Tag Archive: human-rights


Detroit residents use Second Amendment to defend their homes
By Detroit Free Press (MI) March 29, 2014 6:55 am

ConstitutionFrances Williams said she knows the people on her block near St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church on Detroit’s west side.

Good people. Law-abiding people. Homeowners.

She wiped a tear as she talks about the anguish she believes her friend of 20 years and neighbor a few doors away must be going through. Police said the neighbor shot and killed two men trying to break into his house on Dexter this morning.

It’s unfortunate that two people died, but the break-ins have to stop, she said.

“We’re just tired, basically. … We’re not going to live in fear. People are just doing what they have to do, you know, and just as anybody else, we value our lives, and we’d like to be able to live out our lives in peace,” Williams said.

William’s neighbor, a man in his early 50s who repairs buses for the city, is the latest in a string of cases where Detroit residents have resorted to using weapons to fend off intruders. If prosecutors decide that Tuesday’s killings on Dexter were justified, it would bring the number of justifiable homicides in Detroit to 10 cases so far this year.

A Detroit police spokesman said residents have a right to defend themselves.

Chief (James) Craig and the Detroit Police Department, along with the citizens of Detroit, are fed up. “We are sick and tired of being victimized by the criminal element in this city,” said Sgt. Michael Woody. “The citizens are protecting their homes and their property and their families, and they are well within their rights to do that.”

Williams said this was only the most recent break-in or attempt her friend experienced. A couple of days ago, intruders tried to break into the man’s home twice in a single day.

Woody said the man heard a noise by a side window of his house and went to check about 10 a.m. He saw two men trying to break in and confronted them. A fight ensued and the man, who has a concealed-pistol license, pulled out a handgun and shot the other two men dead.

Authorities are trying to identify the men, who appeared to be men in their 20s.

In most recent cases, Detroiters are using guns to shoot at intruders who break in to their homes, sometimes with deadly consequences:

– A resident fatally shot a 17-year-old intruder on Penrod Street this month.

– A woman fatally shot an intruder on Grove Street in February.

– A mother of two opened fire when three teens broke into her home on Woodrow Wilson in February.

And earlier this month, an 82-year-old man used a hammer to whack a 33-year-old man who broke into his home on Whitfield. The bleeding suspect was arrested.

Similar situations happen in the suburbs, too, as evidenced by the Bloomfield Township homeowner who opened fire on two burglars last month, striking one in the hand.

Not all cases where homeowners have shot at people on their property are considered justified, however. Theodore Wafer of Dearborn Heights faces second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the November killing of 19-year-old Renisha McBride. Wafer is accused of shooting McBride after she crashed her car and ended up on his front porch. The case has racial overtones because Wafer is white and McBride was black.

Back on Dexter, Williams said residents have been forced to rely on themselves for protection against criminals. Crime, especially break-ins, convinced a family across the street to abandon their home late last year. It’s vacant now.

“We can and we will protect ourselves,” Williams said. “You can’t be having a culture of fear. The police are going to have to do better.”

Staff writer Gina Damron contributed to this report.

 

On Gloria Steinem’s Birthday, Comments That Will Shock Today’s Young Women
Genevieve WoodMarch 25, 2014 at 11:38 am(322)
President Barack Obama and feminist Gloria Steinem before Steinem received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013. Photo: Paul Hennessy/Polaris/Newscom
Liberal feminist icon Gloria Steinem turns 80 today. She once said that “A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.”
Yet for all her talk about equality and rights, one right she worked diligently to deny millions of both sexes was the right to be born and celebrate birthdays of their own. Once again, in her view, a “woman’s right” trumped the rights of another—in this case, an unborn child.
The fact the Supreme Court is hearing a case today about employers being forced to include abortion-inducing drugs in their health plans—even if it violates an employer’s conscience—is in many respects a testament to the work of Steinem and others. It’s a good example of how the “equal rights” she championed result in stepping on the rights of others.
>>> WATCH: Tough Questions on Religious Freedom, Abortion Drugs
The liberal sisterhood railed against a society they said encouraged women to stay at home and raise children. They demanded the marketplace open up more opportunities for women and pay them the same as men. Fine. But what about women who choose differently?
Today’s young women are empowered to choose career, family, and all sorts of combinations of both. But the words of Steinem and other liberal feminists revealed what they believed about American women…
Steinem: “[Housewives] are dependent creatures who are still children…parasites.”
Simone de Beauvoir: “No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.”
Betty Friedan: “[Housewives] are mindless and thing-hungry…not people. [Housework] is peculiarly suited to the capacities of feeble-minded girls. [It] arrests their development at an infantile level, short of personal identity with an inevitably weak core of self…. [Housewives] are in as much danger as the millions who walked to their own death in the concentration camps. [The] conditions which destroyed the human identity of so many prisoners were not the torture and brutality, but conditions similar to those which destroy the identity of the American housewife.”
Steinem has never been a fan of women who didn’t think like her or buy in to her radical feminist political agenda. “Having someone who looks like us but thinks like them (meaning men) is worse than having no one at all.”
So much for tolerance—and the belief that women are individuals who should be free to think and make choices for themselves.

Wyoming welder faces $75,000 a day in EPA fines for building pond on his property

Barnini Chakraborty

By 

Published March 14, 2014

  • Johnson family pond.jpg

    Johnson family.CREDIT: ANDREW JOHNSON

All Andy Johnson wanted to do was build a stock pond on his sprawling eight-acre Wyoming farm. He and his wife Katie spent hours constructing it, filling it with crystal-clear water, and bringing in brook and brown trout, ducks and geese. It was a place where his horses could drink and graze, and a private playground for his three children.

But instead of enjoying the fruits of his labor, the Wyoming welder says he was harangued by the federal government, stuck in what he calls a petty power play by the Environmental Protection Agency. He claims the agency is now threatening him with civil and criminal penalties – including the threat of a $75,000-a-day fine.

“I have not paid them a dime nor will I,” a defiant Johnson told FoxNews.com. “I will go bankrupt if I have to fighting it. My wife and I built [the pond] together. We put our blood, sweat and tears into it. It was our dream.”

But Johnson may be in for a rude awakening.

The government says he violated the Clean Water Act by building a dam on a creek without a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. Further, the EPA claims that material from his pond is being discharged into other waterways. Johnson says he built a stock pond — a man-made pond meant to attract wildlife — which is exempt from Clean Water Act regulations.

The property owner says he followed the state rules for a stock pond when he built it in 2012 and has an April 4-dated letter from the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office to prove it.

“Said permit is in good standing and is entitled to be exercised exactly as permitted,” the state agency letter to Johnson said.

But the EPA isn’t backing down and argues they have final say over the issue. They also say Johnson needs to restore the land or face the fines.

Johnson plans to fight. “This goes a lot further than a pond,” he said. “It’s about a person’s rights. I have three little kids. I am not going to roll over and let [the government] tell me what I can do on my land. I followed the rules.”

Johnson says he was “bombarded by hopelessness” when he first received the administrative order from the EPA. He then turned to state lawmakers who fast-tracked his pleas to Wyoming’s two U.S. senators, John Barrasso and Mike Enzi, and Louisiana Sen. David Vitter.

The Republican lawmakers sent a March 12 letter to Nancy Stoner, the EPA’s acting assistant administration for water, saying they were “troubled” by Johnson’s case and demanding the EPA withdraw the compliance order.

“Rather than a sober administration of the Clean Water Act, the Compliance Order reads like a draconian edict of a heavy-handed bureaucracy,” the letter states.

The EPA order on Jan. 30 gave Johnson 30 days to hire a consultant and have him or her assess the impact of the supposed unauthorized discharges. The report was also supposed to include a restoration proposal to be approved by the EPA as well as contain a schedule requiring all work be completed within 60 days of the plan’s approval.

If Johnson doesn’t comply — and he hasn’t so far — he’s subject to $37,500 per day in civil penalties as well as another $37,500 per day in fines for statutory violations.

The senators’ letter questioned the argument that Johnson built a dam and not a stock pond.

“Fairness and due process require the EPA base its compliance order on more than an assumption,” they wrote. “Instead of treating Mr. Johnson as guilty until he proves his innocence by demonstrating his entitlement to the Clean Water Act section 404 (f)(1)(C) stock pond exemption, EPA should make its case that a dam was built and that the Section 404 exemption does not apply.”

The EPA told FoxNews.com that it is reviewing the senators’ letter. “We will carefully evaluate any additional information received, and all of the facts regarding this case,” a spokeswoman for the agency said.

The authority of the EPA has recently been called into question over proposed rule changes that would redefine what bodies of water the government agency will oversee under the Clean Water Act.

The proposed changes would give the agency a say in ponds, lakes, wetlands and any stream — natural or manmade — that would have an effect on downstream navigable waters on both public land and private property. “If the compliance order stands as an example of how EPA intends to operate after completing its current ‘waters of the United States’ rulemaking, it should give pause to each and every landowner throughout the country,” the letter states.

For now, the matter remains unresolved. Johnson says he’s not budging and there’s been no indication from the EPA they will withdraw the compliance order.

Regardless of the outcome, Johnson says his legal fight with the government agency is a teachable moment for his kids

“This is showing them that they shouldn’t back down,” Johnson said. “If you need to stand up and fight, you do it.”

Daily Digest

Mar. 21, 2014

THE FOUNDATION

“[T]he true key for the construction of everything doubtful in a law is the intention of the law-makers. This is most safely gathered from the words, but may be sought also in extraneous circumstances provided they do not contradict the express words of the law.” –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Albert Gallatin, 1808

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS

Sanctions, Round Two

Perhaps realizing that his first round of sanctions against Russia resulted only in laughter and mockery, Barack Obama issued another round on Thursday. The U.S. added 20 more prominent Russians to its list, and Reuters reports that it hurt a little1: “Russian shares fell sharply on Friday as investors took fright at tougher than expected U.S. sanctions against President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle over Moscow’s seizure of Crimea from Ukraine.” Meanwhile, Ukraine signed a political association agreement on Friday, finalizing the same deal that Viktor Yanukovych rejected in November, leading to his ouster last month. So far, however, nothing has been serious enough to truly deter Putin, who sees Obama’s and the West’s approach for what it is – weak. Recall if you will, Barack Obama’s assertion on the emerging Cold War chess competition with Russia four weeks ago: “I don’t think this is a competition between the United States and Russia … some Cold War chessboard in which we’re in competition with Russia.” Clearly, Putin has Obama in check.

We Can’t Pay for All This

CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf is no stranger to adding up the cost of congressional schemes. In February, the CBO outlined some of the costs2imposed on the nation by ObamaCare, which turns four on Sunday. Less work and more federal spending about sums it up. Elmendorf had fresh warnings this week, saying we just can’t pay for all this massive government expansion: “So we have a choice as a society to either scale back those programs relative to what is promised under current law; or to raise tax revenue above its historical average to pay for the expansion of those programs; or to cut back on all other spending even more sharply than we already are.” The challenge isn’t so much annual deficits, he said, as “the very high level of debt” over the long term. Call it what we’ve been calling it all along: A debt bomb3.

Pelosi: It’s ‘Affordable,’ I Tell You!

This Sunday marks four long years since the passage of the monstrosity known as ObamaCare. Only don’t call it that around Nancy Pelosi. She recently bawled out a reporter for referring to it that way – even though the president himself has said, “I actually like the name.” “[B]y the way, it’s called the Affordable Care Act,” she scolded. “I know you didn’t intend … anything derogatory, but it’s called the Affordable Care Act. I tell [Obama] the same thing I told you. Affordable, affordable – there’s a reason. Affordable. Affordable. Affordable. Affordable. Affordable.” We’d say calling it “affordable” is derogatory, but to each her own we suppose. In any case, Pelosi still insists that Democrats will run successfully on ObamaCare this fall, because, she says, “I believe it’s a winner.” Evidently, she still hasn’t found out what’s in it.

Hawaii Becomes Shall-Issue

The Ninth Circuit Court recently ruled in Peruta v. San Diego4 that California residents did not have to show a “pressing need” for a concealed weapons license. Thursday, the Ninth Circuit extended that to Hawaii by overturning a district court ruling and thus making the Aloha State a shall-issue state. The Court said, “In light of our holding in Peruta, the district court made an error of law when it concluded that the Hawaii statutes did not implicate protected Second Amendment activity. Accordingly, we vacate the district court’s decision denying [the plaintiff’s] motion for a preliminary injunction and remand for further proceedings consistent with Peruta.” We’re glad to see that even the Ninth Circuit acknowledges that the Second Amendment means what it says.

Space Cadets

NASA warns in a new study that our “system is moving toward an impending collapse.” NASA blames the coming catastrophe on “the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity” and “the economic stratification of society into elites and masses (or ‘commoners’).” Just in case you were wondering, yes, this is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. But all is not lost, says NASA: “Collapse can be avoided, and population can reach a steady state at the maximum carrying capacity, if the rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed equitably.” The last space shuttle was retired in 2011, and the guys at NASA must have a lot of time on their hands.

RIGHT ANALYSIS

Court Upholds Incredible Idea: Proving Citizenship in Order to Vote

U.S. District Court Judge Eric Melgren put the brakes on the Obama administration’s efforts to gut state election laws this week, ruling that Arizona and Kansas can enforce voter ID checks. As columnist David Limbaugh observes6, “The fact that this issue would be disputed at all is astonishing. That it is legally contested is stunning. That the prime mover in initiating the legal challenge is our own federal government, which has a compelling interest in ensuring the integrity of the election process, is mind-blowing.”

Both states had enacted measures requiring new voters to provide proof of citizenship with a birth certificate, passport or other legal documentation, but the Election Assistance Commission refused to amend federal forms distributed in those states to reflect the change. The EAC, a creation of Congress in the wake of the 2000 election, parroted the Obama Justice Department’s claim that such laws actually suppress voter turnout and are unnecessary because there is no such thing as voter fraud. In reality, voter fraud is quite prevalent, but since it usually works in Democrats’ favor, Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder don’t want to prevent it.

In fact, they argue that such laws are racist because they negatively affect minorities. Limbaugh counters, “If anything racist is involved here, it is in the suggestion that minorities are too incompetent to furnish their IDs.”

In ruling against the EAC, Judge Melgren noted that the Constitution gives states the power to determine voter qualifications, and the EAC has no legal authority to deny requests from the states to update its forms to reflect their laws. “The EAC’s nondiscretionary duty is to perform the ministerial function of updating the instructions to reflect each state’s laws,” he said, ordering the EAC to make the change immediately.

“This is a huge victory … for the whole cause of states’ rights,” said Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach after the ruling. It certainly is. Obama, with the aid of the Justice Department, has done everything in his power and then some to strip away the rights of the states, and this victory now gives other states the opportunity to reclaim the power to establish their voting laws as the Constitution intended.

The EAC is reviewing the decision and Justice has yet to comment on it, but this battle is far from over. Leftists have never let obstacles like constitutional law and legal precedent stop them before in their quest for centralized federal power, so it’s unlikely that this setback will stop them.

Health State Butts in on Cigarettes

After pharmacy giant CVS announced last month that it would cease the sale of cigarettes at its stores, a group of 28 state attorneys general decided to put their collective weight behind the suggestion that several other retailers should take the hint and drop out of the tobacco-selling business, too. We’re not advocating cigarette smoking, but sadly, this sort of government parenting is becoming all too common.

TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS

OPINION IN BRIEF

Columnist Jonah Goldberg: “Lately, Obama and Kerry have been talking a lot about how Russian strongman Vladimir Putin is on the ‘wrong side of history.’ Before that, Obama announced that Putin was on the wrong side of history for supporting the Assad regime in Syria. He also said that Assad himself was on the wrong side of history. And so on. Note the difference in usage? In domestic affairs, it’s a sign of strength. But in foreign affairs, invoking history as an ally is a sign of weakness. On social issues like, say, gay marriage, it amounts to a kind of impatient bullying that you can afford when time is on your side; ‘Your defeat is inevitable, so let’s hurry it up.’ But in international affairs, it is an unmistakable sign of weakness. When the president tells Putin that he’s on the wrong side of history, the upshot is: ‘You’re winning right now and there’s nothing I can (or am willing to) do to change that fact. But you know what? In the future, people will say you were wrong.’”

British novelist C. S. Lewis (1898-1963): “Let us not be deceived by phrases about ‘Man taking charge of his own destiny’. All that can really happen is that some men will take charge of the destiny of the others.”

Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins: “Listen, if students are as motivated to vote as they are to buy alcohol, then acquiring an ID shouldn’t be a problem. Applying a form of identification in the age of technology isn’t nearly as difficult as the Left makes it out to be.”

Columnist Burt Prelutsky: “I say if a person can learn to fly a military jet in a matter of months, a human being should certainly be able to learn how to be an accountant or an insurance agent in less than a year. And if a person intends to become, God forbid, a politician or go to work for the State Department, I would think he or she could master lying, cheating and stealing, without wasting three years in law school.”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

Feminist Professor Charged with Assaulting Pro-Life Teen

By Bobby Eberle March 22, 2014 7:13 am

sign_stealingOnce again, we see a perfect example of how liberals operate by a different set of rules. They preach tolerance, yet are intolerant of any opposing views. They advocate free speech, as long as the speech proclaims left-wing ideals. Just look what happened when a pro-life group set up signs on a college campus and a liberal professor became “offended.”

On the UC Santa Barbara campus, there is a common area known as the Arbor. In this area, groups are allowed to set up booths and displays for various causes and distribute literature. It’s known as a “free-speech” zone, and groups do not need specific permission from the university in order to interact with students.

As reported by the Santa Barbara Independent, a Christian pro-life group known asSurvivors of the Abortion Holocaust had staked out an area on campus. The area was staffed by about twelve members of the group and contained three large signs with pictures of late-term abortions.

Rather than letting the organization have its say, Dr. Mireille Miller-Young, an associate professor of feminist studies, took issue with the group. According to Joan Short, one of the students staffing the both, here’s what happened:

Miller-Young approached the demonstration site and exchanged heated words with the group, taking issue with their pro-life proselytizing and use of disturbing photographs. Joan claimed Miller-Young, accompanied by a few of her students, led the gathering crowd in a chant of “Tear down the sign! Tear down the sign!” before grabbing one of the banners and walking with it across campus.

Joan said she called 9-1-1 and Thrin (her 16-year-old sister) started filming, and that the pair followed Miller-Young and two of her students — who Joan referred to as “the fugitives” — into nearby South Hall. As Miller-Young and the students boarded an elevator, Joan said that Thrin repeatedly blocked the door with her hand and foot and that Miller-Young continually pushed her back. Miller-Young then exited the elevator and tried to yank Thrin away from the door while the students attempted to take her smartphone. “As Thrin tried to get away, the professor’s fingernails left bloody scratches on her arms,” Joan claimed. The struggle ended when Thrin relented, Miller-Young walked off, the students rode up in the elevator, and officers arrived to interview those involved.

Ok, let’s step back for a second and look at what’s going on. First, if a group — any group — has a right to advocate a cause, then another group has a right to protest that cause. But rather then setting up some kind of pro-abortion booth, why do people like Miller-Young resort to shouting and rude behavior? That always seems to be their fall-back position: if you can’t win an honest debate, just shout really loudly.

But then what followed has absolutely nothing to do with acting in poor taste or rude behavior. Theft is theft. This is a college professor! Is this the kind of example the university wants to promote? Disagree with someone and you have every right to steal his or her property and destroy it?

In a follow-up story, the Santa Barbara district attorney’s office has filed formal charges against Miller-Young. The professor is charged with “theft, battery, and vandalism.”

Here is a excerpt from the police report:

Miller-Young said that her students “were wanting her to take” the sign away. Miller-Young argued that she set a good example for her students. Miller-Young likened her behavior to that of a “conscientious objector.” Miller-Young said that she did not feel that what she had done was criminal. However, she acknowledged that the sign did not belong to her.

I asked Miller-Young what crimes she felt the pro-life group had violated. Miller-Young replied that their coming to campus and showing graphic imagery was insensitive to the community. I clarified the difference between University policy and law to Miller-Young and asked her again what law had been violated. Miller-Young said that she believed the pro-life group may have violated University policy. Miller-Young said that her actions today were in defense of her students and her own safety.

Oh my gosh! Where do I even begin? According to Miller-Young, there should be “insensitivity” laws? And she says she acted in defense of her own safety? When was she ever in danger???

People like Miller-Young operate by a different set of rules, and for far too long, they have been allowed to get away with it. Free speech, fairness, and tolerance can’t just be applied to the issues of the left. And yet, that’s all they seem to care about.

 

Conn. High School Blocks Pro-Life Student Group From Handing Out Information

  • Students for Life of Branford(PHOTO: STUDENTS FOR LIFE OF BRANFORD)

Students for Life of Branford, Oct. 13, 2013.

Branford High School administrators have blocked Students for Life of Branford from handing out information during lunch time, even though other student groups are allowed to do so.

The school’s principal, Lee Panagoulias, and other school administrators told the six person pro-life club they were not allowed to have models of a fetus at their display table, could not hand out literature or invite others to join, and were only allowed to set up their display after school, according to Students for Life of America.

Other student clubs at the school are allowed to set up a display at lunch, hand out literature and invite others students to join their group.

“I hope that the Branford Public School system will respect the students at Branford High School by not acting as a barrier to the student body’s equal access to essential information regarding life,” Sam Bailey-Loomis, president and founder of Branford High School Students for Life, said. “I am proud to be on the front lines alongside abortion abolitionists in high schools and colleges across the country to safeguard our rights, stand up for the pre-born, and make a lasting impact on our campuses.”

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said she expects the school to become more supportive of the club with greater awareness that its policies amount to viewpoint discrimination.

“We cannot sit back while our pro-life students are denied their constitutional rights and bullied by their school administrators,” she said. “At Branford High School, there is double standard for pro-life students, and we intend to expose this injustice and correct it. We commend Sam and the members of Branford High School Students for Life for their courage and willingness to step up and demand that their school respect their rights, and I am looking forward to witnessing another pro-life student victory.”

Michael Krause, chairman of the local Board of Education, expressed support for the group.

“They shouldn’t be discriminated against …” he told the New Haven Register. “As long as all the procedures are being followed as to how we treat our clubs, they should be treated just like any other club.”

The Branford High School incident follows other recent incidents of pro-life censorship at public schools.

At Wilson High School in Washington state, a pro-life group was not allowed to hand out flyers and hold an event, even though a gay rights group was allowed to do so. And a campus pro-life group at the University of Alabama had their display removed by administrators. A UA spokesperson later apologized to the group after receiving a letter from ADF.

Message to offended Muslims

» So, how do you like what is in it?

You have to hand it to Nancy Pelosi: She was dead-on accurate when she claimed Congress had to pass Obamacare before we would find out what was in it.

The latest case in point is the “Shared Responsibility Payment,” which appears in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but hasn’t been widely appreciated for its Orwellian genius until the IRS started to promote it this year.

The “Shared Responsibility Payment” is the penalty U.S. citizens have to fork over to their federal overlords if they fail to accede to the government’s order that they purchase health insurance for themselves and/or their families.

You see, it turns out that by taking individual responsibility for my own health care, I am robbing other citizens of their opportunity to get “affordable health care” because part of my premium payment would be used to offset the fact that millions of other people don’t pay enough (or possibly anything) for their health-care insurance.

Therefore, the government, in order to protect its Ponzi scheme, assesses me a “shared responsibility payment” — a tax which can then be used to pay those subsidies by which Obamacare distributes wealth from the not-so-rich to the not-so-poor.

Now please realize this example has nothing to do with me personally. I have a very good health-care plan available to me as an employee of the Daily Inter Lake, which I have taken advantage of for 30 years. But that is something I do out of my own free will, and likewise the newspaper has provided this valuable service as a benefit to its hard-working employees because it recognizes the value of doing so.

That is called the free market. It is a far cry from individual mandates and employer mandates and shared responsibility payments. Imagine if the same kind of logic (or illogic) that is applied to health care by the current regime were also applied to other components of our society. At the end of the cash register receipt from your local grocery store, you could expect to see a shared responsibility payment that was taken from you in order to (supposedly!) feed the less fortunate. On every mortgage and rental payment, there would be a percentage set aside as a “shared responsibility payment” to ensure that no one would ever have to be homeless.

It wouldn’t matter whether you might personally be inclined to donate a similar amount of money to good causes or not. The choice would be taken out of your hands. Someone — or something, some government bureaucrat — knows better than you where your money can do the best good. And if you thought your family needed every penny of your hard-earned money to ensure that they would be able to get ahead, live a secure life, gain a college education, and perhaps a decent retirement, then you would be mocked, humiliated and shamed as a capitalist roader. That’s why they have to take the “shared responsibility payment” from you — because you can’t be trusted to do the right thing. Or at least that is what they will try to convince you — through propaganda from the White House, a variety of “social justice” pushers, and the major news media.

You, hard-working American, are the problem. It is your fault that there is hunger, homelessness and income inequality. Your failure to buy health insurance explains why people are needlessly dying in America! And say it loud enough and long enough, and eventually people start to believe it! We may even be almost to that point.

But maybe not. The best hope for stopping the federal government from controlling every aspect of our lives is education. Don’t just go along to get along, or you will very likely be going along with all the Chinese killed in the Cultural Revolution, all the people sent to the Gulags by Stalin, and all the freethinkers sent to the guillotine by the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror.

Isn’t it funny how revolution co-opts words and phrases and makes things that are deadly sound like a move in the right direction? Cultural Revolution! Committee of Public Safety! Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act! Shared Responsibility Payment! When you hear words like that, the best advice is grab hold of your freedom and run for your life.

Of course, there is precedent for this failed experiment in forcing people to take shared responsibility for the less fortunate among us. It is called Marxism. “From each according to his abilities; to each according to his means.” The only problem with that utopian sentiment is that it destroys what Confucius called “the will to win” and replaces it with the willingness to wallow. A more sure path to decadence does not exist.

Another way to think of the “shared responsibility payment” is as tribute — the money that enslaved people owe to their conquerors as a sign of submission. This was common in ancient times up through the Roman Empire. Failure to make the payments could result in extreme punishments up to and including death because rejection of the “tax” was considered an insult to the emperor. We don’t have an emperor, but the federal government has more and more exhibited the imperial trappings that attend to those who rule with a sense of entitlement rather than a sense of honor.

It is not surprising that the most extreme forms of tribute carry with them an explicit admission of indebtedness to the ruling class. The jizya tax imposed by Muslims on non-Muslims up through the 20th century was seen as “a protection for their not being slain,” according to Orientalist Edward William Lane.

The “shared responsibility payment” may not go that far, but it is implicitly an acknowledgment that citizens are obligated to do whatever the government orders them to do. Whether you want to pay for your neighbor’s health-care plan or not, you must do so. And once the government has conditioned you to do what IT thinks is right instead of what you think is right, well, you can imagine the rest, and it isn’t pretty.

‘Russia is Looking for a Hot War,’ Says Georgia’s Former President

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili knows a thing or two about Russian invasions. He warns that Ukraine may not be able to stop an all-out war with Russia.

There may be no way to stop Vladimir Putin from starting a hot war with Ukraine, so Ukraine and its Western allies must prepare for the worst and do it quickly, according to former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Saakashvili, who fought the Russian army in 2008 for five days after the Russians invaded, is in Kiev to advise the new Ukrainian government. He says he’s providing counsel on how to hopefully avoid an all-out war with Putin’s army. But Saakashvili is also there to deliver a warning to Kiev: Russia appears to be preparing for armed conflict in Ukraine and the world must be ready for that battle, just in case Putin can’t be dissuaded from the fight.

“Right now my advice to the Ukraine government is to maintain maximum restraint, but to prepare for the worst, because I don’t think Vladimir Putin is going to stop where he is. He is not going to stop anywhere until he gets rid of the leadership in Kiev,” Saakashvili said in an interview with The Daily Beast on Monday. “The West should be ready that there might be a war here.”

There several similarities between Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia and its 2012 invasion of Ukraine and one main difference. Russia has yet to cross militarily into greater Ukraine, outside Crimea, and wage a full scale invasion of the country, as it did in Georgia. But Saakashvili said he sees plenty of signs that’s exactly what Putin plans to do next.

There are multiple Russian intelligence organizations stirring up trouble all over Ukraine’s south and east with a goal of preparing a pretext for a large-scale military intervention, he said. The huge military exercises currently ongoing on the Russian side of the border are of the same scale to those that immediately preceded the Russian invasion of Georgia, he pointed out. Russia is also putting out massive amounts of propaganda to establish a narrative that could support a large scale intervention, again eerily similar to their actions in 2008.

“Putin certainly has plans for large scale military intervention in the whole of Ukraine,” said Saakashvili. “I think Russia is looking for a hot war.”

“The problem might be that no matter what the Ukrainians might do or not do, Putin might still go for military confrontation.”

There were reports out of Ukraine Monday that the Russian military was now threatening to attack Ukrainian military bases in occupied Crimea if Ukrainian forces didn’t surrender by Tuesday morning. Some Russian officials disputed those reports. Saakashvili said that the Ukrainians should not surrender those bases because it would only encourage Putin to become even more aggressive.

“The problem might be that no matter what the Ukrainians might do or not do, Putin might still go for military confrontation,” he said.  “They shouldn’t give up anything. The more they give up, the more the Russia will ask for. I don’t think Putin will be happy until he has a full takeover of Ukraine.”

Right now, there are plenty of things the U.S. and the European Union can do to try to stop Putin from escalating the Ukraine crisis into all out war, he said. There should be immediate economic sanctions, with the West going after Putin’s vast personal wealth and that of his friends. The U.S. can also help Ukraine defend itself by sharing military intelligence, defending Ukraine from cyber attacks, giving Kiev’s armed forces training and even equipment, and moving NATO naval forces into the region as a show of strength, Saakashvili said.

Obama also has to elaborate on his Friday statement promising “costs” for Russia if it intervened in Ukraine militarily, he said. Statements by senior officials have been good but need to be backed up with action if the U.S. wants them to have any effect on Russian thinking.

“Putin does not take these statements seriously,” he said. “He thinks that ultimately the Western elite will see it as in their interest not to isolate Russia.”

The Crimea invasion shows that Putin’s government is paranoid and extremely unstable, Saakashvili said.

“That’s the main reason Putin is so engaged and proactive in Ukraine,” said Saakashvili. “I think he is really terrified for his survival because he is taking a huge gamble and this really shows his desperation and he thinks the best way to distract his people is to bring war to the people of Ukraine.”

Of course, Saakashvili is hardly an unbiased observer. He’s been a sworn enemy of Putin’s for years. And there’s a lot of controversy about Saakashvili’s 2008 decision to engage the Russian military. Many say he was tricked into giving Putin a pretext to invade Georgia. Others say he helped to provoke the Russian-Georgian war. But even Saakashvili’s harshest critics have to admit that the former Georgian president saw the invasion of Crimea coming and tried his best to warn the United States in advance.

U.S. Ambassador to Georgia John Bass wrote in a confidential cable in 2009,released by Wikileaks, that Saakashvili was worried about a Russian invasion of the peninsula.

“Saakashvili expressed concern about Ukraine’s future, predicting that there could be trouble in Crimea after the election, and explicitly suggesting that Russia could use force to ‘secure Crimea,’ causing an immediate political crisis for whatever new President took office in [Kiev],” he wrote.

 

By 2011, Saakashvili was practically badgering U.S. officials to take seriously his warning that Putin would move on Crimea sooner or later.Another released cable revealed that Saakashvili pressed then Assistant Secretary of Defense Sandy Vershbow (now Deputy Secretary General of NATO) to prepare for this exact event.

“Saakashvili stressed repeatedly that he expected Russia to follow its 2008 invasion of Georgia with intervention in Crimea,” the cable stated. “He predicted that Russia would incite tension in the peninsula and then make a generous offer to Yanukovych (presumed as the next president) to help solve the problem. Saakashvili said that Putin wants to keep the pressure on Ukraine and Georgia as a lesson and a warning to others in the former Soviet Union.”

“Back in 2008 I was screaming to anyone who would listen that after the invasion of Georgia there would be an invasion of Ukraine and people thought I was a little delusional. So I feel vindicated now I’m not happy at all about it,” Saakashvili told The Daily Beast. “After 2008, the West still could not imagine that Putin was capable of such things. They should have known better.”

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