school graduation did violate the Constitution. The justice said Monday there are differences between the two situations, including the age of the audience and the fact that attendees at the council meeting may step out of the room if they do not like the prayer.

Kennedy and his four colleagues in the majority all are Catholic. They are: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

In her dissent, Kagan said the council meeting prayers are unlike those said to open sessions of Congress and state legislatures, where the elected officials are the intended audience. In Greece, “the prayers there are directed squarely at the citizens,” she said. Kagan was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor. Of the four, three are Jewish and Sotomayor is Catholic.

Kagan also noted what she described as the meetings’ intimate setting, with 10 or so people sitting in front of the town’s elected and top appointed officials. Children and teenagers are likely to be present, she said.

The case is Greece v. Galloway, 12-696

 

Police Militarization, Abuses of Power, and the Road to Impeachment
James Simpson — April 3, 2013

These are trying times. Never in the history of this country have we been so weakened and polarized by what many view as deliberate government policy. Now anti-gunners in the U.S. Congress, the Obama administration, and legislatures across the country are seeking to exploit the Newtown tragedy to promote their “gun control” agenda that envisions federal, universal background checks on gun purchases, and that could lead to gun registration and confiscation.

At the same time, the increasing militarization of law enforcement, most visibly demonstrated by the growing use of massive, SWAT-type raids on businesses and individuals, sometimes with federal involvement or authorization, is heightening concerns that this country is moving toward a police state.

Mountain Pure SWAT Raid: The Movie

Mountain Pure Water, LLC is headquartered on Interstate 30 just outside the town of Little Rock, Arkansas. The company manufactures and distributes beverage containers, spring water, fruit drinks, and teas. In January 2012, about 50 federal agents, led by Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) Special Agent Cynthia Roberts and IRS Special Agent Bobbi Spradlin, swooped in, guns drawn. Without explanation they shut down plant operations, herded employees into the cafeteria, and confined them to the room for hours. They could not so much as use the bathroom without police escort. Cell phones were confiscated and all Internet and company phones were disabled.

Plant Manager Court Stacks was at his desk when police burst through his office door, guns drawn and pointed at him—a thoroughly unprofessional violation of basic firearms discipline in this circumstance, and the cause of numerous accidental SWAT killings.

storm damaged barnAccording to Mountain Pure CEO John Stacks, the search warrant was related to questions about an SBA loan he secured through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to recover tornado losses to his home, warehouse, and associated equipment. Mr. Stacks says the SBA apparently doesn’t believe that assets listed as damaged in the storm were actually damaged.

The search warrant was extremely vague and some agents’ actions may have been illegal, according to company attorney, Timothy Dudley. Comptroller Jerry Miller was taken to a private room and interrogated for over three hours by SBA Special Agent Cynthia Roberts, the raid leader. He requested an attorney and was told “That ain’t gonna happen.” According to Miller, the SBA unilaterally changed the terms of Stacks’ loan. He says he asked Roberts what gave the SBA authority to do that, and she responded, “We’re the federal government, we can do what we want, when we want, and there is nothing you can do about it.” Miller said during the raid Roberts “strutted around the place like she was Napoleon.”

Stacks said the company has had three IRS audits in the past three years, including one following the raid, with no problems. The SBA has still not filed any charges, continues to stonewall about the raid’s purpose, and refuses to release most of the property seized during the raid.

Quality Assurance Director Katy Depriest, who doubles as the company crisis manager, described agents’ “Gestapo tactics.” She added that they confiscated CDs of college course work and educational materials for a class she had been taking that resulted in her flunking the course. Those materials have not yet been returned.

Attempts were made to contact Ms. Roberts for this article, but she is no longer employed by the SBA. Questions were directed to the Little Rock, Arkansas U.S. Attorney’s office. The USA’s public affairs officer had no comment; however they have convened a grand jury to evaluate the case.

 

Because law enforcement refused repeated requests to respond for this article, we have only Mountain Pure’s side of the story, but they make a compelling case:

Many company employees were willing to discuss this raid on the record.
Mountain Pure and several employees have sued Special Agents Roberts and Spradlin.
Mr. Stacks commissioned a video about the raid, reproduced here.
The video includes testimony from Henry Juszkiewicz, CEO of famed Gibson Guitar Corp., which suffered two such raids, and another raid target, Duncan Outdoors Inc. The video does not attempt to establish anyone’s guilt or innocence, but rather highlights law enforcement’s heavy-handed tactics in executing SWAT-style search warrants against legitimate businesses. Gibson has settled with the Justice Department in a case fraught with legal ambiguities, while Duncan has been indicted for violations of currency transaction reporting requirements.

Mr. Stacks claims he has gotten calls from many companies that have suffered similar raids, but they are afraid to speak out. Here are a few examples that have made national news:

FDA officials, U.S. Marshals, and the Pennsylvania State Police raided an Amish farm in 2011 for selling raw milk.
A Department of Education SWAT team raided a man’s home, “dragged him out in his boxer shorts, threw him to the ground and handcuffed him” in front of his three young children. They were looking for evidence of his estranged wife’s financial aid fraud.
66 year-old George Norris spent two years in jail following a USFWS raid that nailed him for filing incorrect forms on imported orchids.
A Fairfax, Virginia optometrist being served a warrant for illegal gambling was killed by a SWAT team member whose firearm accidentally discharged, according to the Fairfax County police chief. The optometrist was unarmed, non-threatening and unaware that he was under investigation.*
War on Small Business?

In 2006, the IRS announced it would shift its focus to audit more small businesses. IRS data on tax audits seems to bear this out. Between the first and second half of the last decade, the audit coverage rate on businesses with assets between $10 and $50 million increased by 42 percent. Between 2001 and 2005 an annual average of 13,549 returns were audited for businesses with assets less than $10 million. Between 2006 and 2011, the average was 19,289, an increase of over 42 percent (pdf).

This has paid off in increased enforcement revenues, but are massive SWAT raids an essential part of this new strategy? In addition to the potential dangers and the outrage of having company employees treated like drug dealers or terrorists, the cost of these raids is staggering. Agents told Mountain Pure employees they had flown in from all over the country.

The Sharpsburg Raid

Sharpsburg, Maryland, population 706, is a quiet little town bordering the Antietam National Battlefield in rural Washington County. On Thursday, November 29, 2012 at about 12:30 pm, the quiet was shattered by an invasion of over 150 Maryland State Police (MSP), FBI, State Fire Marshal’s bomb squad, and County SWAT teams, complete with two police helicopters, two Bearcat “special response” vehicles, mobile command posts, snipers, police dogs, bomb disposal truck, bomb sniffing robots, and a huge excavator. They even brought in food trucks.

A heavily armed MSP Special Tactical Assault Team Element (STATE) executed a no-knock search warrant, smashing through the reportedly unlocked door with a battering ram. They worked until after 7:30 p.m., ransacking a modest, 20 ft. by 60 ft. single-family home for weapons, and searching for its owner, one Terry Porter. For hours, neighbors were left worrying and wondering, while countless police blanketed the area.

Local resident Tim Franquist described the scene:

“The event, or siege as we are calling it, involved convoys of police speeding to the area, two helicopters, armored vehicles, command centers, countless police cruisers and officers. They blocked off the roads and commandeered a campground as their staging area.”

Terry Porter is married with three children, has lived in the town all of his life, and owns a modest welding business. He is also a prepper. His preparations include an underground bunker, buried food supplies, and surveillance cameras. Porter really doesn’t like Obama, and tells anyone who will listen.

Unfortunately, one listener was an undercover officer for the MSP. The police had become interested in Porter through an anonymous caller who claimed that Porter “had been getting crazier and crazier…” and that he had “10 to 15 machine gun-style weapons, six handguns and up to 10,000 rounds of ammunition…” The MSP performed a background check and discovered Porter had a 20-year-old charge for aiding marijuana distribution, a disqualification for firearms ownership.

MSP detailed an officer to visit Porter’s shop on November 16th posing as a customer. The officer said Porter “openly admitted to being a prepper.” Not a crime. Porter also allegedly claimed to have a Saiga shotgun, and was willing to use it “when people show up unannounced.” Based on the Russian AK-47 design, some Saiga variants are fully automatic. On November 27th MSP obtained a search warrant.

Two days later they appeared at Porter’s door but could not find him. Porter later disclosed he “left out the back door.” Where he went has not been disclosed. However, local blogger Ann Corcoran, who lives nearby and followed the issue closely, claims he hid out in fear for his life. Given highly publicized, accidental shootings involving SWAT teams and the overwhelming force present, that’s a reasonable assumption.

The following day Porter turned himself in and took the police through his property. The raid produced a total of four shotguns, a 30-30-caliber hunting rifle and two .22-caliber rifles. He was charged with firearms possession violations and released on a $75,000 bond.

The raid was one of the largest in recent U.S. history, twice the size of the 1993 Branch Davidian raid in Waco, Texas, which initially involved 76 ATF agents. It almost rivaled the recent 200-strong statewide manhunt for California cop-killing cop, Christopher Dorner. Yet only a few local stories emerged and those presented a hysterical portrait of Porter while largely underreporting the police presence.

Why the Raid?

The MSP did not notify town officials or Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore, who learned of the raid after it began, when they requested the use of his SWAT Team and Bearcat. The MSP also set up a command center at a campground within the national park without notifying the Park Police. Bills have since been introduced in the Maryland legislature by Washington County Delegate Neil Parrott (HB 0219) and State Senator Chris Shank (SB 0259) to require notification of local law enforcement before any outside agency serves a warrant.

A meeting following the raid attracted 60 concerned Sharpsburg citizens and leaders. Sharpsburg Vice Mayor Bryan Gabriel characterized the raid as “overwhelming,” and said it “could have put a lot of people at risk.” Erin Moshier, a citizen who attended the meeting added, “We all felt there was excessive force involved, and we felt that a member of our community was victimized and we wanted to get to the bottom of it and get some answers.” Both Gabriel and Sheriff Mullendore have issued statements of support for Porter, who they know personally. Citizens created a “Friends for Terry” website to help with his legal costs.

When asked why the police did not simply detain Porter in town or at a traffic stop, MSP Hagerstown Barracks Commander, Lt. Thomas Woodward said the police only had a property search warrant and had no authority to arrest Porter. However police do have authority to “detain the property owner for 24 hours” when executing a search warrant, so Porter could have been intercepted elsewhere, but they chose to execute that authority as part of the raid.

Lt. Woodward said that the state police have a good working relationship with Sheriff Mullendore. If that is the case, why didn’t they consult the sheriff first? If Porter were really that dangerous wouldn’t it be helpful to get more information from a trusted source better acquainted with him? Mullendore said they usually do give notice. Reportedly several state police who personally know Porter reside in Sharpsburg. Why were they not consulted?

Does the MSP detail SWAT automatically for gun search warrants? Some other police forces do. For example, in one fatal Florida SWAT shooting, a 21-man SWAT team was called in merely because the target had a concealed-carry permit. Are SWAT raids to become the order of the day for gun owners?

If Mr. Porter is indeed adjudicated a felon in possession of firearms, then he was in violation of the law. He didn’t help his case by bragging to the undercover officer about his doomsday preparations, especially the Saiga—which turned out to be nonexistent.

There is nothing wrong with being prepared, or even describing the actions you might take in a hypothetical “doomsday” situation, but in fairness to police, with all the lunatics coming out of the woodwork these days, and the heightened atmosphere of mutual distrust between law enforcement and citizens, the MSP might be excused for presuming the worst. But 150 police?

Recent events such as the kidnapping/bunker standoff in Alabama, and cop-killer Dorner, provide apt examples. Police never know what to expect. Still, in this case at least, it seems a little more investigation and consultation with local authorities could have resolved this issue quietly and with much less risk and cost.

Cost of the Operation

Neither the FBI nor the MSP have publicly disclosed how many of their officers were involved in the raid. However, Senator Shank and Delegate Parrott were told in a meeting with top MSP officials that the total, including federal, state, and local police, exceeded 150. From public information requests we know that the Washington County Special Response Team (SRT) sent 17, including four snipers, two medics, and their Bearcat driver. Only two of these actually participated, the driver and a sniper who accompanied him.

The FBI personnel were training nearby and when their assistance was requested, many, if not all, chose to participate. A witness on the scene guessed there were approximately 40 officers at the campground where the FBI staged. If we assume a total of 150, that would leave 93 MSP. The following table, based on police salaries gleaned from public sources provides a rough estimate of the personnel cost for this operation.

sharpsburg raid cost table

The MSP argued that only variable costs—those directly related to the operation—are relevant. By this logic, the operation cost very little, as salaries and other fixed costs are incurred anyway. But the personnel and resources involved would otherwise have been engaged elsewhere: tracking down criminals, enforcing other laws, and assisting in emergencies. There are clearly other, potentially more beneficial activities they could not simultaneously perform. This is called opportunity cost and must be considered.

This raid cost approximately $11,000 per hour, which dramatically illustrates one reason government spending is so wildly out of control. If agency managers considered the true cost of their decisions, they might work harder to prioritize their activities and not waste valuable resources on errands of questionable value.

High visibility events like the Sharpsburg raid present a one-sided picture of police as out-of-control, wasting time on seeming trifles. But their daily efforts, which go largely unreported, paint a much more balanced picture. For example, the MSP Gang Enforcement Unit has aggressively investigated violent street gangs, one of the largest sources of gun violence.

Between 2010 and 2012 alone, the Gang Unit made 621 gang arrests and seized 94 firearms. This does not include their extensive work with multi-agency task forces. Here, they have participated in successful operations against such violent gangs as the Crips & Bloods, Wise Guyz, B-6, the Black Guerrilla Family, Juggalos, the Dead Man Incorporated crime syndicate, and others, and have brought many of these offenders to justice.

Militarization of Police

crime down but police militarizeThe SWAT concept was popularized by Los Angeles Police Chief Darryl Gates in the late 1960s in response to large-scale incidents for which the police were ill-prepared. But the use of SWAT teams has since exploded. Massive SWAT raids using military-style equipment are becoming routine methods for executing search warrants. One study estimates 40,000 such raids per year nationwide:

“These increasingly frequent raids… are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they’re sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers.”

John W. Whitehead writes in the Huffington Post, that “it appears to have less to do with increases in violent crime and more to do with law enforcement bureaucracy and a police state mentality.”

The ACLU recently announced its intention to investigate the militarization of law enforcement. Ironically, despite the perception of heightened gun violence due to incidents like Newtown, ACLU points out that both crime rates and law enforcement gun deaths have been declining for decades (see chart).

Yet police forces are becoming increasingly militarized due to huge subsidies provided by the federal government:

“Through its little-known “1033 program,” the Department of Defense gave away nearly $500 million worth of leftover military gear to law enforcement in fiscal year 2011… The surplus equipment includes grenade launchers, helicopters, military robots, M-16 assault rifles and armored vehicles… Orders in fiscal year 2012 are up 400 percent over the same period in 2011…”

Congress created this provision in 1997 for drug and anti-terrorism efforts. It has since provided over 17,000 agencies $2.6 billion worth of equipment at no charge. One local agency now owns an amphibious tank, while another obtained a machine-gun-equipped APC.

governor omalley bearcatAdditionally, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants have allowed state and local agencies nationwide to purchase Bearcats. These 16,000 pound vehicles are bulletproof and can be equipped with all kinds of extra features.

Ironically, while SWAT teams probably got their biggest boost initially from conservatives, many fear law enforcement is becoming a tool to enforce leftist ideology. University criminal justice programs turn out graduates indoctrinated in liberal theology, which carries into modern law enforcement bureaucratic culture.

Today this trend is reflected in reports coming out of the Department of Homeland Security, the military, and various law enforcement “fusion” centers, that identify gun-owners, patriots, ex-military, Christians, pro-life activists, and tea party members as “potential domestic terrorists (pdf).”

The perpetrator of last summer’s attempted mass shooting at the Family Research Council headquarters now admits he was prompted by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Watch” list. The radical leftist SPLC is now “consulting” with the FBI and DHS regarding “rightwing hate groups.” The group labeled AIM’s Cliff Kincaid a member of a sinister group of “Patriots” for writing critically of the United Nations, President Obama, and the homosexual lobby, among other things. Ironically, the SPLC “Teaching tolerance” project ran an article praising unrepentant Communist terrorist bomber Bill Ayers as a “civil rights organizer, radical anti-Vietnam War activist, teacher, and author,” with an “editor’s note” going so far as to say that Ayers “has become a highly respected figure in the field of multicultural education.”

Ammo, Military Equipment and Domestic Drone Use

The Internet is abuzz with news that the Department of Homeland Security is purchasing over 1.6 billion rounds of pistol and rifle ammunition, 2,700 Mine Resistant Armored Vehicles (MRAP), and 7,000 fully-automatic “personal defense weapons.” Some of this is worthy of concern, some maybe not so much. Meanwhile, the expanded use of aerial drones within the continental U.S. has created anxiety among the public and political leaders alike.

Ammo

Reportedly, the order for 1.6 billion rounds of pistol and rifle ammunition would fulfill DHS requirements for the next five years, or 320 million rounds per year. DHS has 55,471 employees authorized to carry firearms, which comes to about 5,800 rounds per year, per employee. For perspective, during the first year of the war on terror, approximately 72 million rounds were expended in Iraq and another 21 million in Afghanistan by an estimated 45,000 combat troops. This amounts to about 2,000 rounds per war fighter.

Yet the requisition may not be unreasonable. The largest order, 750 million rounds, came from DHS’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) for training. FLETC Public Affairs Director Peggy Dixon said that the purchase request was “a ceiling. It does not mean that we will buy, or require, the full amounts of either contract.” Another 650 million rounds are being purchased by Inspections and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to cover the next five years.

Since these are maximum figures, it is difficult to conclusively evaluate the purchase. Some have asserted that the practical effect—if not the deliberate intent—is to dry up the private market for ammunition. Congressmen are now demanding answers from DHS regarding these purchases. But most ammunition shortages are likely due to civilian demands. Obama and the Democrats’ palpable hostility to gun owners has caused ammunition and firearms purchases to skyrocket.

There are 80 million gun owners in the U.S. If each just purchased 100 rounds of ammo—enough for one afternoon at the range—that would equal 8-billion rounds. Many are purchasing significantly more.

Instead of asking why DHS needs 1.6 billion rounds of ammo, the real question we should be asking is, “Why does DHS need 55,000 law enforcement officers?”

MRAPs & Submachine Guns

The original story regarding a purchase of 2,700 MRAPs s was in error. The confusion centers on a 2011 order from the U.S. Marines to retrofit 2,717 of its MRAPs with upgraded chassis.

DHS has been using MRAPs since 2008 and currently has a fleet of 16 received from the Army at no cost. They are used by DHS special response teams in executing “high-risk warrants.”

Similarly, the purchase of 7,000 “Personal Defense Weapons” is not extraordinary for an agency of this size.

Drones

DHS’s Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) has been operating Predator drones since 2005, with a current fleet of nine. Some in Congress seek to expand their use. In February of 2012, Congress passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, which includes a provision for commercial drone regulations. The FAA projects that up to 30,000 drones could be flying by 2020. A requisition memo describes these requirements for drones operated by CBP against border incursions by frequently armed drug traffickers and coyotes, but concern exists that this use will extend to U.S. citizens inside the border.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) filibustered the nomination of John Brennan as CIA Director, in order to obtain answers about lethal drone use against American citizens within the U.S. Holder finally sent Paul a letter, which said:

“It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no.”

Paul said they had been asking Holder for about six weeks. But Holder didn’t answer the question at all. Paul did not specify Americans “engaged in combat on American soil.” He asked about attacks against any Americans on U.S. soil. Holder had said in earlier testimony that the President did have the authority to kill Americans on American soil in certain circumstances.

Given the Obama administration’s contempt for the Constitution and its broad definition of “domestic terrorists” to include pretty much anyone they don’t like, there is cause for genuine concern.

Gun Control

The Sharpsburg raid occurred prior to the Newtown tragedy, but nonetheless reinforced the widespread impression that MSP is an anti-gun organization. Did the MSP decide to make an example of Porter to send a message to Maryland gun owners, or were they genuinely afraid that Porter was about to go postal? That question is unclear, but a Maryland law enforcement source who has attended briefings on the subject said that state police are “gearing up for confiscation.”

In 1989 Patrick O’Carroll of the Centers for Disease Control, stated:

“We’re going to systematically build a case that owning firearms causes deaths. We’re doing the most we can do, given the political realities” (emphasis added).

The CDC further revealed its strategy in 1994:

“We need to revolutionize the way we look at guns, like what we did with cigarettes. Now it [sic] is dirty, deadly, and banned.” Dr. Mark Rosenberg, Director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Control and Prevention. Washington Post, 1994 (emphasis added).

Do these themes sound familiar? They represent a single component of a vast effort by media, politicians, Hollywood, educational institutions, and professionals to vilify gun ownership. One left-wing organization, Third Way, created a “messaging strategy,” encouraging the term “gun safety” because “gun control has become a loaded term that leads voters to believe that the candidate supports the most restrictive laws.”

Since Newtown, however, the anti-gunners have pretty much dropped any pretense. Here is a small sampling of recent anti-gun lunacy:

Florida Democratic state Senator Audrey Gibson has proposed a bill requiring anger management classes for would-be ammo purchasers.
Colorado State Senator Evie Hudak told a rape victim testifying against gun control that having a gun was a waste of time as the rapist would have killed her with it.
A Democrat activist says we should train rapists not to rape, rather than using guns to stop them.
A Baltimore, MD seven-year old was suspended from school for two days for biting a pastry into a shape that looked like a gun.
A five-year old was suspended from school and branded a “terrorist threat” for telling a classmate she was going to shoot her with her Princess “bubble gun.”
A Philadelphia 5th grader was called “murderer” by classmates and yelled at by her teacher for having a piece of paper cut into a shape that looked vaguely like a pistol.
A New Jersey family was visited by police and the Department of Youth and Family Services because of a photo of their 11-year-old son posing with a rifle.
In an unguarded moment recently, U.S. Rep Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) revealed the Democratic intentions:

“We want everything on the table…This is a moment of opportunity. There’s no question about it…We’re on a roll now, and I think we’ve got to take the—you know, we’re gonna push as hard as we can and as far as we can.”

Conclusion

The increased militarization of police forces and the associated use of SWAT teams for routine law enforcement are a dangerous trend. Given Obama’s seeming willingness to abuse the power of his office on so many fronts, it is reasonable to expect more, not less, of the kind of abusive police overreach described in this report, while police forces and capabilities will continue to grow.

Obama’s obvious hostility to gun owners is fueling legitimate fears of gun confiscation, furthering an atmosphere of mutual distrust and paranoia between police and civilians. This raises the specter of armed confrontations should there be attempts to confiscate firearms. As one law enforcement official said at a recent gun hearing, “Good people are going to die trying to take these guns and good people are going to die trying to keep them.”

Ironically, despite its professed commitment to stopping “gun violence,” the Obama Administration authorized gun-running to Mexican drug cartels and Jihadists in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East. Some hearings and investigations have been held into these schemes but there has been little accountability for this “gun violence.”

At an AIM conference before the 2012 presidential election, impeachment proceedings against President Obama were discussed. Citing his experience with the Clinton impeachment, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), then-chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, talked about hearings held by his committee featuring constitutional experts who said “no other administration has ignored laws like this administration…” In regard to impeachment, however, he said that the standard was extremely high, and the process long and involved. He concluded, “I really think the better answer is to turn the attention to the American people and saying, ‘If you feel that strongly about the President, one way to register that discontent is to vote for the other person.’”

In the end, of course, Obama won re-election, and the abuses continue. However, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), has suggested impeachment may be an option if the President continues to govern through unilateral executive orders and attempts to impose his anti-Second Amendment agenda through such measures.

*Correction: This article previously said: “A Fairfax, Virginia optometrist being served a warrant for illegal gambling was killed by a SWAT team member whose firearm accidentally discharged. He answered the door in his bathrobe, unarmed and unaware that he was even under investigation.” It’s not true that he was in his bathrobe at the time. The article has been corrected.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 186 other followers