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Monday, July 30, 2012

38 Billion For Fireworks

“The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” — Thomas Jefferson’s letter to John Taylor — 1816

On Friday night I watched part of the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games from London. I did not watch the entire TV coverage as I just could not tolerate the constant interruptions from commercials and the steady stream of chatter from Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira.

Two events did, however, catch my attention. One was the portrayal of British history and the other was the lighting of the Olympic Torch. Let me begin with the torch lighting first.

While a spectacular event with the burning copper leaves being elevated above the athletes I could not but wonder what the costs for these games are to the British people and what return will they get.

One thing that everyone can agree on is that hosting the Olympics costs a lot and it's getting more expensive all the time. However, there was little research into the wider economic impact of the Olympics until Montreal emerged from the 1976 games with a gaping deficit of $1.2 billion, an amount local residents are still paying off through a supplementary tax on tobacco. Those games were funded almost entirely through public city funds, and the large amounts of money spent on infrastructure improvements and facilities construction were focused on a relatively small part of the city. Montreal 1976 is widely held up as the example not to follow, and it caused many cities to think twice about bidding for future games.

The first Olympics to turn a profit were the summer games held in Los Angeles in 1984. Since local citizens voted against public financing, those games also became the first to be almost entirely privately funded. Los Angeles marked the beginnings of commercialization of the games and the development of Olympic sponsorship deals.

In 1984, organizational and economic strategies were introduced, under the leadership of Peter Ueberroth, which meant the city could hold magnificent games that wouldn't bankrupt the city 1984 showed that it was actually worthwhile to hold an Olympics. The Los Angeles Olympic Games resulted in a surplus of nearly $250 million. This was subsequently used to support youth and sports activities throughout the United States. Coincidentally, he was born on the day on which the founder of the modern Olympic Games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, died.

Since then, the summer Olympics have made money or at least broken even, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Seoul in 1988 was left with a positive balance of $556 million, Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000 each broke even.

The 1992 games in Barcelona only came out around $3 million ahead, but are held up as a good example of secondary benefits that a financially viable Olympics can bring to a city or region. The Spanish city got a massive makeover for the games: its transportation and telecommunications systems were upgraded; it got new housing and retail centers that are still flourishing 12 years later.

Germany's 1972 Munich games were similar. Although it emerged with a deficit, after the games Munich had a new subway system and much of the city had been renovated and rebuilt after suffering devastation from the bombings in WWII. The games also brought an image of respectability to the Bavarian city that was once the providence of the Nazi Party. The games also exposed the need for increased security. If done the right way, the games can bring a city many long-term benefits, as they did in Munich.

Analysts break up Olympics economics for a city into three phases: pre-game, game and post-game. During the first phase, the city can benefit from tourism and a boost in construction activity. During the games, there are Olympic jobs to be had, revenues from tickets, sponsor shops, etc., not to mention the masses of tourists that descend on hotels, restaurants and other local businesses.

It's when it's all over that the problems come. The challenge is to use all that infrastructure effectively and learn how to deal with the massive, sudden drop-off. Massive Olympic sports arenas often remain un- or underused. Olympic villages fall into disrepair and become headaches for the city. Most cities simply do not need all the facilities.

Even Sydney — which many Australians tout as an economic success story — has had day-after problems. Its huge Olympic Park stands mostly silent and empty, too big to be sustained by regular sporting events alone. It will require an investment of at least $20 million dollars to turn it into the "living precinct" its designers envision.

Analysts say the evidence is just not clear on whether hosting the Olympics will bring a city an important or lasting economic boost. Thanks to new funding strategies and revenue sources, the dark high-deficit days of Montreal will most likely remain in the past. But whether the boost gained by temporary job creation and intense publicity is long-lasting is more difficult to ascertain, say experts.

The final bill for the 2012 Olympics could be ten times higher than the original estimate, according to an investigation. The predicted cost of the games when London won the bid in 2005 was £2.37 billion ($3.7209 billion). That figure has now spiraled to more than £12 billion ($18.84 billion) and could reach as much as £24 billion ($37.7 billion), the Sky Sports investigation claims. The Olympics public sector funding package, which covers the building of the venues, security and policing, was upped to around £9.3 billion ($14.6 billion) in 2007.

The London Mail reported on January 27, 2012 that cost of Olympics to spiral to £24bn... TEN TIMES higher than 2005 estimate (and is it any wonder when we're forking out £335,000 for a single sculpture):

“But the three-month investigation, which used figures from freedom of information requests and public documents, revealed extra spends that could drive up the cost to taxpayers by an extra £2.4bn.

These include anti-doping control officers, legacy schemes, tube drivers being paid extra to work and local Olympic torch relay programmes.

The news comes as it was today revealed that £335,000 of taxpayers' money has been spent on a single sculpture for the games.

'Jurassic Stones' by Richard Harris, described as a 'row of stones on sticks' by locals, has been slammed as a waste of money after it went on display in Weymouth, Dorset.

Several locals to the town, which is hosting the sailing events for the games, took to internet forums to criticise the artwork.

One said: 'Government debt has just gone through the one trillion pounds barrier.

'Obviously deeper cuts still have to be made. May I suggest that they start with the Arts Budget.

….

The investigators say the final figure could exceed its £24bn estimate as many requests for information have been ignored.

Requests for information did reveal that Newham Council, which is staging most of the Games, are providing £40m of taxpayers' money towards the Olympic Stadium and £700,000 on Olympic projects.

However the council's legal bill over the row between West Ham and Spurs FC over the stadium has cost almost £1m.

It has also forked out £29,400 on tickets. In December Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office warned about the real risk of the Games going over budget. ‘Not everything is rosy,' he said.

'The Government is confident that there is money available to meet known risks, but in my view, the likelihood that the Games can still be funded within the existing £9.3billion public sector funding package is so finely balanced that there is a real risk more money will be needed.’

However a spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesman today hit back at the Sky investigation saying: 'The Public Sector Funding Package for the Games is £9.3bn and includes all additional security, defence and public transport provision for the Games.”

In a sidebar the Mail reports of the rising costs of security stating:

“In December the head of the National Audit Office warned of the risk of the government exceeding its Olympics budget of £9.3billion.

This figure includes the build of the venues and the £600million police and security budget. The government has just allocated an extra £41million (with a £7million contingency) from this budget to Locog to pay for the Opening Ceremony, which is set to cost £81million total.

Locog has also been allocated £271m to pay for venue security. The figure also includes £2.8m for Games Time Testing, £35m to convert the stadium after the event and £35m for tourism campaigns.

However Sky Sports investigators drew figures from freedom of information requests and public documents to reveal the cost to the public purse could be as much as £24bn. Highlights of the investigation include the £766m cost of the land used for the venues. Legacy programmes are also set to hit £826m, while the Olympic Park Legacy Company is set to cost £300m.

Then there's the tube drivers who receive extra pay during the games. 13,000 of them will each get £500 each bringing that bill to £6.5m. And what about the quangos? UK Sport received a £29m injection from Andy Burnham in 2008 because of the Olympic Games. Sport England has used some of a £22million handout to measure Legacy work.

Transport for London spent £2.5million taking 30,000 staff on a tour of the Olympic Park, according to the Sky investigation. While so-called 'London Ambassadors' - who will meet and greet tourists, will cost: £3.5million.

It was also revealed that councils across Britain have spent nearly £11.4m on torch relay and other Olympic themed events. But not all local authorities responded to requests for information so this figure could be higher. Local councils have spent £407,102 on tickets.”

Mediaite reports that CNN host Piers Morgan appeared on CNN with Brooke Baldwin last Thursday where he talked about his interview with Mitt and Ann Romney. Prior to playing clips of the interview, Morgan was asked about Romney’s comments to NBC where he wondered if London was up to the security challenges that the Olympics will pose. The comments drew sharp criticism from some members of the British press corps. But Morgan shocked when he defended Romney’s comments saying that the presumptive Republican nominee was “absolutely right” to question whether the U.K. was ready for the Olympics:

“It’s no secret over here that for the last three weeks the security around the Olympics has been a shambles,” said Morgan. “The outside firm they got in to run it has been all over the place – they didn’t have enough people and the army had to be drafted in. So, Mitt Romney was only saying exactly what has been happening.”

“He’s run an Olympics, so I thought he was perfectly entitled to be critical,” Morgan continued. He said that the English press jumped on him because they wanted Romney to “talk us up a bit,” but the substance of Romney’s critique was on point.

“I thought it was a bit of a fuss about nothing,” said Morgan. “He was just speaking the truth which can sometimes be rather unpalatable.”

The BBC reported arrests in critical mass bike ride near Olympic Park during the opening ceremonies:

More than 130 cyclists were arrested by police close to the Olympic Stadium on the opening night of the Games.

There were scuffles between police and cyclists on the outskirts of the Olympic Park at 22:30 BST on Friday.

People taking part in a monthly mass bike ride held in London said they were "kettled" near the stadium.

The police said cyclists ignored warnings and rode on Games Lanes ahead of the opening ceremony, but they did not respond to the kettling claim.

The Critical Mass ride is a pro-cycling event which takes place in London every month.

The Metropolitan Police said people were arrested under section 12 of the Public Order Act and for causing a public nuisance.

The force said two groups had been detained - the first on Bow Flyover and the other in Warton Road, Stratford.

The Met said up to 500 cyclists had gathered near Waterloo by 18:00 BST, five times the usual number that attended.

Police believed the demonstration "had the potential to cause serious disruption" and said officers used loud hailers and leaflets to explain the restrictions.”

The other thing that threw me was director Danny Boyles, tribute the Britain’s National Health Service during the opening pageant on British history.

Olympics opening ceremony London rehearsal

Regardless of futile attempts at liberal do-goodery, the goal on the left is always the same: constantly demanding undeserved praise for well-intentioned but failed acts of benevolent socialism. That sort of predictable imagery-before-reality mentality was on display during the London 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremonies, where tribute was paid to the Brits' failing socialized National Health Service, affectionately known as the NHS.

Jeannie DeAngelis opines in American Thinker:

The producer of the extravaganza, London resident and Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, decided to integrate a choreographed tribute to the NHS into the showy opening festivities because, according to Boyle, "universal health care is one of the core values of British society" and an "amazing thing to celebrate."

Sounding as if he was reading off Barack Obama's teleprompter circa 2015, Danny Boyle also said, "One of the reasons we put the NHS in the show is that everyone is aware of how important the NHS is to everybody in this country. We believe, as a nation, in universal health care. It doesn't matter how poor you are, how rich you are; you will get treated."

Besides Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting, Boyle directed the movie Shallow Grave — a title more befitting the musical tribute to a health care system renowned for human suffering and premature death. Bleeding-heart Boyle said this about the NHS: "It is something that is very dear to people's hearts."

The NHS may be "dear to people's hearts," all right, but probably not to the hearts of those who've experienced the horror of a loved one dying after being forced by bureaucrats to wait months for life-saving tests and treatment.

The whole eerie performance with nurses from Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital (GOSH) dressed in 1950s uniforms pushing around sick children bouncing around on oversized hospital beds was almost as sickening to watch as Barack Obama emerging from the Styrofoam Greek columns at INVESCO Field.

Let's face it: in general, liberals are so proud of their accomplishments that to market their fantasy, they'd gladly don intricate costumes and push stage props around London's Olympic Park. The Brits did it at the Olympic opening ceremonies, and Barack Obama, harbinger of a similarly well-intentioned health care system that is similarly likely to fail, does it symbolically every time he promises the same type of medical quality and access that the NHS has proven for over 60 years is impossible to physically or financially maintain.

In an October 13, 2011 Mail Online article entitled "People are dying from lack of care. The NHS must be held to account," "realist" Julia Manning, chief executive of 2020Health, wrote, "Of course we have much to be proud of in the NHS, but complacency and sentimentality have no place in an NHS in which people are dying for lack of care." Julia, how about dancing Florence Nightingales? Do they have a place?

The truth is that while the NHS was sentimentally praising itself in front of the world, what the organization failed to mention was the minor detail that GOSH was the place where a 13-year-old boy named Arvind Jain died of malnutrition after waiting eight months for a complacent health care system to schedule a routine 30-minute procedure to insert a feeding tube into his stomach. After the boy's death, the NHS Health Service parliamentary ombudsman deemed that Arvind was "left to die in agony after 'chaotic and substandard' care."

…..

NHS detractors agree that although socialist-style health care may have laudable objectives, those objectives do not compensate for the appalling results. In 2009, it was reported that approximately 300 patients died each year of malnutrition in British hospital wards. The truth is that if the NHS wanted to commemorate an achievement, it should have been touting being the best at providing some of the worst health care on the planet.

Whether those merry dancing nurses realized it or not, they were representing a bankrupt system that relegates the very ill to waiting lists and denies drugs that are already paid for with the tax money of poor British citizens. What the nurses promoted was a system that has been known to refuse patients basic human needs like food and water, forces the sick to wait until it's too late for life-saving treatment, and effectively euthanizes 130,000 elderly people a year. Nonetheless, based on what the world witnessed at the Olympics opening ceremonies, the NHS accomplishes all those atrocities with a rollicking sense of national pride.

Like communism, socialism, Marxism, and the newest edition to the lineup, Obamanism, the British health care system obviously perceives itself as well-intentioned, which liberals worldwide obviously translate into ample justification for playing God with other people's lives.”

It just boggled my mind to see such a blatant display of left-wing politics displayed at the opening ceremonies of a so-called non-political event like the Olympics.

And then finally we have Jeannie DeAngelis blogging in American Thinker about the antics of our First Lady in Chief of Eating:

“When Michelle Obama jetted off to Britain to instruct the US Olympic Team on what they need to do to come home with the gold, it became apparent that America's first lady had found a way to party hearty, regardless of the pledge to forgo her annual Martha's Vineyard vacation.

Call me cynical, but just because Michelle Obama has well-cut biceps from doing 15-lb curls in the White House gym, trounced Ellen DeGeneres in a push-up contest, and kicked Jimmy Fallon's butt in a potato-sack race, that doesn't exactly qualify her to dole out pointers to seasoned Olympic athletes. But, then again, this is a woman who appointed herself Healthy Eating Czar while pretty much eating anything she damned well pleases.

For example, just prior to the Olympic opening ceremony at a reception held at Buckingham Palace, as "the Queen [of England] gave a welcoming speech" in front of 200 guests and dignitaries from all over the world, healthy eater Michelle enthusiastically wolfed down "Quail's egg canap├ęs."

Meanwhile, back home Barack was concocting class warfare strategies while across the pond, resplendent in a $6,800 embroidered top and white pleated skirt from the J. Mendel 2013 collection, the first lady mingled with of 95 heads of state, including her "flexible" husband Barack's best Russian friend, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.”

So with the issue of security and final costs the people of the U.K. will have much to think about during the next two weeks. I wonder if their failing economy will be able to bear the final costs of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Chicken War Goes On

“The dons, the bashaws, the grandees, the patricians, the sachems, the nabobs, call them by what names you please, sigh and groan and fret, and sometimes stamp and foam and curse, but all in vain. The decree is gone forth, and it cannot be recalled, that a more equal liberty than has prevailed in other parts of the earth must be established in America” — John Adams letter to Patrick Henry — 1776.

Liberty is the cornerstone of Constitution and its Bill of Rights – but liberty for whom. It appears as though the liberty insured by the First Amendment to the Constitution only applies to the Left. If Bill Maher calls Sarah Plain a “C” word or Ed Schultz of MSNBC calls conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham a “slut” their protectors on the left cry for freedom of speech. On he other hand if someone with a conservative or Christian point of view expresses their opinions about Obama, abortion, federal funding for contraception, or same sex marriage they are chastised by the left and MSM. Freedom speech does not apply to them.

One of the more blatant displays of left-wing thuggery is playing itself out in Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Chicago. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino threatened to keep fast food franchise Chick-fil-A from opening any restaurants in that city because he doesn't want any business operating there "that discriminates against a population." In Chicago, Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno announced that he will pursue the same course in his district for the same reason. "If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don't want you in the 1st Ward," Moreno told the Chicago Tribune. Such "tolerance" is based on an effort to deliberately mischaracterize as anti-homosexual what Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy said about traditional marriage. That mischaracterization has been aided and abetted by a media more than willing to amplify the distortion.

The latest big city to pile on Dan Cathy is The Philadelphia City Council Jim Kenney. Todd Starnes of Fox News Radio reported:

“The Philadelphia City Council will consider a resolution condemning Chick-fil-A for what one city leader called “anti-American” attitudes that promote “hatred, bigotry and discrimination.”

City Councilman Jim Kenney sent a letter to Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy telling him to “take a hike and take your intolerance with you.

My effort is to allow people to understand that in certain segments of corporate America there are folks who are using their dollars to promote hatred, bigotry and discrimination,” Kenney told Fox News.

He is introducing a resolution to “condemn this anti-American attitude of trying to deny civil liberties that every American enjoys.”

Kenney joined the mayors of Boston, Chicago and now San Francisco in blasting the Atlanta-based company for supporting a biblical definition of marriage – a union between one man and one woman.

Cathy told Baptist Press that he is “guilty as charged” when it comes to supporting traditional marriage.”

The true story — as opposed to what is currently being presented — involved anImageServerDB interview of Cathy by Biblical Recorder editor K. Allan Blume. Blume asked Cathy about his support for traditional marriage. "Guilty as charged," Cathy answered. Further on into the interview, he explained what he meant. "We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that," he said. Blume also revealed that Cathy does not impose his beliefs on others. "We're a business that serves the public, all people are welcomed into Chick-fil-A, and frankly we do not feel called to weigh in on a lot of social activism that's taking place as it relates to the definition of the family, but we do definitely want to encourage strong families."

"Homophobic" references regarding gay marriage? None. That "inconvenient" fact was corroborated by Blume. "He was not saying 'guilty as charged anti-gay,” noted Blume, who further revealed that Cathy "never even brought up that subject. Everything he stated was on the positive side. He never stated anything negative." The Biblical Recorder published the interview on July 7th. It was re-posted on July 16th by the Baptist Press, and subsequently picked up by the Huffington Post, the Associated Press, USAToday, the Los Angeles Times, and other news agencies.

The level of willful distortion media and public figures have engaged in, portraying Cathy's statement of a popular and religiously based position as a hateful rant, is chilling. Like the Huffington Post, which published the piece, "The Onion' Introduces Chick-Fil-A's 'New Homophobic Sandwich (note the foul language used by the left)," Chik-fil-A critics have vigorously made the case that Cathy's support of traditional marriage is little more than homophobic hatemongering. They further assumed that if Cathy is homophobic, that prejudice must be reflected in his company's policies regarding hiring and customer service. They did this despite Cathy's assertion that his company "does not feel compelled to weigh in on a lot of social activism that's taking place as it relates to the definition of the family." I was not aware of any special mind-reading capabilities granted to the left.

Hack politicians were more than comfortable to ride atop that wave of distortion. "Chick-fil-A doesn't belong in Boston," said Menino, who delivered a warning to the franchise. "If they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult — unless they open up their policies." Menino added an Orwellian outburst to his diatribe as well. "We're an open city. We're a city that's at the forefront of inclusion. That's the Freedom Trail. That's where it all started right here. And we're not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail." Thus, the "forefront of inclusion" is off-limits to those who don't align themselves with the reigning government's position.

Chicago alderman Moreno echoed Menino's faux self-righteousness, as well as his jackboot aspirations. In an op-ed piece presented to the Tribune by one of his aides, Moreno referred to Cathy's statements as "bigoted, homophobic comments." Then came the hammer. "Because of this man's ignorance, I will now be denying Chick-fil-A's permit to open a restaurant in the 1st Ward."

Leftist Mayor Rahm Emanuel supported Moreno's distortions and ambitions. "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values," the mayor said in a statement. Emanuel's most recent discussion of Chicago values prior to this one was to tell the city's street thugs, who have driven Chicago's murder rate up 30 percent over last year, to "Take your stuff away to the alley." Since Mr. Emanuel is apparently resigned to a certain level of mayhem in his city, he has hectored those perpetrating it to move to another location away from children, but seemingly within the city limits — the same city limits that he and his alderman would prevent a Christian-run business from occupying.

Thus the bankruptcy of progressive, left-wing values, literally enforced by the heavy hand of government, is illuminated. One is left to wonder how many other would-be business owners in Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Chicago will be forced to reveal — and perhaps "revise" — their political ideology in order to set up shop in those cities. One might also wonder how many existing businesses will be checked to see if they also have the "proper" ideological credentials to remain in operation. With respect to Chick-fil-A, Moreno noted that's exactly what is expected. After contemptuously dismissing First Amendment concerns with, "zoning is not a right," he explained how the company could get back in his good graces. "They'd have to do a complete 180," the alderman said. "They'd have to work with LGBT groups in terms of hiring, and there would have to be a public apology from Cathy."

Such arrogance is remarkable, especially when one considers the virtual certainty that these same people and their fellow travelers would be screaming "fascism!" if some conservative-minded community sought to ban gay-friendly companies such a Starbucks, Ben and Jerry’s or Oreo Cookies from operating within their confines — based on nothing more than comments made by company executives. Thus, another aspect of progressive bankruptcy is revealed: the complete lack of intellectual consistency, and the massive amount of hypocrisy such inconsistency produces.

Americans should be outraged by this overt intolerance masquerading itself as open-mindedness, the attempt to use government power as an ideological billy club, and the media's calculating effort to take what Cathy said and twist it into something completely different. Yet for progressives and their media enablers, this is the price one is expected to pay for refusing to kowtow to the parameters of political correctness.

On the other hand, it is very likely both Chicago and Boston are violating Mr. Cathy's First Amendment rights. Three Supreme Court cases, Consolidated Edison Co. v. Public Service Commission, Rust v. Sullivan, and Board of County Commissioners v. Umbehr, make it clear that government may not deny a private business permits because of something said by its owner. Unless officials in either Boston or Chicago can produce evidence of discrimination by Chick-fil-A, preventing the company from operating within their respective cities is unconstitutional.

Michael Foust reports in the Baptist Press:

“David Cortman, an attorney with the legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), said a restaurant cannot be blocked from opening because of the restaurant's or the owner's beliefs.

"It absolutely is not constitutional," Cortman told Baptist Press. "And I think the irony here is that they are claiming this is an issue of freedom and civil rights, but they're actually the ones who would be violating the civil rights of Chick-fil-A not to allow them to open up their business simply because of their views."

But the issue concerns more than just Chick-fil-A, Cortman said, and impacts any business or organization in America whose owners hold views different from that of the government. Boston and Chicago would be practicing viewpoint discrimination — a violation of the Constitution's Free Speech clause, Cortman said.

"It does create both a dangerous and an illegal precedent," Cortman. "The government shouldn't be in the business of threatening or punishing people for their thoughts or ideas — whether they are individuals or businesses themselves. And, there's certainly a double standard. You did not hear a politician threatening to deny permits to companies like Home Depot or Starbucks or Target over those companies' aggressive promotion of the homosexual agenda."

Mat Staver, president of the legal group Liberty Counsel, said he, too, believes the attempts would be unconstitutional.

"No city can ban Chick-fil-A because the [company] president has his own view regarding marriage — a view that is held by much of the American public," Staver told Fox News. "To discriminate against Mr. Cathy because of his biblical view and then to extrapolate that to Chick-fil-A is illegal. It would be unconstitutional and certainly any city trying to do so would not win that battle."

Eugene Volokh, a law professor at UCLA, wrote on his blog, "Denying a private business permits because of such speech by its owner is a blatant First Amendment violation."

The Chicago alderman who initially spoke up against Chick-fil-A, Joe Moreno, told local media he might simply block a proposed new Chick-fil-A in his ward because of traffic concerns. Moreno, though, previously said he opposed a new Chick-fil-A because it was "intolerant" and because he disagreed with Cathy. On Thursday (July 26) Moreno told WBEZ radio he wants an explicit guarantee from the potential local owners of the restaurant that they won't donate to political causes. But that, too, apparently would be unconstitutional.

Cortman, the ADF attorney, said Moreno won't legally be able to use a legitimate reason -- traffic concerns -- as cover for his previous comments.

"His true motivations already have been made public, so I think any attempt to backtrack to create what normally would be a legitimate reason wouldn't work in this situation," Cortman said.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) — which supports gay marriage — also said the politicians' attempts would be unconstitutional.”

In essence these mayors and councilmen are saying you cannot sell your chicken in our city unless you subscribe to our values. Just imagine the outcry from the left if a conservative mayor said this to Ben and Jerry’s, a known left-wing advocate of abortion and other progressive causes, about their ice cream?

In other words, this controversy has been manufactured, plain and simple. It represents the epitome of the left-wing, progressive impulse to control individual thought, using the threat of government retaliation as persuasion. It has been egged on by a corrupt media that no longer bothers to get the story right, when the right story doesn't accrue to progressive interests.

Furthermore, the idea that opposition to gay marriage is tantamount to homophobia is nothing more than a progressive construct aimed at forcing people to accept the gay activist agenda in its totality. It is a ham-fisted attempt to label someone who might be open to homosexuals receiving the same government-mandated services and benefits that married people do, but uncomfortable with redefining "marriage" — a word commonly understood by every culture in the world for more than five thousand years — as a hopeless bigot. As far as the activists and their enablers are concerned, one is all in with the gay activist agenda, or unrepentant homophobe who can literally be run out of town. It is precisely this kind of thinking on which the attempt to deny Chick-fil-A the ability to operate in Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Chicago is based. In other words, for "progressives," tolerance and totalitarianism are two sides of the same coin.

Here are a few thoughts expressed by other writers on this subject.

Mark Steyn writes in National Review Online:

The city’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, agrees with the alderman: Chick-fil-A does not represent “Chicago values” — which is true if by “Chicago values” you mean machine politics, AIDS-conspiracy-peddling pastors, and industrial-scale black youth homicide rates. But, before he was mayor, Rahm Emanuel was President Obama’s chief of staff. Until the president’s recent “evolution,” the Obama administration held the same position on gay marriage as Chick-fil-A. Would Alderman Moreno have denied Barack Obama the right to open a chicken restaurant in the First Ward? Did Rahm Emanuel quit the Obama administration on principle? Don’t be ridiculous. Mayor Emanuel is a former ballet dancer, and when it’s politically necessary he can twirl on a dime.

Meanwhile, fellow mayor Tom Menino announced that Chick-fil-A would not be opening in his burg anytime soon. “If they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult,” said His Honor. If you’ve just wandered in in the middle of the column, this guy Menino isn’t the mayor of Soviet Novosibirsk or Kampong Cham under the Khmer Rouge, but of Boston, Massachusetts. Nevertheless, he shares the commissars’ view that in order to operate even a modest and politically inconsequential business it is necessary to demonstrate that one is in full ideological compliance with party orthodoxy. “There is no place for discrimination on Boston’s Freedom Trail,” Mayor Menino thundered in his letter to Mr. Cathy, “and no place for your company alongside it.” No, sir. On Boston’s Freedom Trail, you’re free to march in ideological lockstep with the city authorities — or else. Hard as it is to believe, there was a time when Massachusetts was a beacon of liberty: the shot heard round the world, and all that. Now it fires Bureau of Compliance permit-rejection letters round the world.

Mayor Menino subsequently backed down and claimed the severed rooster’s head left in Mr. Cathy’s bed was all just a misunderstanding. Yet, when it comes to fighting homophobia on Boston’s Freedom Trail, His Honor is highly selective. As the Boston Herald’s Michael Graham pointed out, Menino is happy to hand out municipal licenses to groups whose most prominent figures call for gays to be put to death. The mayor couldn’t have been more accommodating (including giving them $1.8 million of municipal land) of the new mosque of the Islamic Society of Boston, whose IRS returns listed as one of their seven trustees Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Like President Obama, Imam Qaradawi’s position on gays is in a state of “evolution”: He can’t decide whether to burn them or toss ’em off a cliff. “Some say we should throw them from a high place,” he told Al Jazeera. “Some say we should burn them, and so on. There is disagreement. . . . The important thing is to treat this act as a crime.” Unlike the deplorable Mr. Cathy, Imam Qaradawi is admirably open-minded: There are so many ways to kill homosexuals, why restrict yourself to just one? In Mayor Menino’s Boston, if you take the same view of marriage as President Obama did from 2009 to 2012, he’ll run your homophobic ass out of town. But, if you want to toss those godless sodomites off the John Hancock Tower, he’ll officiate at your ribbon-cutting ceremony.”

From Hot Air’s Allahpundit:

“I love the idea of this cretinous princeling dangling building privileges in return for promises not to do anything politically that might upset him. It’s vintage Chicago sleaze, except that instead of handing him a fat envelope with money in it, you promise instead not to hand that envelope to a group he doesn’t like. By all means, the owners should agree to his terms — and then drop a nice big check on the NOM on the day the new site opens for business. I want to see him try to enforce their written guarantee not to offend him via donations to disfavored orgs in court.

Here’s his op-ed in yesterday’s Tribune. The best part? His imperiousness paired with his self-congratulation at being such a freedom-minded, forward-thinkin’ guy:

There are consequences for one’s actions, statements and beliefs. Because of this man’s ignorance, I will deny Chick-fil-A a permit to open a restaurant in my ward…

Obviously, Cathy has the right to believe, say and give money to whatever cause he wants. But my belief in equality is resolute, and if I were to take the easy way out and turn a blind eye to his remarks, I would be turning my back on the principles I stand for…

I represent a diverse, forward-thinking community, and I’m sure the majority of 1st Warders find Cathy’s comments and attitude repugnant. Even if I did give Chick-fil-A the go-ahead, I suspect many in my community wouldn’t spend their dollars there.”

Again from Hot Air’s Allahpundit:

It grieves me to say it but I think we might owe Mike Bloomberg for this. When even America’s most meddlesome micro-managing mayor endorses the libertarian approach on this subject, the Overton window of acceptable state interference is closed. Best for Rahm to have a spokesman issue a quiet climbdown and then slink away in defeat.

Cutting one’s losses is a “Chicago value” too:

Emanuel press secretary Tarrah Cooper called Friday to clarify the mayor’s stance on whether a Logan Square Chick-fil-A location would be vetoed because of the company’s views on gay marriage.

“He never said he’d block the restaurant from coming,” Cooper said…

To clarify, Cooper said Emanuel still believes “their values are not Chicago values.” But that doesn’t mean he would block them.

“If they meet all the requirements, they’re welcome to open a restaurant here.”

Taken together with yesterday’s retreat by Mumbles, that makes two Chick-fil-A dragon slayers who have thrown in the towel. Are there no hardcore liberal mayors left who are willing to try to quash the company’s First Amendment rights for the glory of The Cause? Actually, maybe.”

Daniel Halper writes in The Weekly Standard regarding Rahm Emanuel’s turning to Louis Farrakhan, a professed opponent of homosexuality, to assist in stopping Chicago’s increasing youth crime:

“In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has told Chick-fil-A that the fast-food company is not welcome in his town because "Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values." In other words, because Chick-fil-A ownership believes in traditional marriage, it shouldn't bother opening up shop in Chicago.

But Emanuel is welcoming Louis Farrakhan, who is against same-sex marriage and who blasted President Obama two months ago for endorsing the practice.

At a speech in California, Farrakhan, the well-known anti-Semite, had this to say about Obama and same-sex marriage:

Minister Louis Farrakhan recently responded to President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage calling him "the first president that sanctioned what the scriptures forbid," according to a video posted by the Nation of Islam's "official" news source, Finalcall.com.

During an address at the California Convention Center on Sunday, the Nation of Islam leader ridiculed the media for its portrayal of Obama after the announcement, and chastised politicians and clergy for hypocritically supporting gay marriage despite the fact that the Bible forbids it.

Throughout his speech, Farrakhan carefully points out that he does not condone homophobia, saying "I'm not your enemy. I'm your brother, and I do love you." However, he said "sin is sin according to the standard of God."

Males coming to males with lust in their hearts as they should to a female," he said. "Now don't you dare say Farrakhan was preaching hate; he's homophobic. I'm not afraid of my brothers and sisters or others who may be practicing what God condemned in the days of Lot. That's not our job to be hateful of our people. Our job is to call us to sanity."

Farrakhan goes on to call out clergy who support gay marriage, saying they are placing society's needs over God's.

"Is this the book that you believe in, but now you('re) backing down from an aspect of it because people will get offended?" he asked.

Nevertheless, Emanuel is welcoming Louis Farrakhan and rejecting Chick-fil-A.”

Brent Bozell had this to say on News Busters:

“The latest solid proof that Hollywood really can’t stand traditional Christianity has arrived in an unfolding boycott of Chick-fil-A, a Georgia-based fast-food chain that’s rapidly spreading franchises across America.

Chick-fil-A demonstrates a public faith by closing all its stores on Sundays and on Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s something the Left ridicules, but something anyone of any faith respects.

It’s the company’s donations through its WinShape Foundation have launched the intolerant gay Left into action. Chick-fil-A have dared to donate their profits to groups like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (horrors!) and the Marriage and Family Foundation (no!).

Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press that “We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.” This man just has to cut it out. Who does he think he is?

But what really infuriated the Left was Cathy’s comments on a radio show that “I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’”

One of Hollywood’s first moves came from The Jim Henson Company, the iconic family entertainment group that invented the Muppets. They issued a statement on Facebook proclaiming they were withdrawing any association through kid’s-meal toys with the chain. “The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors,” they declared. “Lisa Henson, our CEO is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-fil-A to GLAAD.”

In other words, they’re suggesting that they’ll be better corporate citizens by giving their Chick-Fil-A kiddie-meal money to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), a group that fervently seeks to censor all traditional Christians from being allowed to say anything “anti-gay” on television news or entertainment programs. Even the Muppet people are in thrall to speech-squashing political correctness.

Other critics emerged on Twitter. "Chick-fil-A doesn't like gay people? So lame," actor Ed Helms (of “The Hangover” movies) tweeted. "Hate to think what they do to the gay chickens! Lost a loyal fan." Several other bold-type Hollywood moralists – Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian – also backed a Chick-fil-A boycott.

But few can compare with the undiluted spite of Roseanne Barr, who grabbed all the attention with her death wishes on Twitter: "anyone who eats S--t Fil-A deserves to get the cancer that is sure to come from eating antibiotic filled tortured chickens 4Christ".

This came after she had called them “chick filet- nazi chicken f---ing pricks.” She also cracked she was “off to grab a s--it fil-A sandwich on my way to worshipping Christ, supporting AIPAC and war in Iran.” When people attacked her for saying people “deserved” cancer, she lectured “Giving [your kids] Cancer from processed fast food is child abuse”. To think that this genius just tried to run for president of the United States on the Green Party ticket is mind-boggling.

Chick-fil-A put out a corporate response making the obvious point (at least to their customers) that you will find no disrespect at their restaurants. “The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”

The statement added, “Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.” That’s exactly what Hollywood wants to hear. On the Internet, they photograph themselves with taped mouths and paint “No H8" on their cheeks, but they display more hate and more desire to shut people up than the wackiest of right-wing yahoos.

The Left will always go further. Steven Kurlander, a blogger on the Huffington Post “Gay Voices” site, is mastering Orwellian speech: “Chick-fil-A's continued support of anti-gay groups and Cathy's discriminatory comments cross the line of decency.” In the 21st century, we’re told it’s indecent to be a Bible-believing Christian. He added that Chick-fil-A should be banned from taxpayer-supported facilities and should not be allowed to “work with public school children.”

Dan Cathy is right. We really are shaking our fist at God. Giving him the finger, too. Do we deserve forgiveness?”

And finally from Cal Thomas writing in the Patriot Post:

“…The reaction tells you everything you need to know about certain liberals who believe every sort of speech, activity and expression should be protected, except the speech, activity and expression of evangelical Christians.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said he would try to deny Chick-fil-A's application for permits to open restaurants in that city. Now that's discrimination. Menino wants to ban Chick-fil-A in Boston, not for discriminating against customers or employees, but because of its owner's beliefs, a threat he has since backed away from. Does Boston have "thought police" who might be ordered to investigate whether other business owners already operating in the city hold similar views? I'll bet there's someone at Durgin-Park who holds similar views. What about a player for the Boston Red Sox? Better follow them to see if any of them go to church.

Maybe Mayor Menino would like to force business owners in the city to testify before an official panel of grand inquisitors and then deny operating licenses to anyone who believes traditional marriage should be the norm?

In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said, "Chick-fil-A's values are not Chicago values." Are Chicago values represented by the anti-Semitic firebrand Louis Farrakhan with whom Emanuel is going to partner in hopes of reducing the number of homicides in his city? Are Farrakhan's anti-Semitic and anti-gay sentiments somehow more palatable, more of value, than Dan Cathy's support of marriage and family?”

….

This is more than an economic battle. It is a First Amendment issue. Freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Constitution. Dan Cathy has a right to his opinion, so does Farrakhan, so do we all.

The real "war" in this country is not only against the supposed civil right of nontraditional marriage. It is a war against conservative Christians and a denial of the same rights the LGBT community claims for itself. Free speech is an American value. We shouldn't settle for anything less.”

Time and time again you see the intolerance from the left. Our values count, yours don’t and if you don’t march in lock-step with us we will punish you. So much for freedom of speech when left-wing progressives get into the fray.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Right to Bear Arms

"The ultimate authority ... resides in the people alone. ... The advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation ... forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition." — James Madison (Federalist No. 46)

The Second Amendment to the Constitution 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.”

Until 2010 in spite of extensive discussion and much legislative action with respect to regulation of the purchase, possession, and transportation of firearms, as well as proposals to substantially curtail ownership of firearms, there is no definitive resolution by the courts of just what right the Second Amendment protects. The opposing theories, perhaps oversimplified, were an “individual rights” thesis whereby individuals are protected in ownership, possession, and transportation, and a “states’ rights” thesis whereby it is said the purpose of the clause is to protect the States in their authority to maintain formal, organized militia units. Whatever the Amendment may mean, it is considered a bar only to federal action, not extending to state or private restraints. The Supreme Court had given effect to the dependent clause of the Amendment in the only case in which it had tested a congressional enactment against the constitutional prohibition, seeming to affirm individual protection but only in the context of the maintenance of a militia or other such public force.

In United States v. Miller, the Court sustained a statute requiring registration under the National Firearms Act of sawed–off shotguns. After reciting the original provisions of the Constitution dealing with the militia, the Court observed that “with obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted with that end in view.” The significance of the militia, the Court continued, was that it was composed of “civilians primarily, soldiers on occasion.” It was upon this force that the States could rely for defense and securing of the laws, on a force that “comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense,” who, “when called for service were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time. ”Therefore, “in the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a ‘shotgun having a barrel of less than 18 inches in length’ at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense.”

But, this changed in 2008 and 2010. The case of the District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), was a landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual's right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes in federal enclaves, such as self-defense within the home. The decision did not address the question of whether the Second Amendment extends beyond federal enclaves to the states, which was addressed later by McDonald v. Chicago (2010). It was the first Supreme Court case in United States history to decide whether the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms.

On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Parker v. District of Columbia. The Court of Appeals had struck down provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 as unconstitutional, determined that handguns are "arms" for the purposes of the Second Amendment, found that the District of Columbia's regulations act was an unconstitutional banning, and struck down the portion of the regulations act that requires all firearms including rifles and shotguns be kept "unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock." "Prior to this decision the Firearms Control Regulation Act of 1975 also restricted residents from owning handguns except for those registered prior to 1975."

In 1010 The McDonald Case, cited above, finally put the nail in the coffin o2012-07-26-alexander-1f the states wanting to restrict gun ownership. Falling back on the incorporation of the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment the Supreme Court determined that not only was the federal government prohibited from “infringing” on the right to bear arms, so were the states. The decision cleared up the uncertainty left in the wake of District of Columbia v. Heller as to the scope of gun rights in regard to the states.

Here is what James Madison had to sat about citizens bearing arms in Federalist No. 46:

“Extravagant as the supposition is, let it however be made. Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it. Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion, that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession, than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors. Let us rather no longer insult them with the supposition that they can ever reduce themselves to the necessity of making the experiment, by a blind and tame submission to the long train of insidious measures which must precede and produce it. The argument under the present head may be put into a very concise form, which appears altogether conclusive. Either the mode in which the federal government is to be constructed will render it sufficiently dependent on the people, or it will not. On the first supposition, it will be restrained by that dependence from forming schemes obnoxious to their constituents. On the other supposition, it will not possess the confidence of the people, and its schemes of usurpation will be easily defeated by the State governments, who will be supported by the people. On summing up the considerations stated in this and the last paper, they seem to amount to the most convincing evidence, that the powers proposed to be lodged in the federal government are as little formidable to those reserved to the individual States, as they are indispensably necessary to accomplish the purposes of the Union; and that all those alarms which have been sounded, of a meditated and consequential annihilation of the State governments, must, on the most favorable interpretation, be ascribed to the chimerical fears of the authors of them.”

The primary consideration in the mass murder in Aurora, Colorado, last week is the issue of Essential Liberty. The natural right "endowed by our Creator" to keep and bear arms is, as James Madison's Chief Justice, Joseph Story, put it, "the palladium of the liberties of the republic." So given that some are pushing to take away that right, here are a few thoughts.

If at least one concealed-carry permit holder had been allowed to carry a firearm into that theater, the killer could have been stopped. Unfortunately, it is unlawful to carry a concealed weapon in Aurora, though that can't preempt Colorado law, and the theater itself bans carried weapons, so the only one with a weapon that night was the perpetrator. Neither Aurora's gun restrictions nor Colorado's laws against murder stopped this incident, and taking more rights from the law-abiding won't stop the next crime, either.

We wonder if the Left ever pondered this: Why don't mass murders take place at gun shows or NRA conventions? Answer: The bad guys aren't dumb and look for so-called "gun-free zones" where they can kill at will. Suggesting that violence is a "gun problem" ignores the real issue — the now-generational socio-pathology instituted by the Left.

Of course, those inconvenient truths didn't stop the leftist chorus of gun grabbers.

New Jersey Democrat Sen. Frank Lautenberg pontificated, "Let's stop wasting time and start saving lives. We have to face the reality that these types of tragedies will continue to occur unless we do something about our nation's lax gun laws." Therefore, the Senate added an amendment to the pending cyber-security bill banning magazines with a capacity higher than 10 rounds.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recommended that America's police officers should strike until more draconian gun control laws are enacted. "I don't understand why the police officers across this country don't stand up collectively and say we're gonna go on strike, we're not gonna protect you unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what's required to keep us safe."

Setting aside the sheer legal idiocy of this remark — police officers are forbidden from striking precisely because of the potential threat to public safety, which Bloomberg was forced to admit — the mayor sounded just like an urban politico who has a 24/7 police escort. Perhaps he should set the example by discontinuing his security detail and displaying a "Gun Free" sticker. After all, if he's assaulted and seconds count, the NYPD will only be minutes away!

Even Mexican President Felipe Calderon chimed in, saying, "Because of the Aurora, Colorado, tragedy, the American Congress must review its mistaken legislation on guns. It's doing damage to us all." And he would know, since Obama was practically gift-wrapping guns for Mexican drug cartels.

Not only did Obama's lemmings carry water for him on gun control, but the leftwing media piled on as well. The Associated Press's Steven Hurst "reported" that, "controlling access to guns would appear, on its face, the simple answer to preventing public massacres like the movie-theatre tragedy in Colorado." We note that this was not an opinion column, but a "news article."

Perhaps the most egregious offense, however, was when ABC's Brian Ross fired a round at the Tea Party with his now-infamous remark that the murderer, "Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado," is mentioned "on the Colorado Tea Party site, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year." With his unsubstantiated innuendo, Ross carelessly smeared an unrelated "Jim Holmes of Aurora," all for the sake of a political point against the Tea Party.

Barack Obama couldn't resist the temptation to personalize it: "My daughters go to the movies. What if Malia and Sasha had been at the theater?" Of course, if Malia and Sasha had been in the theater, nobody with so much as a nail clipper would have been allowed in that mall. But then our kids don't all travel with a Secret Service entourage. The bottom line: We mustn't allow the Left to take away our Liberty. If we do, we become slaves.

Justice Joseph Story, appointed to the Supreme Court by our Constitution's principal author, James Madison, wrote in his "Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States" (1833), "The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of the republic; since it offers a strong moral check against usurpation and arbitrary power of the rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them."

Gun-free nations are safer — at least for folks like Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin, Castro, Pol Pot and Saddam, all of whom disarmed their detractors before slaughtering them by the tens of millions.

History records the consequences of disarming people, both in terms of protection, in their person and property, from tyrannical governments and from criminals. Regarding the latter, "If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns."

Thomas Jefferson understood that maxim. In his Commonplace Book, Jefferson quotes Cesare Beccaria from his seminal work, On Crimes and Punishment: "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."

The same can be said of so-called "gun-free zones" in America, as on the campus of Virginia Tech.

In 2002, at the Appalachian School of Law just up the road from Virginia Tech, a Nigerian student, who had flunked out, returned to campus, murdered three people and wounded three others. Fortunately, his killing spree was interrupted by two students who had retrieved handguns from their vehicles and held the murderer at gunpoint until police arrived.

In 1997, an assistant principal in Pearl, Mississippi, retrieved a handgun from his car and apprehended a murderer. A few days later, a copycat assault in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, ended after a nearby merchant wielding a shotgun forced the attacker to surrender. Off campus, it is estimated conservatively that gun owners use their weapons defensively more than 1.3 million times each year.

With that as a backdrop, in 2006 Virginia Tech admonished a student for having a handgun on campus — never mind that the student had a state-issued concealed-carry permit.

That admonishment was a motivating factor behind a proposed bill before the Virginia legislature to prevent academic institutions from enacting "rules or regulations limiting or abridging the ability of a student who possesses a valid concealed-handgun permit from lawfully carrying a concealed handgun."

The legislation died in committee, prompting Tech's associate vice president, Larry Hincker, to praise the General Assembly in a Roanoke (Virginia) Times op-ed: "I'm sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly's actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus. We believe guns don't belong in the classroom. In an academic environment, we believe you should be free from fear."

A month later, there was a murder near Tech's campus, prompting a lockdown.

In response, Tech grad student Bradford Wiles penned an op-ed in the campus paper calling on the school to allow those with concealed-carry permits to carry guns on campus should they choose.

Larry Hincker emerged again, protesting, "It is absolutely mind-boggling to see the opinions of Bradford Wiles. Surely, [the editors] scratched their heads saying, 'I can't believe he really wants to say that.' Guns don't belong in classrooms. They never will. Virginia Tech has a very sound policy preventing same."

Congratulations Mr. Hinkler. Your "sound policy" created a "safe campus" for only one student — Cho Seung-Hui — who was able to slaughter 32 people without interruption.

Suggesting that mass murder is a "gun problem" ignores the real problem — murderous pathology and the culture which nurtures it is.

If guns cause homicides, then one may, by logical extension, draw the following conclusions about causal factors for the top U.S. mortality groups: golden arches cause heart disease, cigarette lighters cause cancer, sex causes abortions, steering wheels cause car accidents, toxic-warning labels cause poisonings, ladders cause falls, and bottles cause deaths associated with alcohol abuse.

Of course, by way of this liberal blame shifting logic, one may also conclude that commercial jets and truck bombs cause buildings to collapse, freedom causes tyranny, beards cause terrorism, SUVs cause global warming, White House interns cause infidelity, saying "no" causes rape, chains cause slavery, matches cause arson, cameras cause pornography, burgers cause obesity, bathing suits cause drowning, marriage causes divorce, crowbars cause burglary, credit cards cause bankruptcy, elections cause corruption, 24-hour news-cycle talking heads cause ignorance, ad nauseam.

According to the most recent annual statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, there were 11,500 homicides committed by perpetrators using guns. There were 18,000 deaths committed by perpetrators using vehicles after consuming alcohol. Your chances of being killed by a drunk driver are 56 percent higher than being killed by a perp with a gun.

In the last decade, there were almost 180,000 (that's 180 thousand) people killed in car wrecks where alcohol abuse was a key factor. In the same ten-year period, there were 110 students (including those at VA Tech) murdered on campus by psychopaths. [2006 statistics]

Perhaps the Brady Campaign and Democrats in Congress should set their sights on federal legislation mandating a five-day waiting period before purchasing alcohol. After all, many of the perpetrators who used guns instead of cars to commit homicide were also abusing alcohol.

Fact is, if we exclude gang-bangers and crack heads, the probability of being murdered in the U.S. is more in line with the oft-cited lower murder rates in Western Europe — but let's not separate the wheat from the chaff.

Cato Institute Senior Fellow Robert Levy recently noted: "Many politicians have exploited a few recent tragedies to promote their anti-gun agenda. But gun controls haven't worked and more controls won't help. In fact, many of the recommended regulations will make matters worse by stripping law-abiding citizens of their most effective means of self-defense. Violence in America is due not to the availability of guns but to social pathologies — illegitimacy, dysfunctional schools and drug and alcohol abuse. Historically, more gun laws have gone hand in hand with an explosion of violent crime."

Forty states now issue carry permits to law-abiding citizens — but the liberal press is unrelenting in its effort to undermine such policy.

As Ronald Reagan stated after being shot by the deranged assailant John Hinckley; "You won't get gun control by disarming law-abiding citizens. There's only one way to get real gun control: Disarm the thugs and the criminals, lock them up and if you don't actually throw away the key, at least lose it for a long time. It's a nasty truth, but those who seek to inflict harm are not fazed by gun controllers. I happen to know this from personal experience."

Friday, July 27, 2012

Is Obama Desperate for Money?

"The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home." — James Madison

After Obama’s comments on entrepreneurs owing their success to government in Roanoke Virginia last week, comments that have turned on him and caused his supporters to spin the comments all week, he has made another gaffe. This one, however, has not covered in the mainstream media for obvious reasons. I am 100% sure had it been George Bush it would have been all over ABC, NBC, and CBS.

In Portland, Oregon Obama attended another of his numerous fund raisers hosted by Terrance Bean, a multi-millionaire bundler. It was a great event for Obama and he enthusiastically thanked Bean for his efforts and contributions to the cause. The only thing not mentioned is that Terrance Bean is known as the king of Gay porn.

President Barack Obama publicly thanked a man the New York Post called a “gay-porn kingpin” at an Oregon fundraiser on Tuesday, according to the Weekly Standard.

While speaking at a Portland campaign fundraiser, Obama thanked Terry Bean for organizing the event.

“I want to thank someone who put so much work into this event, Terry Bean," Obama said as the crowd began to cheer, according to the Weekly Standard. "Give Terry a big round of applause.”

But to a 2008 New York Post article, Bean is a "gay-porn kingpin” and a bundler who raised $50,000 to $100,000 for Obama and “once controlled the biggest producer of gay porn in America."

The Post said, "Bean, the first gay on Sen. Obama's National Finance Committee, is the sole trustee of the Charles M. Holmes Foundation, which owned Falcon Studios, Jock Studios, and Mustang Studios, the producers of about $10 million worth of all-male pornography a year."

The Post also reported that in 2002, Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongowski returned a $15,000 contribution from Conwest to avoid the "taint" of the porn connection.

Bean told the paper back then, "I asked the company to donate, and they did. To avoid the appearance of anything, he [Kulongowski] returned it."

Once again we see Obama doing anything possible to add to his campaign coffers. It not the Gay issue, but a Gay porn king!

There is another video showing photos with Obama, Bean, Michelle, Biden and other Obama Whitehouse staffers. If you watch the video turn the music down as it was made by a person attempting to glamorize Bean and his relationship with Obama.

I am sure this video is an embarrassment to Barack and Michelle and if it isn’t it should be. The photos show Barack and Michelle siting around the table with Bean and seeming to enjoy his company. I am also sure had this been George Bush or Mitt Romney the mainstream media would have been all over it. Or perhaps Barack and Michelle get turned on by watching Gay porn.

This is just one more example of many of how corrupt the left is.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Faux Tolerance of the Left

"I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it." — Benjamin Franklin

By now most people who watch Fox News of read their news on the Internet have heard the comments of Democratic Virginia State Representative and Obama fund raiser Louise Lucas said on the John Fredericks Show, while discussing the presidential race.

Lucas accused Republican Mitt Romney on Friday of catering to people who don’t like the president because of his race:

What I’m saying to you is Mitt Romney, he’s speaking to a population of this — a segment of the population who does not like to see people other than a white man in the White House or in any other elected position.

Let’s be real clear about it, let’s be real clear about it, Mitt Romney is speaking to a group of people out there who don’t like folks like President Barack Obama in any elected or leadership position. We know what’s going on here, and … some people may be afraid to say it, but I’m not. I’m not afraid to say it. He’s speaking to that fringe out there who do not want to see anybody another than a white person in a leadership position,” she continued.

“Do you really believe now that this is still about race?” Fredericks asked her.

“I absolutely believe it is all about race,” Lucas replied. “And for the first time in my life I’ve been able to convince my children finally that racism is alive and well.”

“Even in Virginia?” he asked.

“In Virginia — how about all across this nation?” she replied. “And especially in Virginia.”

You can read more about her comments in the Daily Caller.

A poll released by Quinnipiac University on July 19th shows President Obama and Mitt Romney are tied 44-44 percent in the state of Virginia, meaning Romney has erased the eight-point margin Obama enjoyed in March.

Lucas, who told Fredericks she listens to MSNBC along with other networks, claimed that those who oppose Obama can't explain why they oppose him. She also claimed that "President Barack Obama did not create the situation that has us in this economic mess that we’re in.

"Everybody knows that this stuff happened under President George Bush, and they’re trying to dump on the president. But those people — intelligent people understand that President Barack Obama did not create this mess, and the mess that was created could not be solved in two or three or four years. Intelligent people understand that," she added.

But The Hill reported Monday that more than half blame Obama and his policies for the state of the economy and the slow recovery.

The poll, conducted for The Hill by Pulse Opinion Research, found 53 percent of voters say Obama has taken the wrong actions and has slowed the economy down. Forty-two percent said he has taken the right actions to revive the economy, while six percent said they were not sure, The Hill added.

According to that poll, only 18 percent said former President George W. Bush was to blame.

Lucas, however, claimed that "right thinking people know that this mess was not created by Barack Obama.

President Dan Cathy of Chick-fil-A made a statement that he was opposed to same-sex marriage and was immediately labeled a bigot and a homophobe by the media and politicians. First it was the Boston Mayor Tom Menino

And here’s the latest in the “Let’s Dogpile Chick-fil-A Because They‘re Totally ’Intolerant’” movement: “A Chicago alderman wants to kill Chick-fil-A’s plans to build a restaurant in his increasingly trendy Northwest Side ward because the fast-food chain’s top executive vocally opposes gay marriage.”

Yep, first Boston and now this.

“If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don’t want you in the 1st Ward,” Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno told the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday, referring to what he said were “bigoted, homophobic comments” from Cathy.

Is it company policy to deny members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) community employment? No. Does Chick-fil-A deny members of the LGBT community service? No. Outside of Cathy’s “intolerant,“ ”bigoted,“ and ”homophobic” comments, has Chick-fil-A — as a company – done anything to discriminate against the LGBT community? No. Did we redefine the word “discriminate” and nobody told us about it? Hmmm.

“Because of this man’s ignorance, I will now be denying Chick-fil-A’s permit to open a restaurant in the 1st Ward,” said the alderman.

Of course, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who, by the way, is doing a bang-up job running that city, supports Moreno.

“Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values,” Emanuel said in a statement. “They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.”

Although the company has already obtained zoning for a restaurant, “it must seek council approval to divide the land so it can purchase an out lot near Home Depot,” the Tribune reports. This means they have to go through Moreno.

Although the company has already obtained zoning for a restaurant, “it must seek council approval to divide the land so it can purchase an out lot near Home Depot,” the Tribune reports. This means they have to go through Moreno.

When asked whether his decision to block Chick-fil-A over Cathy’s comments seemed contradictory to First Amendment rights, the alderman shrugged it off.

“You have the right to say what you want to say, but zoning is not a right,” he said, adding that it will take “more than words” to get him to change his mind.

“They’d have to do a complete 180,” the alderman said. “They’d have to work with LGBT groups in terms of hiring, and there would have to be a public apology from Cathy.”

The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA), Illinois’ leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights advocacy organization, which worked with Alderman Moreno in crafting the new policy, also said that Chick-Fil-A wasn’t willing to cater to the LGBT community.

“Those items included: an LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination policy, diversity and cultural competency training, parity in employee benefits that included benefits for couples in civil unions and domestic partnerships, appropriate and respectful advertising in the LGBT community, transgender inclusive health benefits, and rejection of any activities that would undermine the goal of equal rights for LGBT people,” said TCRA in a press release.

Mark our words — from Boston to Chicago — this is just the tip of the iceberg. If there’s one thing advocates of “tolerance” won’t tolerate, it’s people who, they say, are “intolerant” [good luck figuring that one out].

There is no evidence that Chick-fil-A has denied service to a member of the LGBT community or even queried ones sexual orientation when ordering a chicken sandwich. There is no evidence that Chick-fil-A has ever used discriminatory hiring practices or in promoting people. What is true, however, is that Cathy expressed his personal views on same sex marriage, views held by millions of Americans.

He does not have Bible verses posted in his restaurants and does not require me to show proof of Christianity upon entering. Right now MacDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, and In and Out Burger are spending millions to counter the free advertising Chick-fil-A is getting in the media. According to reports I have seen people are flocking to Cathy’s restaurants to show support for him. Also, I would be surprised if the mayors of Boston and Chicago denied Chick-fil-A permits based on Cathy’s opinions the law suits will not be far behind. This is great way for cities strapped for funds to waste the taxpayer’s money.

But in our world of political correctness this is not allowed. Bill Maher and Bob Beckel are free to say what they want. Peter Lewis of Progressive Insurance can give millions to left-wing causes and Barack Obama — he list goes on and on. If you criticize these advocates of “free speech” on he left you are chastised for being against the First Amendment and intolerant.

On the other hand the Koch Brothers and Bob Cathy are considered evil, intolerant, homophobes, bigots, and having Neanderthal brains. Louise Lucas calls those who oppose the policies of Barack Obama unintelligent racists.

The founder of Domino’s Pizza was a strong advocate for the right to life and donated millions to this cause. The late Carl Kartcher, the founder of Carl’sCarl_Karcher Jr. was an advocate for right to life and against same sex marriage. In 1978, he contributed 1 million dollars to California's anti-gay Proposition 6 initiative, also known as the Briggs Initiative. He was the initiative's biggest financial supporter. The proposition was a ballot measure requiring the termination of all gays and lesbians from employment in public schools. However, the initiative was defeated by over one million votes.

No one ever asked my political opinion of views on same sex marriage when I ordered a Super Star or pepperoni pizza. If you visit a Carl’s Jr. you will find all races and ethnic groups working there.

The tolerance of the left is only for people with similar views. They attack those with different views with a vengeance. If you have a view or opinion contrary to left you are considered a stupid racist or a homophobe and you should be silenced. If you attack their views you are guilty of McCarthyism. To the left only their views count. They claim to believe in diversity, but this diversity only works for them against people of differing views.

This political correctness is a cancer on our society. It stifles debate and in essence is a tyranny implemented by the left. It is present in our schools, colleges, the media, politics, and even some of our churches. It is synonymous with the thought police in George Orwell’s novel 1984.

As I have written before this political correctness began at the turn of the twentieth century at the Frankfurt School in Germany. The concept of PC was developed at the Institute for Social Research, in Frankfurt, Germany, in the early 1920s otherwise known as the Frankfurt School. The institute considered why communism in Russia was not spreading westward. The conclusion was that Western civilization, with its belief that the individual could develop valid ideas, was the problem. At the root of communism was the theory that all valid ideas came from the state, that the individual is nothing. The institute believed that the only way for communism to advance and spread was to help Western civilization destroy itself, or else force it to.

The socialist and communists knew they could not ram their ideology down the throats of the American people so they began to educate the educators in the ways of progressive and socialist thought. These educators began indoctrinating students, especially the ones in law and journalism in the ideology of the Frankfurt School. These graduates, thoroughly indoctrinated in this dogma became ACLU lawyers and media voices. Thus began the slow and constant drip by drip inclusion of feel good and political correct thought into our society. Thinking went out the window and was replaced by feelings.

Now we live in a culture dominated by political correctness and feel-good thinking. If you are opposed to any of the policies or initiatives of the left you are considered to be anti-social and against progress. Debate is no longer tolerated by the left. They are the masterminds pushing us down the road to a utopian tyranny where freedom is replaced by conformity.

I will not purchase Progressive Insurance or shop at Office Depot with their support for Lady GaGa’s same sex marriage initiative. I will not subscribe to HBO or watch MSNBC. I will not watch the late night comedy shows with their left-wing host like John Stewart. I will not support Obama or his followers. I will, however, eat at Carl’s Jr., Chick-fil-A, and Dominos. I will support the NRA and gun ownership. I would remind the masterminds of the left that just as you have a right to be you I have a right to be free of you.