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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hillary Clinton snagged in Benghazi cover-up

New reports prompt questions about perplexing security decisions after attack


byAaron Klein

JERUSALEM – As media reports present evidence the U.S. has played a central role in arming Syrian rebels, new questions now emerge about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s involvement in the controversial scheme.
The questions prompt a second look at the perplexing security decisions made by Clinton and other top Obama administration officials the night of the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on American facilities in Benghazi.
One of those key decisions reportedly delayed an investigative FBI team from arriving at the Benghazi site for 24 days. The site was widely reported to have contained classified documents.
WND raised the Thursday of whether Clinton was telling the truth when she claimed in a Senate hearing that she had no information about whether the U.S. mission in Libya was procuring or transferring weapons to Turkey and other Arab countries.
Her claim appears to contradict a New York Times report that the CIA has been aiding Arab governments and Turkey in obtaining and shipping weapons to the Syrian rebels.
The goal of the alleged weapons shipments was to arm the rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Any training or arming of the Syrian rebels would be considered highly controversial. A major issue is the inclusion of jihadists, including al-Qaida, among the ranks of the Free Syrian Army and other Syrian opposition groups
Now a closer reading of two separate reports from the New York Times paints a picture of Clinton as the ring leader of the plan to arm Syrian rebels.
Confirming WND’s exclusive reporting for over a year, the New York Times last week reported that since early 2012, the CIA has been aiding the Arab governments and Turkey in shopping for and transporting weapons to the Syrian rebels.
The reported plan to arm the rebels mirrors a plan that, according to the New York Times, was concocted by Clinton herself.
Last month, the New York Times described Clinton as one of the driving forces advocating a plan to arm the Syrian rebels. At the time, the newspaper quoted White House officials stating they rejected the plan, which was also proposed by then-CIA Director David Petraeus.
A comparison of the Clinton plan to arms the rebels, as first reported by the Times, and the new Times report of American-aided shipments to the rebels since last year makes clear the Clinton plan was apparently put into action.
Last month, the Times reported that the idea of the Clinton plan was to “vet the rebel groups and train fighters, who would be supplied with weapons.”
Last week, the Times reported that since at least November 2012, the U.S. has been helping “the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia, and have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive.”
The earlier Times article described Clinton as having instincts that were “often more activist than those of a White House that has kept a tight grip on foreign policy.”
In an administration often faulted for its timidity abroad, “Clinton wanted to lead from the front, not from behind,” Vali R. Nasr, a former State Department adviser on Afghanistan and Pakistan, told the Times.
Benghazi cover up?
Middle Eastern security officials speaking to WND have said U.S.-aided weapons shipments go back more than a year, escalating before the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. facilities in Benghazi.
In fact, the Middle Eastern security officials speaking to WND since last year describe the U.S. mission in Benghazi and nearby CIA annex attacked last September as an intelligence and planning center for U.S. aid to the rebels in the Middle East, particularly those fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
The aid, the sources stated, included weapons shipments and was being coordinated with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Earlier this month, WND reported Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. stated in interview with Fox News that murdered U.S Ambassador Christopher Stevens was in Benghazi to keep weapons caches from falling into the hands of terrorists. Until that point, no official explanation for Stevens deployment to Libya has acknowledged any such activity.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reporting on how the plan for arming the rebels was put into action has prompted major questions about the role Clinton played in the U.S. response to the Benghazi attacks, assaults against the very facilities where the arms-to-rebels scheme was allegedly being coordinated.
National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor confirmed to Fox News in November that Clinton herself worked on the immediate U.S. response to Benghazi.
“The most senior people in government worked on this issue from the minute it happened,” he said.
“That includes the secretary of defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, secretary of state, national security adviser, et cetera. Additionally, the Deputies Committee – the second in command at the relevant national security agencies – met at least once and more often twice a day to manage the issue.”
One of the key decisions by Clinton’s State Department that has perplexed many security experts was the determination not to deploy an interagency rapid response unit designed to respond to terrorist attacks known as a Foreign Emergency Support Team, or FEST.
FEST teams previously deployed immediately after al-Qaida bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998 and the USS Cole in 2000. But they were not used for Benghazi, confounding insiders speaking to the news media
Counterterrorism officials told Fox News in November that the FEST teams could have helped the FBI gain access to the site in Benghazi faster. It ultimately took the FBI 24 days.
The site reportedly contained a large volume of classified documents related to the activities of the Benghazi facilities.
Further, during the night of the attack, top counter terror officials felt out of the loop, according to emails shared with both Fox News and CBS News in November.
Counterterrorism sources and internal emails reviewed by CBS News expressed frustration that key responders were ready to deploy but were not called upon to help in the attack.
Besides strangely not deploying FEST, the Counterterrorism Security Group, or CSG, was never asked to meet the night of the attack or in subsequent days, according to two separate counterterrorism officials, as first reported by CBS News.
The CSG is composed of experts on terrorism from across government agencies and makes recommendations to the deputies who assist the president’s Cabinet in formulating a response to crises involving terrorism.
It is likely that the CSG task force, if contacted, would have recommended FEST aid, according to CBS.
CBS reported the lack of coordination with the Counterterrorism Security Group made the response to the Benghazi crisis still more confused.
One official told CBS News the FBI received a call during the attack representing Clinton and requesting agents be deployed. But he and his colleagues explained the call was just a gesture and could not be implemented.
He said his colleagues at the FBI agreed the agents “would not make any difference without security and other enablers to get them in the country and synch their efforts with military and diplomatic efforts to maximize their success.”
Recruiting jihadists
Days after the Benghazi attack, WND broke the story that Ambassador Stevens himself played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Assad’s regime in Syria, according to Egyptian and other Middle Eastern security officials.
Stevens served as a key contact with the Saudis to coordinate the recruitment by Saudi Arabia of Islamic fighters from North Africa and Libya. The jihadists were sent to Syria via Turkey to attack Assad’s forces, said the security officials.
The officials said Stevens also worked with the Saudis to send names of potential jihadi recruits to U.S. security organizations for review. Names found to be directly involved in previous attacks against the U.S., including in Iraq and Afghanistan, were ultimately not recruited by the Saudis to fight in Syria, said the officials.
The latest New York Times report has bolstered WND’s reporting, citing air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders describing how the CIA has been working with Arab governments and Turkey to sharply increase arms shipments to Syrian rebels in recent months.
The Times reported that the weapons airlifts began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanding into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows.
The Times further revealed that from offices at “secret locations,” American intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia. They have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive.
The CIA declined to comment to the Times on the shipments or its role in them.
The Times quoted a former American official as saying that David H. Petraeus, the CIA director until November, had been instrumental in helping set up an aviation network to fly in the weapons. The paper said Petraeus had prodded various countries to work together on the plan.
Petraeus did not return multiple emails from the Times asking for comment.
Both WND’s reporting, which first revealed the U.S.-coordinated arms shipments, and the Times reporting starkly contrast with statements from top U.S. officials who have denied aiding the supply of weapons to the rebels.
Rebel training
It’s not the first time WND’s original investigative reporting on U.S. support for the Syrian rebels was later confirmed by reporting in major media outlets. Other WND reporting indicates support for the Syrian rebels that goes beyond supplying arms, painting a larger picture of U.S. involvement in the Middle East revolutions.
A story by the German weekly Der Spiegel earlier this month reporting the U.S. is training Syrian rebels in Jordan was exclusively exposed by WND 13 months ago.
Quoting what it said were training participants and organizers, Der Spiegel reported it was not clear whether the Americans worked for private firms or were with the U.S. Army, but the magazine said some organizers wore uniforms.
The training in Jordan reportedly focused on use of anti-tank weaponry.
The German magazine reported some 200 men received the training over the previous three months amid U.S. plans to train a total of 1,200 members of the Free Syrian Army in two camps in the south and the east of Jordan.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper also reported U.S. trainers were aiding Syrian rebels in Jordan along with British and French instructors.
Reuters reported a spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department declined immediate comment on the Der Spiegel report. The French foreign ministry and Britain’s foreign and defense ministries also would not comment to Reuters.
While Der Spiegel quoted sources discussing training of the rebels in Jordan over the last three months, WND was first to report the training as far back as February 2012.
At the time, WND quoted knowledgeable Egyptian and Arab security officials claimed the U.S., Turkey and Jordan were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country’s northern desert region.
Additional research by Joshua Klein


Saturday, March 30, 2013

American labor takes an 'amnesty' hit

Analysts say newcomers drive down wages, working conditions

byJohn Bennett

Senate Republicans in the “Gang of Eight” have rejected straightforward language, suggested by labor advocates as part of an amnesty proposal, that would have had visas issued “only when the employment of foreign workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly situated workers in the United States.”
The visas at issue largely concern low-skilled workers, and some scholars say rejecting the idea amounts to a betrayal of American working people.
Professor Vernon Briggs, a Cornell labor economist, tells WND that “[a]mnesty for illegal immigrants sanctions the overt violation all of the nation’s worker protection laws.”
Briggs, who focuses on the economic impact of immigration, argues that, “[t]he toleration of illegal immigration undermines all of our labor. It rips at the social fabric. It’s a race to the bottom.”
This downward pressure on wages operates in tandem with an upward pressure on social services and welfare spending, critics complain.
“Assimilating into the welfare system,” according to Harvard economist George Borjas, is too often the trend.
Borjas’ book “Heaven’s Door” pointed out that during the late 1990s, the U.S. took in over one million immigrants annually.
This inflow was most harmful to low-wage workers, Borjas argues.
Now, more Americans are treading water in the very part of the job market that is most vulnerable to immigration. Given the current economic downturn, people with advanced degrees are searching out low-skilled, low-wage jobs. Increasing competition with low-skilled immigrants would further crowd the narrow avenues of subsistence.
Back in 1986 it was ‘unrealistic’ to round up and deport the three million illegal immigrants in the United States then. So they were given amnesty – honestly labeled, back then – which is precisely why there are now 12 million illegal immigrants.
So said Thomas Sowell in 2007, when an amnesty proposal was rejected. In 2007, conservatives and many Republicans recognized that amnesties were simply going to continue until they were stopped.
NumbersUSA, a think tank that supports sustainable levels of legal immigration, notes seven amnesties in recent history:
  1. Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA), 1986: A blanket amnesty for some 2.7 million illegal aliens
  2. Section 245(i) Amnesty, 1994: A temporary rolling amnesty for 578,000 illegal aliens
  3. Section 245(i) Extension Amnesty, 1997: An extension of the rolling amnesty created in 1994
  4. Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) Amnesty, 1997: An amnesty for close to one million illegal aliens from Central America
  5. Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act Amnesty (HRIFA), 1998: An amnesty for 125,000 illegal aliens from Haiti
  6. Late Amnesty, 2000: An amnesty for some illegal aliens who claim they should have been amnestied under the 1986 IRCA amnesty, an estimated 400,000 illegal aliens
  7. LIFE Act Amnesty, 2000: A reinstatement of the rolling Section 245(i) amnesty, an estimated 900,000 illegal aliens
Immigration policies are often not as advertised, too.
The president pledged that the Affordable Care Act would not cover undocumented aliens.
However, if those undocumented aliens are given amnesty, they could easily receive Obamacare, along with Medicaid and a range of other social services.
The resulting strain on social services would not be unique to America; Western European nations have faced similar challenges. The Economist recently reported that, “[i]n Sweden only 51 percent of non-Europeans have a job, compared with over 84 percent of native Swedes.”
Worse yet, “mass immigration is creating a class of people who are permanently dependent on the state.”
Douglas Murray, a prominent British conservative intellectual, notes that large-scale immigration “spells the end of our unified national way of life.” He also pointed to the anti-white racial intolerance that has arisen in the immigration debate:
[T]he vindictiveness with which the concerns of white British people, and the white working and middle class in particular, have been met by politicians and pundits alike is a phenomenon in need of serious and swift attention.
Immigration and multiculturalism have been discussed in Western European nations in a more open manner than that seen in the U.S., thus far. A number of well-respected national leaders, who are moderate-to-liberal by American standards, recently claimed that multiculturalism has failed in their countries.
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Australia’s former prime minister John Howard, and former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar have all openly stated that multiculturalism has “failed” in their nations.
The observations of scholars and a multitude of Western leaders suggest that strict immigration policy could be needed just for economies and culture to survive.
The “Gang of Eight” Republicans made their decision during negotiations held last Friday in a closed door session.
The “Gang” is bipartisan group of four Republican and four Democratic senators who each support amnesty. The plan they produce will be voted upon by the rest of Congress.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said during an election debate in 2010 that he would never support a pathway to citizenship, a position he has since abandoned. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., wants to provide illegal immigrants with benefits. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R- S.C., recently claimed, “It’s important for our country to solve illegal immigration once and for all“; a statement without any apparent meaning, given that there have been at least seven amnesties passed by Congress since 1986. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., is a long-time amnesty supporter, who co-sponsored five amnesties as a congressman.
The Democrats on the Gang of Eight are more assertive amnesty supporters: Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.; Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill.


Eroding Marital Norms

The Consequences of Redefining Marriage

By Ryan T. Anderson

Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. State recognition of marriage protects children by encouraging men and women to commit to each other permanently and exclusively and to take responsibility for their children. The norms of monogamy and sexual exclusivity encourage the raising of children by their mother and father. The norm of permanency ensures that children will at least be cared for by their mother and father until they reach maturity.[1]
Marriage laws work by embodying and promoting a true vision of marriage, which makes sense of those norms as a coherent whole. Law affects culture. Culture affects beliefs. Beliefs affect actions. The law teaches, and it shapes the public understanding of what marriage is and what it demands of spouses.
But redefining marriage to exclude the norm of sexual complementarity makes other marital norms optional and sabotages the reason for marriage policy: To ensure that relationships that could result in children are permanent and monogamous to provide children with a mom and a dad.
Redefining Marriage Ignores Children’s Needs and Renders Marital Norms Arbitrary
In recent decades, marriage has been weakened by a revisionist view that it is more about adults’ desires than children’s needs. This view reduces marriage primarily to intense emotional bonds.
If marriage were just intense emotional regard, marital norms would make no sense as a principled matter. There is no reason of principle that requires an emotional union to be permanent. Or limited to two persons. Or sexual, much less sexually exclusive (as opposed to “open”). Or inherently oriented to family life and shaped by its demands.[2]
Redefining marriage would further distance marriage from the needs of children and deny the importance of mothers and fathers. It would deny, as a matter of policy, the ideal that children need a mother and a father.
Redefining marriage would also diminish the social pressures and incentives for husbands to remain with their wives and their biological children and for men and women to marry before having children. It would be very difficult for the law to send a message that fathers matter once it had redefined marriage to make fathers optional.
Leading Advocates of Redefining Marriage Agree That It Undermines Marital Norms
Weakening marital norms and severing the connection of marriage with responsible procreation are the admitted goals of many prominent advocates of redefining marriage. E. J. Graff celebrates the fact that redefining marriage would change the “institution’s message” so that it would “ever after stand for sexual choice, for cutting the link between sex and diapers.” Enacting same-sex marriage, she argues, “does more than just fit; it announces that marriage has changed shape.”[3]
Andrew Sullivan says that marriage has become “primarily a way in which two adults affirm their emotional commitment to one another.”[4]
The Norm of Monogamy. New York University Professor Judith Stacey has expressed hope that redefining marriage would give marriage “varied, creative and adaptive contours,” leading some to “question the dyadic limitations of Western marriage and seek…small group marriages.”[5] In their statement “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage,” more than 300 “LGBT and allied” scholars and advocates call for legal recognition of sexual relationships involving more than two partners.[6]
University of Calgary Professor Elizabeth Brake thinks that justice requires using legal recognition to “denormalize[] heterosexual monogamy as a way of life” and “rectif[y] past discrimination against homosexuals, bisexuals, polygamists, and care networks.” She supports “minimal marriage” in which “individuals can have legal marital relationships with more than one person, reciprocally or asymmetrically, themselves determining the sex and number of parties, the type of relationship involved, and which rights and responsibilities to exchange with each.”[7]
In 2009, Newsweek reported that the United States already had over 500,000 polyamorous households.[8] The author concluded:
[P]erhaps the practice is more natural than we think: a response to the challenges of monogamous relationships, whose shortcomings…are clear.… [C]an one person really satisfy every need? Polyamorists think the answer is obvious—and that it’s only a matter of time before the monogamous world sees there’s more than one way to live and love.[9]
A 2012 article in New York Magazine introduced Americans to “throuple,” a new term akin to a “couple,” but with three people whose “throuplehood is more or less a permanent domestic arrangement. The three men work together, raise dogs together, sleep together, miss one another…and, in general, exemplify a modern, adult relationship. Except that there are three of them.”[10]
The Norm of Exclusivity. Andrew Sullivan, who has extolled the “spirituality” of “anonymous sex,” also thinks that the “openness” of same-sex unions could enhance the bonds of husbands and wives:
[A]mong gay male relationships, the openness of the contract makes it more likely to survive than many heterosexual bonds.… [T]here is more likely to be greater understanding of the need for extramarital outlets between two men than between a man and a woman.… [S]omething of the gay relationship’s necessary honesty, its flexibility, and its equality could undoubtedly help strengthen and inform many heterosexual bonds.[11]
“Openness” and “flexibility” are Sullivan’s euphemisms for sexual infidelity. Similarly, in a New York Times Magazine profile, gay activist Dan Savage encourages spouses to adopt “a more flexible attitude” about allowing each other to seek sex outside their marriage.[12] The New York Times recently reported on a study finding that exclusivity was not the norm among gay partners: “‘With straight people, it’s called affairs or cheating,’ said Colleen Hoff, the study’s principal investigator, ‘but with gay people it does not have such negative connotations.’”[13]
Leading Advocates of Redefining Marriage Celebrate That It Will Weaken Marriage
Some advocates of redefining marriage embrace the goal of weakening the institution of marriage in these very terms. “[Former President George W.] Bush is correct,” says Victoria Brownworth, “when he states that allowing same-sex couples to marry will weaken the institution of marriage…. It most certainly will do so, and that will make marriage a far better concept than it previously has been.”[14] Professor Ellen Willis celebrates the fact that “conferring the legitimacy of marriage on homosexual relations will introduce an implicit revolt against the institution into its very heart.”[15]
Michelangelo Signorile urges same-sex couples to “demand the right to marry not as a way of adhering to society’s moral codes but rather to debunk a myth and radically alter an archaic institution.”[16] Same-sex couples should, he says, “fight for same-sex marriage and its benefits and then, once granted, redefine the institution of marriage completely, because the most subversive action lesbians and gay men can undertake…is to transform the notion of ‘family’ entirely.”[17]
It is no surprise that there is already evidence of this occurring. A federal judge in Utah allowed a legal challenge to anti-bigamy laws.[18] A bill that would allow a child to have three legal parents passed both houses of the California state legislature in 2012 before it was vetoed by the governor, who claimed he wanted “to take more time to consider all of the implications of this change.”[19]
The Future of Marriage
Government recognizes marriage because it benefits society in a way that no other relationship or institution does. Government policies should support marriage and protect it rather than undermine it. Promoting marriage does not ban any type of relationship. All Americans have the freedom to live and love as they choose, but no one has a right to redefine marriage for everyone else. Those who believe in monogamy and exclusivity—and the benefits that these bring to orderly procreation and child well-being—should take note.
—Ryan T. Anderson is William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society in the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation.

[1]Ryan T. Anderson, “Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2775, March 11, 2013,, and Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George, What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense (New York: Encounter Books, 2012).
[3]E. J. Graff, “Retying the Knot,” Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con: A Reader, ed. Andrew Sullivan (New York: Vintage Books, 1997), pp. 134, 136, and 137.
[4]Andrew Sullivan, “Introduction,” Same-Sex Marriage, pp. 17 and 19.
[5]Maggie Gallagher, “(How) Will Gay Marriage Weaken Marriage as a Social Institution: A Reply to Andrew Koppelman,” University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1 (2004), p. 62, (accessed March 6, 2013).
[6], “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision for All Our Families and Relationships,” July 26, 2006, (accessed March 6, 2013).
[7]Elizabeth Brake, “Minimal Marriage: What Political Liberalism Implies for Marriage Law,” Ethics, Vol. 120, No. 2 (January 2010), pp. 302–303, 323, and 336.
[8]Jessica Bennett, “Only You. And You. And You,” Newsweek, July 28, 2009, (accessed March 6, 2013).
[10]Molly Young, “He & He & He,” New York Magazine, July 29, 2012, (accessed March 6, 2013).
[11]Andrew Sullivan, Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality (New York: Vintage Books, 1996), pp. 202–203.
[12]Mark Oppenheimer, “Married, With Infidelities,” The New York Times Magazine, June 30, 2011, (accessed March 25, 2013).
[13]Scott James, “Many Successful Gay Marriages Share an Open Secret,” The New York Times, January 28, 2010, (accessed March 6, 2013).
[14]Victoria A. Brownworth, “Something Borrowed, Something Blue: Is Marriage Right for Queers?” in I Do/I Don’t: Queers on Marriage, ed. Greg Wharton and Ian Philips (San Francisco: Suspect Thoughts Press, 2004), pp. 53 and 58–59.
[15]Ellen Willis, “Can Marriage Be Saved? A Forum,” The Nation, July 5, 2004, p. 16, (accessed March 6, 2013).
[16]Michelangelo Signorile, “Bridal Wave,” Out, December 1993/January 1994, pp. 68 and 161.
[18]Julia Zebley, “Utah Polygamy Law Challenged in Federal Lawsuit,” Jurist, July 13, 2011, (accessed March 6, 2013).
[19]Jim Sanders, “Jerry Brown Vetoes Bill Allowing More Than Two Parents,” The Sacramento Bee, September 30, 2012, (accessed March 6, 2013). For more on this, see Jennifer Roback Morse, “Why California’s Three-Parent Law Was Inevitable,” Witherspoon Institute Public Discourse, September 10, 2012, (accessed March 6, 2013).

Homeland Security buying pricey ammo as department-wide cuts take hold


By Perry Chiaramonte
The Department of Homeland Security is spending more and more on pricey hollow-point bullets for law-enforcement officers -- even as it plans to enforce furloughs and other cuts on Customs and Border Protection employees due to sequestration.
The Department of Homeland Security plans to buy more than 1.6 billion rounds over the next five years for training and on-duty purposes. They cite the numerous law enforcement agencies contained within the department with employees who carry weapons. But the purchases have led to criticism that the agency is spending money on bullets that can cost twice as much as regular ammo -- and questions over whether those bullets are really needed for training purposes.
"Obviously you want to know how a hollow point is going to cycle through your weapon," Scott McCurley, manager for Maryland-based Horst and McCann firing range and a former soldier for the U.S. Army, told "But I don't think there's much of a difference when training. One box of rounds per gun is enough. The cost outweighs the purpose."
It's unclear how many of the total rounds sought would be hollow-point, but a recent solicitation specifically called for 360,000 rounds of hollow-point bullets.
Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., who last week wrote a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano asking about the rationale for the purchases, also questioned the cost.
"With sequestration in effect, and the federal debt approaching a record $17 trillion, members of Congress like Leonard Lance believe our federal government should not be spending taxpayer dollars on the stockpiling of billions of rounds of ammunition," his chief of staff Todd Mitchell said in a statement to "That's why it's important for DHS officials to explain the need and foundation for this acquisition."
Others disagree, saying that it's important to use the same equipment during training as in the field.
“I have no idea why they would need 1.6 billion rounds, but the reality is that it is essential to train with the same ammo as you would use in real situations,” Steven Howard, a Michigan-based attorney, and weapons and ammunition expert, told
A box of 25 rounds of hollow-point bullets can cost double the price of regular, full metal jacket bullets at up to $40 per box.
A statement issued from the Department of Homeland Security maintains the position the agency has taken in recent weeks.
“DHS routinely establishes strategic sourcing contracts that combine the requirements of all its components for commonly purchased goods and services such as ammunition, computer equipment, and information technology services. These strategic sourcing contracts help leverage the purchasing power of DHS to efficiently procure equipment and supplies,” the statement reads.
The statement said one solicitation under the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center has a ceiling of up to 750 million rounds, which the department said allows "flexibility over the next 5 years for training of over 90 federal agencies."
"A separate 5-year department-wide contract allows the purchase of UP TO 450 million rounds of duty ammunition for our law enforcement officers and agents,” the statement also reads. That contract applies to all DHS agencies except the Coast Guard, which uses Pentagon ammo contracts.
“With more than 100,000 armed law enforcement personnel in DHS, significant quantities of ammunition are used to support law enforcement operations, quarterly qualifications, and training, to include advanced firearms training exercises," the department said.
Howard notes that use of hollow-point ammo by law enforcement officers is more efficient and even safer for the public.
“It (hollow points) cuts down on ricochets which means few bystanders will be hit. Hollow points rarely go through one target,” He said.
Officials at the Department of Homeland Security told that the amount of ammunition is simply a “ceiling” or estimate and does not mean that DHS will buy or require the full amount of ammo. They also said that the number of rounds purchased annually by the department has remained steady since 2009 and that the amounts ordered are usually much less as they are purchased on an “as-needed basis.”
During the fiscal year 2012, DHS purchased nearly 94 million rounds of ammo for use across the department except for the U.S. Coast Guard.
Ammunition is used on a quarterly basis within DHS in training and firearms re-qualification activities in addition to everyday duty among over 100,000 officers and agents.
The news of the intended ammo purchase comes at the same time as automatic budget reductions are set to take effect across the department, including at Customs and Border Protection. The division expects planned furloughs of employees, reductions to overtime and a hiring freeze to increase wait times at ports of entry, including international arrivals at airports.
Officials from CBP have said reductions to Border Patrol overtime will begin on April 7 and furloughs of all CBP employees are expected to begin in mid-April. The agency said “field locations” are reporting sporadic increases in wait times at airports and land border ports due to reduced primary staffing -- between March 14-20, the agency said nearly 200 flights experienced wait times of over two hours, and certain ports experienced wait times that were just as long.
“CBP is working diligently to analyze the Fiscal Year 2013 Appropriations bill and sequestration impacts, and is developing a plan to implement this budget in a way that minimizes the impact on operations and our workforce,” a spokesperson said in a statement to Fox News.
But Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, blasted the administration for the CBP cuts. He said they "amount to nothing short of a calculated, willful neglect of what should be a president's top priority: protecting the homeland and keeping Americans safe."

State grants Secret Service vast new powers

Soon will be able to enforce Obama gun laws without sheriffs' help


byJack Minor

A bill is heading to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk that Republican lawmakers say would give members of the Secret Service broad arrest powers in the state and could provide a framework for federal agents eventually to enforce gun restrictions.
“This is absolutely insane,” Rep. Lori Saine, R-Dacono, said. “In theory if a Secret Service agent is in a county where the sheriff has refused to enforce some of the recent unenforceable gun laws, the agent could arrest an individual if he believes the law has been broken.”
The idea actually aligns with an Obama agenda to create vast new restrictions and regulations on guns. WND has reported that hundreds of sheriffs nationwide, including many in Colorado, have said they cannot enforce federal restrictions that would violate the Second Amendment.
In Colorado, Weld County Sheriff John Cooke said he and many other county sheriffs “won’t bother” with several laws poised to go into effect in Colorado because they would be impossible to enforce.
One of the laws would require private sellers to do a background check on purchasers in private gun transaction, but the sheriffs wonder how to keep track of whether gun owners are meeting the new requirements.
Cooke said many new gun laws are “feel-good, knee-jerk reactions that are unenforceable” and would “give a false sense of security.”
Cooke said he and other sheriffs are considering filing a lawsuit to block the laws. And sheriffs in other parts of the nation agree, with more than 340 already banding together to promise to uphold the U.S. Constitution.
The Colorado Legislature also passed a bill putting a 15-round limit on ammunition magazines.
What’s really RIGHT about America these days? Find out in “America the Beautiful” by Dr. Ben Carson.
The new bill regarding the Secret Service, SB-13-013, passed on a nearly party line vote in the Democrat-controlled House and is now awaiting the governor’s signature. The bill grants members of the Secret Service arrest powers by considering them to be a peace officer, putting them on a par with state law-enforcement officials with respect to arrest authority.
The legislation does not only apply to agents guarding the president or other government officials but also to special agents, uniformed division officers, physical security technicians, physical security specialists and special officers of the United States Secret Service.
Republican lawmakers say that when they asked why the bill was needed they were given a series of conflicting answers.
Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, said he was told the purpose of the bill was to make it easier to hold a person for mental health reasons.
“When I asked in committee why they need this I was told it was so we can exercise 72-hour mental holds on our own citizens,” Lundberg said.
“I found it curious that this was the big reason they thought they needed it. Currently a police officer, doctor, psychiatrists, registered nurses and other professionals just on the strength of their word can say they want a person taken against their will and put in a mental institution for up to three business days, meaning it could be even longer if it was over the weekend, for an evaluation as to whether they are mentally sane or a danger to themselves or others.”
Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, said despite the bill being sponsored by a fellow Republican, the 72-hour mental hold caught the attention of several Republicans in the Senate.
“This was one of the big flags for us in the bill,” Marble said. “It’s very suspicious because we have the separation of federal, state and even the local police services. Everyone has their own jurisdiction, and there is a special reason for keeping federal agents away.
“No federal authority should have the ability to detain somebody for 72 hours,” she said. “If there is a legitimate reason for doing so for someone who is mentally ill, that should come at the local level where people in the community know one another.”
Marble said the mental hold was the reason the bill slipped under the radar.
“The mental health hold was what they testified to in committee, and that was the big thing they didn’t want to get out, but it does give them the authority to put that hold on people.”
Lundberg said the big concern is that the bill essentially places members of the Secret Service on an equal footing with law-enforcement, without being constrained by jurisdictional issues.
“If you look at the bill, it says they can operate alongside of local police authorities and function as equals you might say,” he said. “However, when you read it carefully it basically gives them state police power so whatever power a regular policeman such as the state patrol, sheriff’s office or local police has they will have also.”
However, in debate on the House side, Saine said she was given a different reason for why legislators needed to pass the bill.
“Rep. Jared Wright was talking about how when he was in committee he asked several times why they needed it, and the reason given was if there was a motorcade and something happened during the procession the Secret Service needed the authority to arrest the perpetrators,” Saine said.
“Then we were told by the sponsor that’s not it, it’s because they were going to help our local law enforcement and sheriffs with check and wire fraud. However, check and wire fraud are not mentioned anywhere in the bill,” she said.
The bill states that the agents are automatically granted peace officer status when several conditions apply. For instance, if the agent is responding to a non-federal felony or misdemeanor being committed in their presence, he has the full authority to arrest any Colorado citizen.
The bill also gives the Secret Service agents wide discretion to arrest citizens based merely on probable cause that a non-federal felony or misdemeanor involving injury or threat of injury to a person or property has been or is being committed.
Lundberg said one of the problems with bills like this is they start out by giving broad authority to a government agency or entity, then they place language later in the bill that appears to restrict that authority in an attempt to provide cover for those expressing alarm about the language.
“Often in laws like this they will give broad authority in one section, then later in another section they will have wording which appears to restrict the authority,” he explained. “Unlike the state’s law enforcement, the Secret Service would not have any jurisdictional concerns. Under this bill they can go anywhere in the state of Colorado regardless of jurisdiction.”
But Wright, a former law-enforcement official, told Marble the Secret Service told him their current policies would prohibit them from arresting Colorado citizens under the bill’s provisions.
“They told Jared that making an arrest of a Colorado citizen for a misdemeanor crime unrelated to their own duties would actually violate their own guidelines,” Marble said. “So his question was why are we passing a law that violates their own internal policies.”
In Texas, a Democrat in the state legislature has proposed a bill that would allow the state to remove an elected sheriff for refusing to enforce the law. The bill defines law as including any rule, regulation, executive order, court order, statute or constitutional provision.
After the passage of a several gun control laws, which would among other things restrict magazine size and prohibit private sales between individuals without a background check, several sheriffs have said the laws are unenforceable and they will not enforce what they call unconstitutional laws.
Under Colorado law, the only individual with the authority to arrest a sheriff is the coroner.
Saine said she believes the bill is intended to be used as a foundation for later legislation that will surrender still greater control to federal officials.
“There’ve been so many explanations for the reasons they really need this bill passed. So what is it really?” Saine asked. “I believe it is intended to be used for setting up a framework so that at some other time they could expand it to possibly include being able to arrest a sheriff who is refusing to enforce unconstitutional laws. They would justify it by saying that since we’ve already given the Secret Service this ability, why not give them just one more?”
Lundberg said he agrees with Saine’s assessment that the bill could be used to expand federal power beyond what is stated in its language.
“It does give Secret Service powers in a broad sense, but I’m not sure the changes as stated will automatically change things significantly. It’s not a broad overreach, but it is an overreach. It’s one more step in the wrong direction.”
Lundberg said rather than expanding the ability of federal officials, state and local officials should be looking for opportunities to stand up against federal intervention in local affairs.
“I believe sheriffs can enforce their authority,” Lundberg said. “I also think we need to draw the line as clearly as we can and at every opportunity to say the states are in charge, not the federal government.”
WND has reported that sheriffs across the country are expressing concern that they cannot enforce a Washington mandate that clearly violates the Second Amendment.
A growing list of now more than 340 sheriffs who have reportedly vowed to uphold the Constitution against efforts to undermine Americans’ gun rights is being accumulated by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association.
As WND also reported, Cooke said he is getting political pressure to support the laws. He said he received an email chain pointing out that Senate Majority Leader John Morse, a Democrat, said if a salary bill were introduced, it would not be until late in the session, after the gun-control bills had been voted on.
Cooke said while he’s not willing to conclude the emails meet the legal definition of extortion, it was apparent that was the intent.
“When you look at the email, I don’t see how you could look at it any other way,” Cooke said. “It definitely implied the reason a pay raise bill was being held up was to punish us for our stance against these gun bills. Then they had another email suggesting if we were to support this bill, it would look better for us and maybe we can get a bill introduced for a raise.
“To me, that didn’t sit well at all. I’m not willing to say its extortion yet, but it just looked bad. We were not willing to compromise on our principles. We felt the bill was bad, and we were not going to support it.”
The sheriff’s pushback against the gun measures is significant because Democratic lawmakers are crafting similar bills in other states.
“The bills are a model for what they’ll try to push in Congress,” said Independence Institute research director and Denver University law professor Dave Kopel.
“Colorado is a pawn for the Obama-Biden plan,” he added.
In fact, Vice-President Joe Biden called undecided Democrats and pushed for passage of the bills. Obama is scheduled to visit the state in just a few days.
While some see the measures as models for other states, laws that preserve gun rights are gaining momentum.
The first of these was the Firearms Freedom Act passed in Montana, which says any firearms made and retained in-state are beyond the authority of Congress under its constitutional power to regulate commerce among the states.
Lawmakers in other states are now following suit.
Two senators in Ohio have introduced a bill which would prohibit firearms seizures, registration and bans in their state.
A bill in Kentucky would prohibit the state from enforcing new federal gun-control laws, if enacted.
Idaho’s House passed a bill that would criminalize enforcing any new federal laws that ban, restrict, confiscate or require registration of firearms or ammunition in violation of the state’s constitution.
A bill in Louisiana would prohibit the enforcement of federal restrictions regarding the ownership or possession of semi-automatic firearms.
A bill that would prohibit the enforcement of federal gun laws passed in the House Public Safety Committee in Oklahoma.
The Texas House is considering a measure to prevent state and local police from enforcing new federal gun-control measures.
A bill in Arizona would make it a felony for the federal government to enforce new laws or regulations on guns, accessories and ammunition owned or manufactured in the state.
And a bill in Michigan would exempt firearms and firearms accessories made and sold exclusively in Michigan from federal gun restrictions.
Some of the strongest language to that effect has come from Utah, where 28 of the state’s 29 elected sheriffs signed a letter to President Obama warning him not to send federal agents to start confiscating guns.
Similarly, in New Mexico in January, 30 of the state’s 33 county sheriffs paid a visit to the state house, reminding the governor and state congressmen that a sheriff’s job is to defend the Constitution, including the Second Amendment.


Friday, March 29, 2013

How far can North Korean missiles reach?

Feds give $880,000 for study of snail sex

Government grant of the day: Feds give $880,000 for study of snail sex

by Doug Powers

First came news of a $400,000 grant to Yale to study duck genitalia (with taxpayers getting stuck with the bill), and now it’s time to double down:
The National Science Foundation awarded a grant for $876,752 to the University of Iowa to study whether there is any benefit to sex among New Zealand mud snails and whether that explains why any organism has sex.
The study, first funded in 2011 and continuing until 2015, will study the New Zealand snails to see if it is better that they reproduce sexually or asexually – the snail can do both – hoping to gain insight on why so many organisms practice sexual reproduction.
“Sexual reproduction is more costly than asexual reproduction [just paying for the drinks can end up running into the thousands of dollars over a lifetime - DP], yet nearly all organisms reproduce sexually at least some of the time. Why is sexual reproduction so common despite its costs,” the study’s abstract asks.
For that kind of money they should at least be able to train the snails to lead White House tours.
“Why is sexual reproduction so common despite its costs”? Seriously?
The Feds also included extra funding so researchers can figure out why snails travel faster than the government’s promised “bullet trains.”
Bonus item: In the last five years the government has spent over a million dollars on puppetry-related items. Maybe they put on a little show for the snails.

Planned Parenthood lobbies for 'post-birth abortion'

Lawmakers told mother's 'choice' to let babies die on table

A lobbyist for a regional division of Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion business in the United States, says a doctor and a mother should be allowed to decide to kill a newborn who survives an abortion.
The stunning position echoed statements made by Barack Obama while he was in the state Senate in Illinois, and repeatedly opposed a proposed law that would have obligated physicians to provide care to a baby surviving the abortion procedure.
The Planned Parenthood comments came at a recent Florida legislative hearing from Alisa LaPoit Snow, who was opposing a proposal that would require a doctor to provide care to an infant whom an abortion failed to kill.
Lawmakers were stunned, asking the same question over and over.
“So, it is just really hard for me to even ask you this question because I’m almost in disbelief,” said Rep. Jim Boyd. “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?”
Snow’s response?
“We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”
The same, or very similar, questions followed several times, as if the lawmakers could not believe the position advocated.
“You stated that a baby born alive on a table as a result of a botched abortion that that decision should be left to the doctor and the family. Is that what you’re saying?” wondered Rep. Jose Oliva.
Snow didn’t change her response.
“That decision should be between the patient and the health care provider,” she said.
When one lawmaker suggested at that point the “patient” also would include the newborn, Snow responded, “That’s a very good question. … I would be glad to have some more conversations with you about this.”
The Weekly Standard reported that Snow diverted the conversation when another lawmaker specifically asked, “What objection could you possibly have to obligate a doctor to transport a child born alive to a hospital where it seems to me they would be most likely to be able to survive?”
She responded that in some rural situations “the hospital is 45 minutes or an hour away” and said “logistical issues” were concerning.
The exchange:

WND has reported before on the idea of “post-birth” abortion, including when a Princeton “bioethicist” announced he’d allow the killing of disabled babies after they were born if that was in the “best interests” of the family.
Princeton’s Peter Singer (Photo: The Age)
Those comments came from Peter Singer, a controversial bioethics professor, who responded to a series of questions in the UK Independent several years ago.
WND had reported Singer believes the next few decades will see a massive upheaval in the concept of life and rights, with only “a rump of hard-core, know-nothing religious fundamentalists” still protecting life as sacrosanct.
To the rest, it will be a commodity to be re-evaluated regularly for its worth.
His newest sermon on his beliefs came in a question-and-answer interview the Independent set up with readers.
Singer’s response came to Dublin reader Karen Meade’s question: “Would you kill a disabled baby?”
“Yes, if that was in the best interests of the baby and of the family as a whole. Many people find this shocking, yet they support a woman’s right to have an abortion,” he said.
He added that one point on which he agrees with the pro-life movement is that, “from the point of view of ethics rather than the law, there is no sharp distinction between the fetus and the newborn baby.”
The statement furthers the arguments that Singer’s position is just an extension of the culture of death that has developed in the world, with euthanasia legal in some locations, abortion legal in many and even charges that in some repressive societies there’s an active business in harvesting healthy organs from victims in order to provide transplants for the wealthy.
“At least he’s consistent,” Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told at the time.
Singer holds that man is no different from other forms a life, and therefore man’s life is not worth more than, for example, a cow.
He told readers he’d kill 10 cows before killing one human, but that’s not because they are of less value, only that humans would mourn.
“I’ve written that it is much worse to kill a being who is aware of having a past and a future, and who plans for the future. Normal humans have such plans, but I don’t think cows do,” he said.
Obama was a member of the Illinois legislature when he decided to not support a bill to provide medical care for newborns who survived failed late-term abortions.
Along about 2002, when Illinois was considering plan that apparently was similar to what Florida lawmakers were reviewing, he said: “I just want to be clear because I think this was the source of the objections of the medical society. As I understand it, this puts the burden on the attending physician who has determined, since they were performing this procedure, that, in fact, this is a nonviable fetus; that if that fetus, or child – however way you want to describe it – is now outside the mother’s womb and the doctor continues to think that its nonviable but there’s, lets say, movement or some indication that, in fact, they’re not just out limp and dead, they would then have to call a second physician to monitor and check off and make sure that this is not a live child that could be saved. Is that correct?”
He continued, “Let me just go to the bill, very quickly. I think, as this emerged during debate and during committee, the only plausible rationale, to my mind, for this legislation would be if you had a suspicion that a doctor, the attending physician, who has made an assessment that this is a nonviable fetus and that, let’s say for the purposes of the mother’s health, is being – that – that labor is being induced, that that physician (a) is going to make the wrong assessment and (b) if the physician discovered, after the labor had been induced, that, in fact, he made an error, or she made an error, and, in fact, that that physician, of his own accord or her own accord, would not try to exercise the sort of medical measures and practices that would be involved in saving that child. Now, if – if you think that there are possibilities that doctors would not do that, then maybe this bill makes sense, but I – I suspect and my impression is, is that the medical society suspects as well that doctors feel that they would be under that obligation, that they would already be making these determinations and that, essentially, adding a – an additional doctor who then has to be called in an emergency situation to come in and make these assessments is really designed simply to burden the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion. Now, if that’s the case … and I know that some of us feel very strongly one way or another on that issue, that’s fine, but I think it’s important to understand that this issue ultimately is about abortion and not live births. Because if these children are being born alive, I, at least, have confidence that a doctor who is in that room is going to make sure that they’re looked after.”
The comments:

WND columnist Nat Hentoff has written on the subject.
“No previous president has been so radically pro-abortion as Obama, who, when he was in the Illinois Senate, voted three times against the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act. The bill would have ensured that if a live baby fully emerged before an abortion was successfully completed, he or she was to be saved,” he said.
“To let this legislation die would be an act of infanticide, but it did not pass while Obama was in the Illinois Senate. ”
He continued, “Sate Sen. Obama insisted that the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act interfered with a woman’s reproductive rights. But wanted or not, the child had been born, and preventing him or her from continuing to live was infanticide!”


North Korea puts rockets on standby

North Korea puts rockets on standby as US official warns regime is no 'paper tiger'

By Courtney Kube and Ian Johnston

North Korea put its rocket units on standby Friday to attack U.S. military bases in South Korea and the Pacific, after repeated threats and one day after two American stealth bombers flew over the Korean Peninsula in a military exercise.
A U.S. official warned that the isolated communist state is “not a paper tiger” and its reaction should not be dismissed as “pure bluster.”
According to the North Korea's official KCNA news agency, the country's leader Kim Jong Un “judged the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation” at a midnight meeting of top generals, Reuters reported.
The latest threat comes one day after two nuclear-capable stealth bombers flew from Missouri to drop inert munitions on a range in South Korea as part of a major military exercise.

Kim Jong Un, seen at what was described as an urgent meeting overnight, has ordered his rocket forces to be on standby to strike U.S. and South Korean targets at any time.

The U.S. official emphasized the danger posed by North Korea’s military and the unpredictable nature of its 30-year-old leader.
“North Korea is not a paper tiger so it wouldn't be smart to dismiss its provocative behavior as pure bluster. What's not clear right now is how much risk Kim Jong Un is willing to run to show the world and domestic elites that he's a tough guy,” said the official, who asked not to be named. “His inexperience is certain -- his wisdom is still very much in question.”
There was a mass demonstration in support of Kim involving tens of thousands of people in the main square of North Korean capital Pyongyang Friday, The Associated Press reported.
Placards read "Let's crush the puppet traitor group" and "Let's rip the puppet traitors to death!"
'War for national liberation'
The state-controlled KCNA also published an article that said the “opportunity for peacefully settling the DPRK-U.S. relations is no longer available as the U.S. opted for staking its fate. Consequently, there remains only the settlement of accounts by a physical means.” DPRK stands for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North's official name.
“A battle to be fought by the DPRK against the U.S. will become a war for national liberation to defend the sovereignty and dignity of the country and, at the same time, a revolutionary war to defend the human cause of independence and the justice of the international community,” the article by “news analyst” Minju Joson said.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted a South Korean military official as saying that there had been “increased movement of vehicles and forces” at missile launch sites in the North. “We are closely watching possibilities of missile launches,” the unnamed official said.
North Korea routinely issues hostile statements but analysts have noted recent remarks have become more belligerent. In December, the North carried out a long-range rocket test and then detonated a nuclear bomb in a test earlier this year.
North Korea's young leader Kim Jong-un has issued almost daily threats, including the threat of nuclear strikes on Washington, D.C., and Seoul. In addition, Pyongyang has put its troops on combat readiness, warning that war "may break out at any moment." NBC's Ian Williams reports.

At a daily news briefing Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei said China was calling for an easing of tensions.
But some fear the situation could be getting out of control.
"It seems that Kim Jong Un is in the driving seat of a train that has been taken on a joyride," Lee Min-yong, an expert on North Korea at Sookmyung Women's University in Seoul, told Reuters.
Russia, meanwhile, appeared to criticize the U.S. over Thursday's bomber mission.
 "We are concerned that alongside the adequate, collective reaction of the U.N. Security Council, unilateral action is being taken around North Korea that is increasing military activity," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Moscow, according to Reuters.
"The situation could simply get out of control; it is slipping toward the spiral of a vicious cycle," he said.
Reuters contributed to this report.


Pat Buchanan: Is America still a good country?

Nation is sharply divided on serious issues of morality

byPatrick J. Buchanan
“Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
So wrote Alexis de Tocqueville.
Yet, judged by the standards of those old “pulpits aflame with righteousness,” is America still a good country?
Consider the cases taken up this week by the Supreme Court.
In one, the court is asked to rule on California’s Proposition 8, where voters declared marriage to be solely between a man and a woman. In the second, the court is asked to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, which forbids federal support for same-sex marriages.
Whatever their beliefs, the justices, one trusts, will leave this to the states and people. For Roe v. Wade, where seven justices found the right to an abortion lurking in the penumbras of the Ninth Amendment, poisons our politics to this day. We don’t need a re-enactment of that civil war.
Still, what America decides about same-sex marriage will reveal much about what this generation believes to be a moral society.
Traditionalist America has always held homosexuality to be unnatural and immoral, ruinous to body and soul alike, and where prevalent – as in Weimar, Germany – the mark of a sick society.
This belief outrages millions. Yet it is as old as mankind and was held universally in the Christian West until this century. Moreover, it is grounded in biblical truth, tradition, natural law and Catholic doctrine.
Before 1973, the American Psychiatric Association regarded homosexuality as a mental disorder. Most states treated it as a crime.
The new morality argues thus:
For a significant slice of the population, homosexuality is natural and normal. They were born this way. And to deny homosexuals the freedom to engage in consensual sexual relations, or the right to marry, is bigotry as odious as was discrimination against black Americans.
Yet, though gospel to many, this belief has only the most shallow of religious, moral and philosophical roots. It seems grounded in a post-1960s ideology that holds that all freely chosen lifestyles are equal, and to discriminate against any is the true social sin.
Needless to say, the traditional morality and the new morality are irreconcilable.
But if the new morality – that homosexuality is normal and same-sex marriage morally equal to traditional marriage – is true and valid, Frank Kameny was a prophet and Christianity is indictable for 2,000 years of ostracism, persecution and suffering imposed on homosexuals.
Or perhaps we believe that moral truth evolves – that, for example, adultery may be immoral for one generation, but not so for the next.
The issue here goes beyond what the Court decides.
For even should the advocates of same-sex marriage prevail, their victory will not be accepted by believers in the traditional morality, but simply be seen as but another step in America’s descent down a slippery slope to hell.
Indeed, for millions of Americans, this society – which has eradicated Christianity from its public institutions and enshrined secularism in its place, which considers abortion a woman’s right, which is blasĂ© about 53 million unborn children destroyed since Roe, which puts homosexual liaisons on the same moral plane as matrimony – is a society that has lost its moral bearings and is rapidly losing its mind.
Which raises a serious separate issue.
If we Americans cannot even agree on what is right and wrong and moral and immoral, how do we stay together in one national family? If one half of the nation sees the other as morally depraved, while the latter sees the former as saturated in bigotry, sexism and homophobia, how do we remain one united nation and one people?
Today, half of America thinks the country some of us grew up in was bigoted, racist, homophobic and sexist, while the other half sees this morally “evolving” nation as a society openly inviting the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah and that is hardly worth preserving.
A common faith and moral code once held this country together. But if we no longer stand on the same moral ground, after we have made a conscious decision to become the most racially, ethnically, culturally diverse people on earth, what in the world holds us together?
The Constitution, the Bill of Rights?
How can they, when we bitterly disagree on what they say?
By throwing out the old morality and embracing a new morality on abortion and same-sex marriage, America tossed her sheet anchor into the sea. And from the turbulent waters we have entered – our illegitimacy rate is above 40 percent, and no Western nation has a birth rate that will keep its native-born alive in anything like the present numbers – America and the West may have set sail on a voyage from which there is no return.


NYTimes lies on "Stop & Frisk: My response NYPost

Stop harassing the cops: Frisks save NYC lives

The Issue: Whether the New York Times’ reports on the stop-and-frisk program are biased against it.

“The Times’ Big Lie on Stop and Frisk,” (PostOpinion, March 25)

My response:

   Is it any wonder that the Times has succumbed to yellow journalism by portraying the stop-and-frisk program as nothing more than an effort to harass minorities?
   The public is being lied to regarding the NYPD’s intent with a policy that has reduced violent crime in the city. These are the same proponents of gun control who wish to regulate law-abiding citizens while allowing gun-toting thugs to murder at will.
   Mac Donald refers to the Times’ story on Friday: “Bronx Inspector, Secretly Taped, Suggests Race Is a Factor in Stops.”
   This is purely a political piece riddled with untruths. Officer Serrano’s taped exchange with McCormack reveals the truth behind a bad cop trying to work the system.
   This is another story of politically correct sickness that has crippled our ability to get the bad guys.

theodore miraldi