Cutting The Cost Of Government By Improving The Economy

Yesterday Breitbart reported that in the last year food stamp [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)] enrollment has gone down in 46 out of the 50 states. The biggest drops were in Connecticut, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C.

The article reports:

Connecticut saw the largest drop, with SNAP enrollment dropping 25.4 percent from May 2016 to May 2017.

The state also saw a pretty hefty drop in enrollment over one month — Connecticut’s enrollment in the food stamp program dropped 14.2 percent from April 2017 to May 2017.

North Carolina saw the second-largest decrease in SNAP enrollment with a 14.2 drop in the number of state residents participating in the food stamp program.

Part of the decrease has to do with a provision in the 2009 economic stimulus bill. The bill included a waiver of the work requirement in areas that were economically depressed.

The article explains:

The economic boom in these towns no longer made them eligible as of April 1, 2016, for a waiver from SNAP regulations. These regulations were put in place nationwide before the recession and require able-bodied adults without children to work at least 20 hours week, enroll in school, or take part in state-approved job training if they receive benefits for more than three months.

…The only four states that did not see declines in food stamp enrollment are Alaska, Kentucky, Montana, and Illinois. Each of those states reported slight gains in SNAP enrollment. Alaska saw the biggest increase in food stamp enrollment, with SNAP participation increasing by 4.1 percent. Illinois saw the second-largest increase in SNAP enrollment at 3.4 percent, and Montana reported an increase of 3 percent.

All of those states participate in the waiver program either statewide or in certain towns because of chronic unemployment in those areas.

Nationwide, food stamp enrollment has been on the downswing. Food stamp use in the U.S. fell to its lowest level in seven years, and 1.1 million Americans dropped off the food stamp rolls since President Trump took office.

There is a basic lesson here. When there is a work requirement to collect food stamps, enrollment goes down.

As I reported in July:

For example, in July 2014, Maine announced that it would no longer grant waivers from the work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependent children.

In order to receive benefits, they would thus have to work, participate in a work program for 20 hours per week, or do community service for about six hours per week.

It is important to note that this policy did not arbitrarily cut food stamp recipients from the program rolls. Able-bodied adults without dependent children in Maine were removed from the rolls only if they refused to participate in modest activities.

In fact, most of these individuals in Maine chose to leave the program rather than participate in training or community service, despite the strong outreach efforts of government caseworkers. This indicates that these individuals had other means of supporting themselves.

As a result of the new policy, the Maine caseload for able-bodied adults without dependent children dropped 80 percent in just a few months, falling from 13,332 in December 2014 to 2,678 recipients in March 2015.

I wonder what Congress had in mind when the waivers were put in place in 2009. We now have the examples of Alaska, Kentucky, Montana, and Illinois. All of those states still have the waivers, and they are the only four states whose economies have not improved sufficiently to remove the waivers. Food stamps without a work or training requirement does not help anyone–it simply creates dependency. How many times do we have to see this principle in action before we learn that lesson?

Shall Not Be Infringed

A friend of mine who teaches social studies once pointed out to me that the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution (The Bill of Rights) are there to protect the rights of American citizens. They don’t give the government rights–they protect the citizens’ rights. In that context, the Second Amendment is there to protect the right of Americans to own guns.

The Second Amendment states:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Seems pretty clear. Well, I think we are about to have a discussion on exactly what ‘infringed’ means.

Fox News reported today that the governor of ConnecticutDannel Malloy, wants to raise the cost of pistol fees in Connecticut. The state has a budget shortfall, and the governor thinks this might help close the gap.

The article reports:

The five-year renewal fee for pistol permits would increase from $70 to $300, first-time five-year permits would increase from $140 to $370 and fees for background checks would increase from $50 to $75.

The plan is expected to raise nearly $12 million per year in additional revenue, CBS News and The Associated Press reported.

Frankly, if I lived in Connecticut, I might consider those rather drastic increases.

The article further reports:

Gun-rights supporters and state Republican lawmakers said this increase would preclude many people from exercising their Second Amendment right to bear arms, since the proposed fees would be among the highest in the country.

The National Rifle Association called the governor’s proposal “outrageous,” according to the report.

Malloy said the fees are in line with other jurisdictions and will cover the state’s administrative costs for gun permits and background checks.

To me, the size of the increase would qualify as ‘infringe.’ Making it expensive to own a gun is one way anti-gun politicians can legislate gun restrictions without actually legislating gun restrictions. I hope the governor’s idea is quickly shot down.

 

A Judge’s Ruling That Ignores The Law

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about a recent lawsuit regarding the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. The parents of the children who were killed have sued the manufacturers of the guns used in the shooting.

The article reports:

It is important to remember that the rifle used by Adam Lanza, a semi-automatic AR-15, had been legally bought by his mother, Nancy Lanza. Lanza killed her while she was sleeping before he headed to the elementary school and engaged in his killing spree. In fact, some of the families blamed Nancy Lanza for what happened, saying that she knew about her son’s mental problems and “ignored all the signs” of his “increasing instability.”

The parents subsequently filed a wrongful death lawsuit in state court against Bushmaster Firearms, Remington Arms, and a host of other firearms manufacturers. The families claim that the manufacturers acted “unethically, oppressively, immorally, and unscrupulously” in marketing the “assaultive qualities and military use of AR-15s to civilian purchasers.”

I don’t mean to be difficult, but the manufacturers had nothing to do with the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The article reports:

Of course, the main problem faced by the plaintiffs is that this lawsuit is absolutely barred by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 (PLCA). The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush to stop these types of emotionally-charged lawsuits against gun manufacturers. Codified at 15 U.S.C. §7901-7903, the Congressional “Findings” specifically state that businesses that manufacture, market, distribute, import or sell firearms should not “be liable for the harm caused by those who criminally or unlawfully misuse” such weapons. Such civil liability lawsuits “may not be brought in any Federal or State court.”

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act provides only limited exceptions to this prohibition. One exception is for lawsuits claiming a normal product liability issue, such as the harm caused by a weapon that contained a design or manufacturing defect that caused it to malfunction. Or if the manufacturer deliberately sold the gun to someone who is prohibited from owning a guns—like a felon. Or if the manufacturer encouraged a gun owner to misuse the weapon in a way that led to the harm.

What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School was horrific. A mentally ill young man managed to get hold of a gun and went on a killing spree. Unfortunately, the way our laws are currently written, this was not a preventable crime. The laws that cover committing a person to a mental hospital have gotten complicated, and it was reported that the young man’s mother was attempting to have him hospitalized because of his mental state. Unfortunately, she was not able to complete that complex process before her son killed her. Maybe the answer is a review of our mental health policies–not suing people who are not responsible for the crime.

Moving Responsibility As Far As Possible From The Person Who Is Actually Responsible

Our culture has some very strange ideas about who is responsible for what. Somehow we have forgotten that as people we make decisions all of the time and that those decisions have consequences. Sometimes those decisions have horrible consequences, but when all is said and done, the consequences are the result of an individual’s decisions. A recent lawsuit against Freedom Group, the owners of both Bushmaster and Remington Arms, relating to the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut illustrates the fact that we no longer allow individuals to be held accountable for their actions.

Hot Air posted an article about the lawsuit today.

The article reports:

The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School had a huge impact on the national discourse and, to some extent, the electoral battlefield, but there’s another fight dragging on as a result of it. Some of the families who lost loved ones during the attack by a deranged madman filed a lawsuit as a result. They weren’t going after the shooter’s estate or even that of his mother, but the parent company of the manufacturer who produced one of the guns used in the attack. Freedom Group, the owners of both Bushmaster and Remington Arms (among others) was their target, claiming that they knowingly sold a dangerous product which wound up being used against the children and teachers at the school. This week the company is pushing back, seeking the dismissal of the case on grounds that it is essentially baseless and conflicts with current law.

I love the way the article explains exactly how the current law is written:

The law in question here is the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which we’ve covered a number of times in the past. It’s a piece of legislation which really never should have needed to be passed, but Congress was forced into a rare bit of productive action when relentless nuisance suits by anti-gun rights groups threatened to bankrupt smaller members of the industry. It essentially says that the manufacturer or retailer can’t be held liable for the production, distribution and sale of safely designed, properly functioning, wholly legal products simply because they are put to an illegal use by criminals or the insane. It’s no different than saying you can’t sue the manufacturer of a properly designed and operational toaster just because your angry girlfriend throws it in the bathtub with you. (The italics are mine.)

You can argue that the guns were not properly secured and got into the hands of a dangerous person, but that is not the fault of the manufacturing company. Had there been a person in the school with a gun manufactured by the same company, there would have been fewer lives lost–does that mean that the product is no longer dangerous, but a safety item?

The article concludes:

It’s easy to understand the sorrow and anger felt by the Sandy Hook families, just as it’s obvious how and why anti-Second Amendment groups would seek to use them as pawns to further their cause. None of that changes the facts on the ground, however. This was an ill considered venture to begin with and we’re in a lot of trouble as a nation if the courts manage to bend reality enough to allow them to prevail.

 

Over The Top

On Wednesday, the Hartford Courant reported that the Connecticut Democrats will be changing the name of their annual fund raising dinner. The dinner has previously been called the Jefferson-Jackson-Bailey Dinner. John Bailey is a former Democrat party boss. It is possible that his name will remain in the new title given to the dinner. Jefferson and Jackson are being eliminated because of the fact that they were slave owners.

The article reports:

“Let’s work together to show the rest of the state exactly what it means to be a Connecticut Democrat,” party Chairman Nicholas Balletto said before introducing the resolution.

In part, the resolution said, “As members of the Democratic Party, we are proud of our history as the party of inclusion. Democrats have led the way on civil rights, LGBT equality and equal rights for women. … It is only fitting that the name of the party’s most visible annual event reflects our dedication to diversity and forward-looking vision.”

The article further reports:

Connecticut Democrats have had various ideas about the issue. U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, one of the state’s top liberal Democrats, has defended Jefferson — but at the same time said that both Democratic presidents are “very complicated” historical figures.

“I’m proud of Thomas Jefferson,” DeLauro told The Courant recently. “I think Thomas Jefferson is a founding father.”

Scot X. Esdaile, president of the Connecticut NAACP, had also asked state Democrats to consider a new name for the annual fundraiser.

“Democrats have a deeply rooted history with slavery,” he said recently. “They need to do the right thing.”

Before you rush to condemn slave holders in Colonial times, you need to remember that slavery was legal worldwide. It was an accepted practice. Slavery was outlawed in England in the early 1800’s due to the work of William Wilberforce, a devout Christian, who saw it as his Christian duty to end the practice. Slavery is a horrible practice, but before you condemn those who practiced it, think of the way future generations will look at abortion in America and the selling of baby body parts. Every generation is a mixture of good and evil. We do not have the right to condemn past generations when we are doing things as bad or worse than what they did.

If the Democrats no longer want Jefferson and Jackson, I am sure the Republicans will be glad to acknowledge the part both men played in the founding and keeping of America. They were not perfect men, but they were men used by God to guide this country.

Ten Years After Kelo v. City Of New London

This article is based on two articles, one posted Saturday and updated yesterday at The Day and one in the Wall Street Journal today. Both articles deal with the Kelo v. City of New London Supreme Court case ten years ago that allowed the city to take fifteen homes through eminent domain for the purposes of economic development.

The article at The Day reports some of the history of the taking of the property. New London was looking to add to its tax base because revenues were not meeting the needs of the city. The State of Connecticut was offering money ($70 million) to help with the redevelopment of the area where the houses were located. The fifteen houses in question were owned by seven people who filed suit against the taking of their property. The case went to the Supreme Court, and the property was taken by the City.

So where are we now? There have been some new roads added to the area; sidewalks and street lamps have been added. But things have not gone as planned.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

The condemned land remains empty, housing only a few feral cats. After Hurricane Irene in 2011, the city used it as a dumping ground for debris. Yet the first real development since the Supreme Court’s controversial decision might now be on its way: New London Mayor Daryl Finizio, who was elected in 2011 as a critic of the government taking, recently announced a plan to turn the former site of Ms. Kelo’s house into a park that will “serve as a memorial to all those adversely affected by the city’s use of eminent domain.”

As I reported in December 2009:

So let’s look at where we are now.  The taking of the property was used to lure Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company to New London to build a research center.  Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company arrived, built its New London research center on the seized property, and this week announced that it was closing the plant.  Most of the plants 1,400 employees will be relocated to nearby Groton. 

Now the City of New London won’t even have the tax revenue from the people who once lived in that area of New London.  They will simply have a vacant research center.  Poetic justice at its best.

Private property rights are one of the sources of prosperity in our country. Violating them is foolish and does have consequences.

Just a side note. The Day noted that Pfizer got a 10-year tax abatement from the state of Connecticut. They moved their plant away from the area the day after that tax abatement ended. We need to remember that businesses are in business to make money and will do whatever necessary to protect their bottom line. What they did was legal, it just wasn’t in the spirit of the deal that was made.

This Is What The Egyptian Media Thinks Of President Obama

This was posted on YouTube on May 20th, after President Obama gave a speech at the Coast Guard Academy stating that climate change was the biggest threat to America. The video shows some Egyptian news commentators reacting to President Obama’s speech:

Remember President Obama’s campaign promise to restore the image of America in the eyes of the world?

The Education Our Children Are Not Getting

Yesterday the Independent Journal Review posted an article about a high school student using the internet to prepare for a debate. Student debates are a really good thing–I think they give students a chance to evaluate issues and form opinions based on both sides of the argument. But wait, about that both sides of the argument part.

The article reports:

Andrew Lampart, a senior at Nonnewaug High School in Connecticut, made an unsettling discovery while doing research for a class debate on gun control.

When he couldn’t access the NRA’s homepage, he decided to check what other sites the school had blocked. Lampart said, “I went over on sites such as Moms Demand Action or Newtown Action Alliance and I could get on these Web sites but not the others.”

He also found that pro-life sites were blocked by the school’s firewall while pro-choice websites like Plannned Parenthood were not. He even found that Christianity.com couldn’t be accessed, but Islam-guide.com was readily available.

Please follow the link above to the Independent Journal Review to see the list of websites the school allowed and those it blocked.

The Board of Education commented:

The Board of Education Chairman, John Chapman, emailed Fox CT to say, “the Board appreciated hearing the comments from Andrew and agree that he has raised an important issue that warrants further investigation.”

Meanwhile, I wonder how the student is supposed to prepare for the debate.

The Battle For The Second Amendment

I apologize in advance for the fact that this will be a rather long article, but I missed the beginning of this story, so I need to catch up.

On March 16th Freedom Outpost posted a story about a raid by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) on Ares Armor.

According to the article:

Ares Armor sells what are called “80% lower receivers” to allow a buyer to make his own AR-15 rifle. According to federal law,”The term ‘firearm'” includes “the frame or receiver of” a weapon, but one that is only 80 percent complete does not fall under that category.

When ATF agents began nosing around Ares Armor and started asking questions, the store obtained a temporary restraining order prohibiting the agency from seizing its product line and customer list. A hearing was scheduled for March 20 to litigate the issue.

However, on Saturday, ATF agents raided Ares pursuant to an ex parte order — an order obtained without notice to the other party, in this case Ares — and did just what Ares feared, according to the amateur video below.

You can see the video by following the link to freedom outpost. The article at freedom outpost also explains how the ATF managed to get around the restraining order.

Freedom Outpost posted an article yesterday showing the state government’s response to this raid.

The article reports:

On the heels of the illegal ATF raid on Ares Armor, Idaho Governor Butch Otter signed into law S1332, a bill which will effectively nullify federal gun laws. The nullification legislation will prohibit state enforcement of any future federal act that relates to firearms, accessories or ammunition.

S1332, or as it is commonly referred to as the Idaho Federal Firearm, Magazine and Register Ban Enforcement Act, passed both the house (68-0) and senate (34-0) unanimously.

The article further states:

Other states such as Alaska and Kansas have passed similar legislation. Missouri is in the process of pushing similar legislation through for a second time, after Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the Second Amendment Preservation Act last year. Several other states have introduced their version of the Second Amendment Preservation Act to nullify federal gun laws, including Florida, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Arizona.

The legislation rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine. Simply put, the federal government cannot force or coerce states into implementing or enforcing federal acts or regulations – constitutional or not. The anti-commandeering doctrine rests primarily on four Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. Printz v. US serves as the cornerstone. According to that doctrine:
 
“The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program…such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.”

It is unfortunate that we have come to a point where the states have to defend the U. S. Constitution because the federal government is ignoring it.

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Let The Squabbles Begin

The Boston Globe posted an article today about the fight among the New England States for ObamaCare grants to set up websites. Originally, Massachusetts was given a $45 million federal innovation grant to build a state-of-the-art consumer platform for President Obama’s insurance program.

Massachusetts is a bit of a ‘techie’ state, and it was hoped that they would share the technical knowledge used to build their ObamaCare website with the other New England states. That sounds like a very reasonable idea in theory. Unfortunately, in practice it didn’t work.

The article reports:

Massachusetts has failed to produce a successful computer model to share, and in the meantime Connecticut’s insurance marketplace, built by Deloitte LLP, is working so well that the state is now offering its computer system as a model for other struggling states.

Counihan said five states have expressed interest in piggybacking off Connecticut’s insurance marketplace, but not Massachusetts.

“Some states were trying to build a Maserati. We built a Ford Focus,’’ Counihan said. “It might not be as glamorous but it runs. It can get you to the store.”

So what’s the problem? The article explains:

Connecticut health care officials are now mounting a campaign to collect a portion of a $45 million federal innovation grant that was awarded to Massachusetts to build a state-of-the-art consumer platform for President Obama’s insurance program.

…But, Rhode Island state Representative Joseph McNamara, a Democrat on the General Assembly’s Permanent Joint Committee on Healthcare Oversight, said he thinks Rhode Island could benefit from the money. Federal grants for the Rhode Island insurance marketplace end by July 2015, when the state would face a $24 million shortfall, he said.

“It’s a liability that we’re starting to discuss right now,” McNamara said. “We would appreciate any assistance from our friends in Massachusetts.”

Somewhere along the way, someone needs to remind these states that this is not ‘free’ money. It comes off the backs of overtaxed taxpayers who are paying upwards of 40 percent of their earnings in taxes. At some point we need to admit that ObamaCare is costing considerably more money than anticipated and repeal it. Unfortunately, as long as states are willing to fight over federal tax money in order to avoid spending their state tax money, the federal deficit will continue to grow.

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Law Enforcement In Connecticut Knows What the Second Amendment Says Even If The Lawmakers Don’t

Yesterday The Examiner posted an article about the latest development in Connecticut’s war on gun owners.

The article reports:

Gun rights legal expert and activist David Hardy reported Friday that 250 law enforcement officers in Connecticut have signed an open letter stating that they will not enforce the new anti-gun and magazine laws, which they consider to be a violation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

David Hardy is reporting that Tyler Jackson, the head of the Connecticut Peace Officers Association, has emailed him a letter stating that the head of the Connecticut Peace Officers’ Assn has released an open letter stating that the police will not “be party to the oppression of the people of the state by enforcing an unconstitutional law.” So far 250 LEOs have cosigned the letter.

The Second Amendment states:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Why is the State of Connecticut attempting to disarm its citizens?

Moving to North Carolina from Massachusetts has been something of a culture shock in a number of areas. One of those areas is the attitude toward guns. Generally speaking, I can assume that wherever I am in North Carolina there are probably at least three or four people around me with concealed carry permits that are carrying guns. Although I am not particularly interested in carrying a gun myself, I feel perfectly safe in the midst of people who do concealed carry. Actually, I feel safer than I did in Massachusetts. I know if someone comes into the mall with bad intentions, he will be met with a number of armed citizens with good intentions. That’s a good thing. Most of the mass shootings we have had have been in gun-free zones. People who intend to harm people generally like to do it where they will meet the least resistance. I have no problem with gun permits, but guns should not have to be registered, and they should not be subject to seizure by the state or federal government. Taking guns away from law-abiding Connecticut citizens is not gun control–it is disarming the civilian population–never a good idea!

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Losing The Second Amendment

On Wednesday Guns.com posted a story detailing the latest chapter in Connecticut’s war on gun owners. A law was passed at the end of last year that required certain gun owners to register their weapons with the State of Connecticut by December 31, 2013. Many gun owners simply did not register their guns. Others sent their applications in late or their applications were delivered late. Those people recently received a letter from the state:

http://www.rightwinggranny.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CT-Assualt-Weapon-Letter.jpg

The long and short of it it–if you missed the deadline, we will take your weapon away.

The article states:

According to the Journal Inquirer, 106 rifle owners and 108 ‘large capacity magazine’ owners in Connecticut were recently sent letters from the state police advising them that they had missed the deadline for registering their now-illicit firearms and accessories.

The state knew these individuals had these items because their registration applications were sent in, but postmarked too late to be processed.

This should be a wake-up call for anyone who doesn’t see gun registration as the beginning step of gun confiscation.

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Civil Disobedience In Connecticut

On Monday the Hartford Courant posted an article about the progress in Connecticut’s attempt to register all military-style rifles with state police by December 31. The effort has not gone well.

The article reports:

By the end of 2013, state police had received 47,916 applications for assault weapons certificates, Lt. Paul Vance said. An additional 2,100 that were incomplete could still come in.

That 50,000 figure could be as little as 15 percent of the rifles classified as assault weapons owned by Connecticut residents, according to estimates by people in the industry, including the Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation. No one has anything close to definitive figures, but the most conservative estimates place the number of unregistered assault weapons well above 50,000, and perhaps as high as 350,000.

This law instantly created between 20,000 and 100,000 new criminals–people who did not register their rifles. The article reminds us, “By owning unregistered guns defined as assault weapons, all of them are committing Class D felonies.”

The article reports:

The law was adopted after the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Its main provision was a dramatic expansion of guns classified as assault weapons banned for sale in the state. The ban now includes any semiautomatic firearm — that is, one that reloads a round after each pull of the trigger — if it has even a single military-style characteristic, such as a pistol grip.

Any semiautomatic firearm banned for sale could remain legal if its owner registered it by Dec. 31. Those that were made before the state’s first assault rifle law in 1993, and were not deemed to be assault weapons in that law, do not have to be registered.

The AR-15, a type of rifle, not a brand, is among those that must be registered and represents 50 percent to 60 percent of all rifle sales in the United States in recent years, federal figures show.

Sorting out the number of potential new felons is a guessing game. State police have not added up the total number of people who registered the 50,000 firearms, Vance said. So even if we knew the number of illegal guns in the state, we’d have a hard time knowing how many owners they had.

As logical as gun registration may seem to lawmakers, its history is not a positive one. Historically gun registration has been the prelude to a seizure of guns by a tyrannical government. An unarmed population is much more easily controlled than an armed population. There is also the small matter of the Second Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. It will be interesting to see of Connecticut attempts to enforce its new gun registration law.

I really don’t understand a lot about the concept of assault rifles, but I do wonder about a statement in the Hartford Courant article. The article states that this law was passed in response to what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I totally agree that what happened at Sandy Hook was a terrible tragedy, but is there anything in this law that is actually related to that event or that would have prevented that event?

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An Unconstitutional Solution To A Horrific Event

Yesterday The Blaze reported that Connecticut gun owners have begun registering their guns in order to comply with new gun laws that will go into effect on January 1.

The article reports:

Charles Gillette, who was registering magazines, told the news station that he would have a problem with it if the state was trying to ban the magazines or firearms, but said “if they want to just know where they are, that’s fine with me.”

However, not one gun owner who was registering firearms or magazines said they think the new laws will reduce gun violence.

“If people are going to do things illegally, they’re not going to be here registering their gun,” Jared Krajewski, another resident registering firearms, said.

For now, in Connecticut, the law is the law. The new gun control measures were put into place following the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Common sense tells us that those who have nefarious future plans involving their guns will not be in line registering those guns. All this law does is put a new restriction on law-abiding gun owners–it will have no impact at all on those people who choose to ignore the law. Newtown was a horrible tragedy, but this law may be setting the stage for an even more horrible tragedy–potentially letting criminals know which households have the means to defend themselves if they are robbed.

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Private Property Rights Are Important In America

One of the foundations of the American republic is the concept of private property rights. Occasionally those rights have been under attack and the battle has been lost–for example the Supreme Court decision regarding Kelo and the State of Connecticut. (n June of 2005, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the City of New London, Connecticut, could, under the rule of eminent domain, seize the homes of several homeowners in order to use the land for a purpose that would generate more tax revenue for the City.)  Due to tough economic times (and basic karma), the plant that was built on that site closed and moved to Groton.

At any rate, property rights of Americans have been threatened on numerous occasions. The latest threat comes from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) following the plan already outlined in Agenda 21.

Today’s Washington Examiner is reporting on a new EPA rule:

...the “Water Body Connectivity Report” – that would remove the limiting word “navigable” from “navigable waters of the United States” and replace it with “connectivity of streams and wetlands to downstream waters” as the test for Clean Water Act regulatory authority.

…If approved, the new rule would give EPA unprecedented power over private property across the nation, gobbling up everything near seasonal streams, isolated wetlands, prairie potholes, and almost anything that occasionally gets wet.

Smith and Stewart (House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith of Texas and Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah, chairman of its environment subcommittee)accuse EPA of “pushing through a rule with vast economic and regulatory implications before the agency’s Science Advisory Board has had an opportunity to review the underlying science.”

If this sounds familiar, it is. This is the language used by the United Nation‘s Agenda 21 program:

As I reported in December 2011 (rightwinggranny.com):

One of the aspects of Agenda 21 is the location of vernal pools and the ‘corridors’ that connect them. Those pools and corridors are then used as excuses to severely limit the use of property. Property owners can be asked to make alterations to their property that are extremely expensive and that might cause them to abandon the property. Property owners can also be severely limited as to what they can do on their own property.

A land grab is a land grab. It doesn’t matter whether it comes from the UN or from our own government–it is still a land grab. Pay attention–this could be coming to your town soon.

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What Did Your Child Learn In School Today?

Today’s Daily Caller posted an article about a quiz given to a ninth-grade Health Class in New Canaan, Connecticut. The quiz is entitled, “How WELLthy Are You?”

Some of the statements in the quiz:

“I vote for pro-environmental candidates in elections” is one of the statements.

“I write my elected leaders about environmental concerns” is another one.

Still other statements in the section include “I report people who intentionally hurt the environment” and “I try not to leave the faucet running too long when I brush my teeth, shave, or bathe.”

For example, the “Spiritual Health” section contains this hopelessly confused religious statement: “I have faith in greater power, be it a God-like force, nature, or the connectedness of all living things.”

The article further reports:

A score of 35-40 points in each category allegedly indicates that New Canaan ninth-graders are “practicing good health habits” and “setting an example” for “family and friends to follow.” It is mathematically impossible for ninth-graders to achieve this score in the “Environmental Health” section if they “rarely, if ever” vote for “pro-environmental candidates” or write to “elected leaders about environmental concerns.”

I have no problem with encouraging high school freshmen to protect the environment and to be politically aware. I do, however, have a problem with telling them what their criteria should be when they vote. The article points out that the students are told that they do not have to answer all of the questions. I would like to suggest that they not be asked to answer any of the questions, and we go back to spending health class encouraging good individual health habits. This quiz sounds more like brainwashing than a quiz.
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Insurance Companies Are Businesses–They Have The Right To Make Money

One of the things that seems to be missing in the comments by the few politicians who actually support ObamaCare is the understanding that insurance companies are businesses–their goal is to make a profit. If the rules of the game are such that the insurance companies cannot make a profit, they can easily choose not to participate in the marketplace involved. We are now seeing that dynamic in ObamaCare.

CNS News reported yesterday that Blue Cross, Aetna, United, and Humana, the major health insurance companies, will not be participating in the health-insurance exchanges in various states.

Aetna, an insurance company founded in Connecticut, has pulled out of the exchanges in Connecticut, Georgia and Maryland, saying that the limitations that would be imposed on them by those states would not allow them to make a profit. The company never planned to participate in the California exchanges, and will not be doing so. They are, after all, a private company in business to make a profit.

Senator Max Baucus recently stated about ObamaCare, “I just tell ya, I just see a huge train wreck coming down.” He is one of the Senators who supported ObamaCare when it was passed. I think he is right.

 

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Depending Where You Live, Renewing Your Drivers License May Be More Complicated Than It Has Been In The Past

A friend posted the following on Facebook:

I went with Howard to DMV this morning when he renewed his drivers license for the first time since the new government program went into effect. Since we had the required documents with us – certified birth certificate, passport, proof of social security, tax bill, and utility bill it was less of a hassle than I expected it to be. However, there were a few people ahead of us that were told that they didn’t have all the documents needed for a verified drivers license.

I was puzzled by this post and did some investigating. It seems that Connecticut has a new program for renewing driver’s licenses.

The Examiner posted an article on this change in March 2012, and the Connecticut Mirror posted and article about it in September 2011.

The Connecticut Mirror states:

Connecticut launched a campaign today to publicize how to obtain a driver’s license that meets the stricter verification standards of a federal “Real ID” law passed in 2005, but never implemented in face of objections from two dozen states.

Beginning Oct. 3, drivers in Connecticut will have two choices when renewing their licenses: accept a license stamped “not for federal identification,” or provide proof of residence and immigration status for an ID with a gold star.

The Examiner reports:

The Real ID Act, enacted in 2005 in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks, sets forth certain requirements for state driver’s licenses and identification cards in order for the cards to be accepted by the federal government for “official” purposes. The purposed federal program, expected to go into effect in 2017, would require verified state identification to enter government buildings, pass airport security even for domestic flights, and possibly other commercial transactions.

Connecticut rolled out its verified driver’s license and identification card program, called SelectCT ID, in October of last year. Connecticut will phase in the new verified driver’s licenses over the next six years as driver’s licenses are renewed. At least for the first renewal, Connecticut residents are given the choice of obtaining a verified driver’s license or a regular driver’s license. If a regular driver’s license is chosen, it will not be acceptable for official federal government purposes. As early as 2017, people without verified state identification may need to show a US passport for domestic air travel.

So let me get this straight. You don’t have to show an ID card to vote, but you have to bring all sorts of additional documentation to get a drivers license that will allow you to board an airplane as a passenger.

This is a total “Beam me up, Scotty” moment.

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Something Is Very Wrong Here

NBC Connecticut is reporting today that three recipients of the Medal of Honor will present the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s highest civilian award, the Citizen Honors Medal posthumously to the six educators that were killed trying to protect their students in Newtown. Connecticut on December 14th. I think that is wonderful–they are being awarded this medal because they were killed trying to protect their students.

However, there is another group of shooting victims that is being denied the honor they have earned. The Department of Defense is refusing to award the Purple Heart to those soldiers killed on the attack at Fort Hood, Texas.

On April 2, Military.com reported:

A position paper, delivered by the Pentagon to congressional staff members Friday, says giving the award, for injuries sustained in combat, to those injured at Fort Hood could “irrevocably alter the fundamental character of this time-honored decoration.”

If you are attacked at your base and people are killed, isn’t that combat? Admittedly it is unplanned combat, but isn’t a lot of combat unplanned?

The article at Military.com further reports:

Thirteen people were killed and 32 injured in the November 2009 shootings on the base. Maj. Nidal Hasan, the alleged shooter, awaits a military trial on premeditated murder and attempted murder charges.

Fort Hood was a terrorist act–it was not ‘workplace violence.’ Maj. Hasan yelled “Allahu Akbar” as he fired. We are at war–this was an attack by the enemy. We need to acknowledge that and make sure that all the victims of that attack receive the honor and benefits they are entitled to. Meanwhile, we do not hesitate to honor civilians in equally awful situations. Both groups should receive medals in a timely fashion.

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Altering The News To Fit A Political Agenda

The Independent Journal Review posted an article on Tuesday detailing some of the erroneous reporting on the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. At issue is the type of guns used–the shooting is used as a justification for banning what are called assault weapons, but it has recently come to light that assault weapons were not used in the killing. So why is the President in such a hurry to ban them?

Pete Williams, who is NBC’s chief Justice correspondent, reported that only four handguns were found inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The article further reports:

The correspondent makes it clear over and over again that he confirmed this information with federal and state officials. Now, a lot of media reports contradict this one, but somebody’s lying. The report that an ‘AR-15-style’ assault rifle was in the trunk of murderer Adam Lanza’s car is up for dispute as well. If one examines footage from police breaking into Lanza’s car, one sees police clearing a round from a “long gun of some type” that does not appear to be ‘AR-15 style’ or ‘assault-style.’

…In a nation of 311 million people, the odds of being killed by a rifle is about one homicide per million people, which is far less than the odds of being murdered by a blunt object. But we don’t hear the media arguing about regulating hammers and clubs. Again, when 99.7% of registered gun owners are law-abiding, gun control is not about guns, it’s about control.

Before we limit our Constitutional rights to solve a problem that isn’t there, we all need to step back and take a deep breath. If an assault rifle was not used in the crime that has caused us to rush to legislate stronger restrictions on gun ownership, what is the reason for the rush to legislate?Enhanced by Zemanta

Some Of Many Reasons The Damage From Hurricane Sandy Has Not Been Repaired

On Monday the Wall Street Journal posted an article telling the story of one homeowner‘s struggle to rebuild her damaged home in Connecticut.

The article relates the homeowner’s story:

Our first exposure to the town zoning authorities came a couple of weeks after Sandy. We’d met with insurance adjusters, contractors and “remediation experts.” We’d had about a foot of Long Island Sound sloshing around the ground floor of our house in Connecticut, and everyone had the same advice: Rip up the floors and subfloors, and tear out anything—wiring, plumbing, insulation, drywall, kitchen cabinets, bookcases—touched by salt water. All of it had to go, and pronto, too, lest mold set in.

Yet it wasn’t until the workmen we hired had ripped apart most of the first floor that the phrase “building permit” first wafted past us. Turns out we needed one. “What, to repair our own house we need a building permit?”

Of course.

Before you could get a building permit, however, you had to be approved by the Zoning Authority. And Zoning—citing FEMA regulations—would force you to bring the house “up to code,” which in many cases meant elevating the house by several feet. Now, elevating your house is very expensive and time consuming—not because of the actual raising, which takes just a day or two, but because of the required permits.

The article further explains that there is also a zoning limit on how high your house can be–so if you meet the requirement to raise it, you have to make sure you don’t raise it too much.. The homeowner goes on to detail the maze of government gobbledygook encountered in trying to repair and re-occupy his home.

The article concludes:

We’ve spent a few thousand dollars on a lawyer to appeal to Zoning, many thousands in rent, and hundreds getting a fresh appraisal of our house. The latest from our lawyer: Because of our new appraisal, we may be able to “apply for a zoning permit.” “Apply,” mind you.

I used to think that our house was, you know, our house. The bureaucrats have taught me otherwise. But then I also used to think that Franz Kafka wrote a species of dark fantasy. I know now that he was turning out nonfiction.

Our problem is not the lack of money to repair the damage from Hurricane Sandy–it is the government bureaucracy that is hindering the homeowners from getting back into their own homes.

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Chutzpah On Parade

There is currently a debate in Congress on how to prevent mass murders. When you consider that mass murders are as old as civilization and have involved everything from knives to guns, that is quite a quest. The focus seems to be on gun control–regardless of the fact that the Second Amendment does not allow for the infringement of the right to bear arms. Anyway, Senator Chuck Schumer has added a new level of chutzpah to the debate.

Gateway Pundit reported yesterday:

Schumer on Sunday released a letter he sent to major retailers asking for a voluntary moratorium.

The New York Democrat says consumer demand for guns has gone up in the weeks since the December mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Schumer says Congress is debating the issue, and if measures get passed that limit these type of weapons, it won’t help if more of them have recently been sold.

Has it occurred to the Senator that the reason people are stocking up on these weapons is that they fear the weapons will be unavailable in the future?

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Haven’t These People Read The Constitution ?

CNS News is reporting today that Vice-President Joe Biden has stated that “there are executive orders, executive action that can be taken” on gun control.

The article reports:

Biden was appointed by President Barack Obama to head a task force to explore the issue of preventing gun tragedies, following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

It is time for Congress or the Supreme Court to remind the President and Vice-President that at least theoretically, they are bound by the U. S. Constitution.

This is what the Constitution says:

                              AMENDMENT [II.]
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of
a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,
shall not be infringed.

Our free state is protected by citizens who have guns. None of the recent high-profile murder cases involved people who should have had access to guns. The problem is not the guns–it is keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. Executive orders do not trump the Constitution!

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Where Are We A Week After The Newtown Killings ?

It’s been a week since the horrible tragedy in Connecticut. There are screams for gun control, assault weapons bans, police at the schools, and all sorts of things. But an article in yesterday’s Washington Post sheds some light and common sense on the subject.

Charles Krauthammer was a psychiatrist in Massachusetts during the 1970’s. He has an interesting perspective on what happened last week.

Mr. Krauthammer states that there are three parts to every mass shooting–the killer, the weapon, and the cultural climate.

The article points out:

Random mass killings were three times more common in the 2000s than in the 1980s, when gun laws were actually weaker. Yet a 2011 University of California at Berkeley study found that states with strong civil commitment laws have about a one-third lower homicide rate.

Regarding the weapon, Mr. Krauthammer states:

I have no problem in principle with gun control. Congress enacted (and I supported) an assault weapons ban in 1994. The problem was: It didn’t work. (So concluded a University of Pennsylvania study commissioned by the Justice Department.) The reason is simple. Unless you are prepared to confiscate all existing firearms, disarm the citizenry and repeal the Second Amendment, it’s almost impossible to craft a law that will be effective.

The article points out that over the past 30 years, the homicide rate in the United States has dropped 50 percent.

The article reminds us that gun violence is on the decline:

Except for these unfathomable mass murders. But these are infinitely more difficult to prevent. While law deters the rational, it has far less effect on the psychotic. The best we can do is to try to detain them, disarm them and discourage “entertainment” that can intensify already murderous impulses.

But there’s a cost. Gun control impinges upon the Second Amendment; involuntary commitment impinges upon the liberty clause of the Fifth Amendment; curbing “entertainment” violence impinges upon First Amendment free speech.

I tend to think that the fact that the murder rates are lower in states with strong civil commitment laws is significant. An article posted at The Blue Review on December 15th provides insight into what it is like to get appropriate treatment and possible restraint for a troubled child.

It’s time to look at all the elements of the tragedy at Newtown–not just the ones that are politically expedient.

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Don’t Let The Facts Of A Tragedy Get In The Way Of Making A Political Point

What in the world happened to fact checking in the media reporting of the tragedy in Connecticut? It seems as if almost everything reported as the tragedy unfolded on Friday was wrong. It would be very nice if the media would check the facts before reporting them. Silence would be better than misinformation. Some of the erroneous reporting has been that the shooter‘s mother was a teacher at the school–that has been proven false, that the shooter entered the school by being buzzed in because he was known–it is now known that he entered by breaking a window, and I am sure there is other misinformation that I am unaware of.

The most egregious misreporting has been related to the weapons used in the shooting. Breitbart.com reported today that the shooter did not use automatic weapons–one of the weapons used was an assault rifle, but it was not an automatic weapon.

The article reports:

Although only semi-automatic, it is important to note that Lanza broke Connecticut laws by possessing the handguns, because you have to have a permit to own and carry a handgun in Connecticut. The paperwork on both handguns was in his mother’s name, which means the guns weren’t even his to possess and he had no permit carry (he was not legally eligible for a permit to carry because he was only 20 — you have to be 21 to get that permit).

Regarding the AR-15 it is what politicians commonly call an “assault rifle” (although the “AR” does not stand for that). It has a completely different set of Connecticut laws by which its owner must abide, many of which Lanza broke just by taking the gun into his possession, transporting it to a school, and transporting it in a way other than is legally stipulated for the transport of an assault rifle in Connecticut.

It was not legal for the shooter to have these weapons. I question the wisdom of his mother in having these weapons when she knew that her son had mental issues, but they were legally her weapons. Her son had no right to them, and she should have taken extra precautions to limit his access to these weapons. There are many combination lock weapons storage safes available. The problem was not the guns–it was the fact that a mentally unstable person was able to get his hands on them.

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