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Archive for January, 2016
From The Washington Post:
Vice Adm. Ted “Twig” Branch has been barred from reading, seeing or hearing classified information since November 2013, when the Navy learned from the Justice Department that his name had surfaced in a giant corruption investigation involving a foreign defense contractor and scores of Navy personnel.
Some critics have questioned how smart it is for the Navy to retain an intelligence chief with such limitations, for so long, especially at a time when the Pentagon is confronted by crises in the Middle East, the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula and other hotspots.
From US News:
A South Carolina lawmaker invited nationwide condemnation Tuesday with legislation proposing a mandatory journalist registry and potential jail time for violators. But state Rep. Mike Pitts now says he intentionally duped reporters and press advocates to expose what he sees as their hypocrisy.
“I filed this legislation as an experiment to make a point about the media and how they only care about the constitution when it comes their portion of the 1st Amendment,” the Republican legislator wrote on his Facebook page Wednesday morning.
“Getting to the Root of France’s Muslim Dilemma is republished with permission of Stratfor.”
By Joe Parson
The jihadist attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo signified the beginning of a new period of insecurity for France. Since those shots rang out a little over a year ago, France has been beset by threats, false alarms and more successful attacks. The latest of these, of course, took place in Paris itself, triggering the first nationwide state of emergency since 1961. Having been away for most of 2015, when I arrived back for the holidays I found the country had somehow changed. Disembarking at Charles Gaulle airport’s oldest terminal, whimsically known as le Camembert for its roundness, I found the same futuristic, grimy moving walkways and familiar odor of the Paris metro. Much was the same, but then I noticed that the usual airport security was gone, replaced by military personnel patrolling with automatic rifles.
France’s security alert system, Plan Vigipirate, was developed in the late 1970s, updated once in the mid-1990s and twice more in the early 2000s. It reached its highest level of alert (scarlet) after the March 2012 Toulouse and Montauban attacks. In January 2015, however, authorities created a new, higher level to reflect the perceived current danger. As I traveled through Paris and the rest of the country I saw these security measures in action on the city’s metro and on the country’s high-speed train, the Train à Grande Vitesse. Security checks have become much more common, and this has led to some delays. False alarms triggered by such things as suspicious packets of cookies on a Nantes tram or forgotten luggage have stopped trains across the country. Over the New Year holiday, the center of Paris was cordoned off and people were individually screened before being allowed to continue on foot. Even the Christmas market in Strasbourg, far from Paris, was blocked off to automobile traffic, and identification checks were mandatory.
French police officers stand guard during a Jan. 1 New Year’s parade along Paris’ Champs-Elysees. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A Wauwatosa man is under federal investigation for selling guns without a proper license, buying more than 500 firearms from an outdoors store and then selling them through a website or at gun shows, according to newly unsealed court documents.
According to the search warrant, the suspect obtained a collector of curio and relics license in 2014 from the ATF. The license allows the sale of guns that are at least 50 years old but does not allow the holder to be a general firearms dealer.
From The Daily Caller:
“So let’s solve the problem,” Mikuski urged. “Let’s not get involved in constitutional arguments, and let’s help our American people be safe and secure in their home, their neighborhood, their school and their house of worship.”
From USA Today:
San Bernardino County reported a nine-fold increase in concealed weapons applications in the month that followed the Dec. 2 terror attacks, and the surge continues. In Riverside County, the permitting process is so backlogged that it now takes a year-and-a-half to meet with an official to submit an application.
“It’s ridiculous,” said John R. Lott Jr., a pro-gun academic with the non-profit Crime Prevent Research Center. “Most states in the country will get you a concealed carry permit within at least 60 days. What if you have a woman who is being stalked or threatened? What is she supposed to do — wait a year and a half just to get an appointment?”
From Fox News:
A Pennsylvania building believed to be the birthplace of the Bill of Rights was partially demolished earlier this month because developers didn’t know the origin of the site, The Sentinel reported.
The building, originally known as the James Bell Tavern, hosted a meeting in 1788 of anti-Federalists opposed to the ratification of the new nation’s Constitution. The group began calling for changes to the document, and their plea was eventually heard when the Bill of Rights was adopted in 1791.
I’m very much concerned with how the history of the southern freedom movement or civil rights movement is portrayed. And, I’m very conscious of the gaps in the history, and one important gap in the history, in the portrayal of the movement, is the role of guns in the movement. I worked in the South, I lived with families in the South. There was never a family I stayed with that didn’t have a gun. I know from personal experience and the experiences of others, that guns kept people alive, kept communities safe and all you have to do to understand this is simply think of black people as human beings and they’re gonna respond to terrorism the way anybody else would.
From The Baltimore Sun:
…as President Barack Obama announced plans this week to tighten background checks for gun buyers and increase gun tracking and research, I thought, that’s all well and good, but how about adding something immediately useful: a gun owner registry available to the public online — something like those for sex offenders. I’m not equating gun owners with predatory perverts, but the model is helpful here; I want a searchable database I can consult to find out whether my kid can have a play date at your house.
Read the press release from the Attorney General of Califonia:
Today, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and Assemblymember David Chiu announced legislation to close the “bullet button” loophole. This loophole enables a firearm owner to use a bullet or other pointed object to quickly detach and replace a weapon’s ammunition magazine, converting a rifle into a semi-automatic assault weapon. An individual can switch magazines on a gun with a bullet button within seconds. This bill would expand the classification of assault weapons to include semi-automatic center fire rifles, which are capable of accepting detachable magazines. (emphasis added)
“The devastation wrought by gun violence on innocent victims, children and families in this country is an international embarrassment,” said Attorney General Harris. “This is a common sense solution that closes a dangerous loophole in California’s assault weapons ban. We simply must do everything we can to keep dangerous, high capacity firearms off of our streets and out of our communities.”
Assembly Bill 1663 will broaden the classification of restricted firearms to include dangerous assault weapons that are currently easy to purchase and manufacture. In 1989, passage of the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act (the AWCA) made it a felony to manufacture any of the assault weapons listed in the statute. In 1999, the Legislature expanded the AWCA to include more technologically advanced semiautomatic weapons, including firearms with a “fixed magazine” and/or firearms with “the capacity to accept a detachable magazine.” Under current law, manufacturers have been able to create firearms with detachable magazines that evade classification as assault weapons that are prohibited from being possessed, sold, transferred or imported into the state without a permit. “Bullet buttons” require the tip of a bullet or tool to release a magazine and insert a new one. Because a device is needed to eject the magazine, bullet button firearms are not restricted under the AWCA statute.
“We must close the loopholes in our assault weapons ban so that guns like the ones used in San Bernardino, Newtown, and Aurora cannot be bought legally in our state,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), who first worked on gun legislation as a United States Senate aide in the mid-1990s. “Detachable magazines cost lives, and it is more important to save lives during future mass shootings than to be able to reload assault weapons in the blink of an eye. I appreciate the sponsorship by Attorney General Harris and look forward to working this year with my colleagues and the Governor’s office on this and other efforts to prevent gun violence.”
Attorney General Harris has made the implementation of effective gun safety measures a priority. Since November 2013, Attorney General Harris has brought the number of individuals in the Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) database to a historic low of 12,691—effectively removing 20,573 prohibited individuals. Over the last two years, the California Department of Justice has also doubled the average number of guns seized annually and increased the number of investigations per month by nearly 300 percent.
In 2011, Attorney General Harris sponsored SB 819 (Leno) to allow the Department of Justice to use existing regulatory fees collected by gun dealers (“DROS fees”) for purposes of regulatory and enforcement activities related to firearms, including management of APPS. This went into effect January 2012. In 2013, Attorney General Harris sponsored SB 140 (Leno) to appropriate $24 million in funding from the DROS Account to help support the APPS program; this urgency legislation went into effect immediately in May 2013.
In 2013, Attorney General Harris convened a Leadership Group of California’s district attorneys to collaboratively develop recommendations to reduce gun violence through enforcement of existing laws and prevention efforts.
Earlier this month, Attorney General Harris issued a statement in support of President Obama’s executive actions to reduce gun violence through enhanced background checks, increased mental heath treatment and improved gun safety technology.
From The Daily Wire:
A video making the rounds purports to show a group of French citizens confronted by what seems to be north African Muslim immigrants of male working-age armed with rocks, knives, and bats.
From 2013 Tufts Magazine:
If you understand the United States as a patchwork of separate nations, each with its own origins and prevailing values, you would hardly expect attitudes toward violence to be uniformly distributed. You would instead be prepared to discover that some parts of the country experience more violence, have a greater tolerance for violent solutions to conflict, and are more protective of the instruments of violence than other parts of the country. That is exactly what the data on violence reveal about the modern United States.
From America’s First Freedom:
Take a look at Federalist 46, for instance, authored by James Madison. Keep in mind, the Federalist Papers were originally opinion pieces, published at a rate of one or two a week in order to influence the debate over ratification of the Constitution. Madison was writing this to convince a living audience to approve the Constitution and create a strong federal system. InFederalist 46, the “Father of the Constitution” is laying out the case that, even with a strong federal government, Americans shouldn’t worry about tyranny developing. Why? As he explained, even under the most powerful federal government, the people would retain state and even local governments that would be freely elected. Additionally, Madison explicitly acknowledged, the armed populace of a free society would far outnumber the size of the federal army.
From Kit Up:
The Army is recruiting volunteers for a stomach-churning challenge: Eat nothing but meals-ready-to-eat for 21 straight days. For those brave enough to volunteer, military fitness expert Stew Smith has two tips: Stay active and stay hydrated.
The service announced its experiment in a Dec. 11 release. To study gut health and how bacteria in the stomach are affected by the military meals, the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine’s military nutrition division is recruiting volunteers to go on the all-MRE diet for three consecutive weeks.
During a CNN “townhall” the President told a rape victim that nothing he is proposing is going to make it harder for a citizen to buy a gun:
During the same meeting he said that he wants to make it harder and more expensive to get a gun in order to make sure fewer people have them.
Making guns harder and more expensive to get will have a disproportionate effect on poor people. This is not only an attack on gun buyers but more specifically poor gun buyers. Poor people are usually the ones who need a gun the most because they generally live in a higher crime area. They have a limited amount of purchasing power already. A $25 dollar tax on firearms, like the one Seattle passed, may not seem like a lot of money but it is significant to someone living near or below the poverty line. Making guns more expensive is tantamount to a poll tax only this time it will affect those with less economic advantage rather than those with a different skin color.