Friday, April 5, 2013

New diabetes treatment flushes sugar, calories out of body!

KVUE ^ | April 3, 2013 | Karen Grace

A new diabetes drug that hit the market in the past week boasts it can drop your glucose levels and flush out "guilty" calories every time you use the bathroom.
Experts say that every time the patient urinates, out goes all the unwanted sugar and calories.
Doctors say this drug could even help prevent Type 2 diabetes.
KVUE's sister station KENS went behind closed doors at the Veterans Affairs hospital to witness clinical trials for other drugs similar to Invokana.
Last Friday, the FDA approved Invokana, a drug experts are hailing as a game changer for Type 2 diabetes treatment.
The drug works in the kidneys and blocks an enzyme that would put sugar back in the bloodstream.
Dr. Devjit Tripathy with UT Medicine San Antonio, the clinical practice of the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center, says the drug helps curb obesity.
"This drug not only has the potential to treat Type 2 diabetes but also obesity," Tripathy said. "With the loss of a lot of glucose, you lose a lot of calories and by that you lose weight."
He said the same weight loss results can occur in non-diabetic subjects, but he emphasized that so far the drug is only approved for Type 2 diabetes patients and not specifically as a weight-loss drug.
"In San Antonio, we have a very big problem with obesity," Tripathy said. "This drug will definitely help us."
He also said this drug has the potential to help prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Keep in mind taking this drug doesn't mean you can eat whatever you want. The doctor said the drug is limited on how much sugar is excreted, so it's important to continue watching your diet.
Experts say they are still assessing the long-term effects of the medication.

Smiley-Face Lies and Homicide Hogwash in Dem Hellholes

CNS News ^ | 4/5/2013 | Michelle Malkin

President Obama's hometown of Chicago still goes by the old nickname "Windy City." But after three miserable decades of strict gun control and permanent Democratic rule, Chicago has cemented its reputation as America's Bloody City.
No amount of statistical whitewashing can cover up the stains of the left's ideological failures there. But as Obama continues to wage war on law-abiding gun owners, his home team is trying its hardest to spread smiley-face lies upon damned lies to downplay Chicago homicide statistics.
On Monday, April Fools' Day, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy held a press conference to tout a "dramatic" drop in the city's homicide rate. The headlines read: "March homicides drop dramatically in Chicago" (USA Today); "Murders fall 42 percent in America's deadliest city: Chicago" (NBC News); and "March homicides drop 69 percent in Chicago" (Las Vegas Sun)."
Emanuel trumpeted the drop as a "good sign." He hyped statistics to the Associated Press showing that first-quarter 2013 murders in Chicago tied the same time period in 2009. Murders decreased 69 percent compared to the same month last year; first-quarter homicides fell by 42 percent compared to the same time frame last year. Emanuel insisted: "We are clearly having an impact on the homicides."
But it's all in how you slice, dice and spin it, of course.
Let's face it. Gun-grabbers in Democratic-dominated cities have an institutional incentive to fudge the numbers. In New York City, which rivals Chicago when it comes to out-of-control gun-control regulations, a New York Police Department whistleblower recently exposed systemic manipulation of crime data.
As anti-Second Amendment crusader Michael Bloomberg made the rounds last spring touting the Big Apple as "the safest big city in America," an internal NYPD report confirmed that more than a dozen crime reports had been manipulated — including felonies downgraded and incident reports deep-sixed — to lower the crime rate. As punishment for exposing the tampering and corruption, the whistle-blowing officer, Adrian Schoolcraft, who secretly taped the manipulation, was suspended and forced into a psych ward. He's still fighting for justice and has never received an apology.
So, call me crazy, but I wouldn't put it past Team Obama's Chicago theater directors to goose their numbers to improve the optics for Dear Leader. Speaking of the lobbyist in chief, he parachuted into Colorado this week and surrounded himself with Denver police officer human props during a gun-control campaign event. The rank-and-filers were none too happy with being exploited for political purposes. "To protect and serve" is supposed to be a public safety imperative, not a campaign imperative.
But back to the Bloody City. In 2012, Chicago racked up the nation's deadliest death toll, with 506 of its residents murdered. The murder rate has simply returned to its bloody business as usual over the past five years. Here's the first-quarter death toll breakdown:
2013: 70 2012: 120 2011: 75 2010: 75 2009: 70
The Second City Cop crime blog adds that Emanuel's claim regarding the homicide rate dropping to levels not seen since the 1950s "is based solely on the population decrease in the city of Chicago. This is an amazing abuse of numbers, but as Mark Twain said, 'There are lies, damned lies and statistics.' Welcome to 'statistics.'"
Local Chicago CBS 2 reporter Jay Levine didn't buy the whitewashing bunk, either. He challenged City Hall with a piece entitled: "City Touts Lower Homicide Stats, But Context Reveals Return To Normal." Put simply, "2013's 70 first-quarter homicides was a major improvement over 2012's 120 — but not over 2011 or 2010 or 2009."
While Emanuel sang "Don't Worry, Be Happy" for the press, the Bloody City was still reeling after a 6-month-old baby was shot and killed in gang crossfire. On Easter weekend, a mob of violent teens terrorized shoppers in the Magnificent Mile district. Similar outbreaks of racially driven attacks have escalated in Chicago under the reign of Daley-Emanuel-Obama. By some police estimates, gang violence accounts for up to 80 percent of the city's homicides.
Plagued by juvenile delinquency, organized crime, ruinous government dependency, corruption and out-of-control spending, these liberal-dominated hellholes have proved impervious to progressive "social justice" engineering. It's the insane demagogues blaming guns who need their heads examined.

Judge orders morning-after pill available without prescription (To females of ANY age!)

CNN ^ | April 5, 2013 | Elizabeth Landau

A federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, has ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make the morning-after birth control pill available to people of any age without a prescription.
The order overturned a 2011 decision by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to require a prescription for girls under 17.

The FDA said it couldn't comment because it is an ongoing legal mater.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommended last year that oral contraceptives be sold over the counter in an effort to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies in the United States. Opponents of prescription requirements say prescriptions can delay access to the drug.
In 2011, Teva Woman's Health Inc, maker of Plan B One-Step, had asked the FDA to make the drug available without prescription to all sexually active girls and women. Sebelius overruled that recommendation, saying "I do not believe enough data were presented to support the application."
On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman said, "The decisions of the Secretary with respect to Plan B One-Step and that of the FDA with respect to the Citizen Petition, which it had no choice but to deny, were arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable."
Friday's order came in response to a lawsuit launched by the Center for Reproductive Rights....
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Devastating Job Numbers Undermine Rationale for ‘Immigration Reform’

Stand With Arizona ^ | 04-05-2013 | John Hill

Welcome Back Carter: U.S. workforce participation rate collapses to level not seen since 1979.
So why again do we need millions of foreign workers added to the labor market?

by John Hill
Stand With Arizona
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Even Obama-defenders admit it: this morning's employment number was a "punch to the gut". So said former Obama chief economic adviser Austin Goolsbee on CNBC.
No way to spin it. Job gains were only 88,000 - below even the lowest Wall St. estimate of 100k - the biggest miss in estimates since December 2009, and the lowest job growth in 10 months. Worse still was the collapse in the labor force participation rate, which declined to 63.3% - the lowest since the depths of the Jimmy Carter abyss in 1979.
These are depressing stats, to be sure. But beyond that, they also undermine the rationale for proponents of "comprehensive immigration reform" to introduce more than 10 million illegal aliens into the legal workforce, and to add on top of that an additional 400,000 in low-skilled foreign workers every year.
Why should we add millions of foreign laborers and illegal alien- many with criminal records - to the labor market at a time when we have a record number of Americans on welfare and food stamps?
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said it best...

"We have a group of our Senators meeting in secret....plotting right now to pass us an 'immigration reform' plan...You know what they tell us? 'We've got to have more foreign workers.' Yet we've never had more people on welfare, never had more people on food stamps..."
And of course millions of Americans - particularly poor whites, Blacks and legal Hispanics - are already out of work because they are being squeezed out of the labor market by illegal aliens in the workplace. And that is before any illegal alien amnesty.
So if we really want to create jobs, wouldn't we be focused on reforming welfare, cracking down on illegal aliens in the workplace, and securing the borders instead of diluting wages by importing millions more foreign workers? Of course. Yet the Obama Administration is instead watering down work requirements under welfare; has slashed workplace enforcement by more than 70%, and border security is a mere afterthought for the architects of amnesty.
This morning's job numbers should be a wake-up call to all Americans and their representatives in Washington. SLOW DOWN. Take a real look at how the tens of millions of illegal aliens are harming American workers, and take real steps to make sure businesses cannot flout existing laws and hire illegal alien workers without consequences. America needs national E-Verify, Arizona-style employer sanctions with teeth, real border security, full funding of the Secure Fence Act (2006); and tightened up rules for welfare to put more Americans back in the workforce.
Finally, let's take a look at what's happening in our neighbor to the South. Mexico's economy is doing just fine. Their unemployment rate in February was 4.85% - near our best rate in the past 20 years. Mexico is the 10th richest nation on Earth, with a state-owned oil and minerals monopoly, state-owned tourist beaches, and boasts the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim Helú. How is Mexico able to do so well? Because they export their poorest citizens to the United States - their outsourced welfare state. And those workers take jobs from Americans and legal immigrants, but also drain our social services - with 57% of illegal alien Mexicans on at least one form of welfare. And not only does Mexico drain our economy by inundating us with its poorest, but its also reaps the benefits from those workers in America. Mexico gets back a staggering $25 billion annually in “remittances” – cash sent back from its illegals who work (and collect welfare) in the U.S.
Why are we continuing to subsidize the Mexican economy with open borders, and an open labor market for their lawbreaking citizens? And why on Earth would we make the situation even worse with amnesty for 20+ million illegal aliens?
Let's get America back to work, and stop helping Mexico's economy at the expense of our own.

Arizona is sovereign land, House tells US and UN

Arizona Daily Star ^ | Howard Fischer | Capital Media Services

PHOENIX - If the federal government wants to lock up U.S. citizens without trial it should not count on Arizona to cooperate, the state House announced Thursday.
Lawmakers also voted to have the United Nations butt out of trying to affect Arizona laws and policies. And the House agreed to have the state take the first steps to recognize privately minted gold and silver coins as legal tender in anticipation of the collapse of the dollar.
Underlying all these actions is the argument that Arizona is a sovereign state, and the votes stake out a position to defend that sovereignty.
The first part of HB 2573 deals with two sections of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which give President Obama the authority "to use all necessary and appropriate force" to detain certain people without trial. That includes not only those who planned or aided in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but anyone who "substantially supported al-Qaida, the Taliban or associated forces."
It includes U.S. citizens and provides for military trials.
Rep. Carl Seel, R-Phoenix, said states work with the federal government all the time to implement federal law, which he said makes it necessary for the Legislature, which sets policy, to spell out when such cooperation will be withheld.
Seel acknowledged he has no evidence Arizona is in any way helping the federal government detain U.S. citizens. But he said the legislation remains necessary.
"Every public officer is required to uphold the Constitution not only of the United States or, in our case, the state of Arizona as well," he said. Seel said this legislation "best reflects preserving, where possible, the individual civil liberties."
While no one debated that section of the measure, there was significant opposition, largely from Democrats - to the other part, which says state and local governments cannot recognize the United Nations or any of its declarations as legal authority here.
"Fundamentally, what this language points to is to make sure the federal government does not infringe on the civil liberties of the individuals of this state," Seel said. That includes the resolutions of the United Nations, including the 1992 Rio Declaration on environment and development, as well as any future resolutions.
But House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, said there's nothing to fear.
For example, he said one provision of the Rio Declaration says human beings are at the center of development. Another says countries have a sovereign right to exploit their own resources.
At one point Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, suggested this part of the legislation, which already has been approved by the Senate, was part of the agenda of the "black helicopter caucus," a derogatory phrase used by those who poke fun at individuals who fear a national or international military force taking control.
But Seel cited another section of the Rio Declaration that says environmental protection must be an integral part of sustainable development. He said that means considering issues from a global versus local impact standpoint. Seel said he finds that "offensive."
Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, said she sees the measure as affirming U.S. and Arizona sovereignty.
"I can't imagine anyone in this room who would be a proponent of us ceding that authority to the United Nations for any reason," he said.
Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, said nothing in the legislation keeps Arizona from adopting environmental standards or anything that is similar to what the U.N. wants.
"It says that we are not subservient to the U.N., and the U.N. does not control the United States or any of its political subdivisions or states or their political subdivisions," he said.
The measure on coins is based on arguments that Arizona needs to be prepared to let businesses recognize gold and silver as legal tender should the need arise.
During legislative hearings, supporters of SB 1439 said the value of the dollar cannot be counted on. But they said precious metals have a value that has withstood all types of economic cycles.
The U.S. Constitution bars states from minting their own coins. But supporters say this does not preclude states from recognizing the value of coins that are produced by private mints.
Nothing in the measure requires businesses to accept the coins.
Both measures need Senate approval.

Top 5 Weirdest Items Confiscated by the TSA

April 5th, 2013 by Lady Liberty | Posted in Other TSA News | No Comments

We all know what jackbooted thugs TSA agents can be. Between the gropings and stopping the insidious smuggling of toothpaste, peanut butter and more than 3 oz. of just about any liquid, it’s a wonder that they have time for anything else.
Every year, the TSA confiscates hundreds of thousands of items. Last year alone, over 880,000 items were confiscated or recovered after being left behind. Some of these items are dangerous, some are illegal, and some are just plain weird.

This is my Top 5 list of the weirdest items confiscated by the TSA.
TSA Snakes on a PlaneSnakes (and Turtles) on a Plane
In August 2011, TSA agents at Miami International Airport found 7 baby snakes and 3 turtles stashed inside a male passenger’s pants. While the turtles were kept corralled inside a pair of women’s stockings, I can only assume that the snakes were allowed to roam free inside the man’s drawers.
According to the TSA, the unfortunate critters were discovered imaging technology. U.S. Fish and Wildlife were called and took possession of the reptiles.
Can you imagine the look on the TSA agent’s face when they looked at the man’s imaging scan and saw a little baby Cthulu in his pants?

Pistol Concealed in a PenGo Ahead, Punk. Click My Bic!
OK, I know that was bad. My apologies to Mr. Clint Eastwood.
In November 2012, TSA agents found an unloaded “pen pistol” in the carry-on bag of a passenger at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown, PA. Apparently, the passenger claimed it was just a pen, but then later admitted that it was, indeed, a gun.

TSA Confiscates Steampunk WatchSteampunk Art or IED?
This is probably the coolest item on this list.
In November 2012 (what was it about November last year?), this vaguely Steampunk looking wrist watch was discovered in a passenger’s carry-on and confiscated by TSA agents at Oakland International Airport (OAK).
TSA’s explosive detection team was called in and the watch was examined and eventually cleared, but law enforcement decided to go ahead and arrest the passenger anyway.

TSA Denies Entry Due to Chastity BeltThis is Really Going to Chafe…
In November 2010, TSA agents at Denver International Airport got quite a surprise when a woman, after refusing a full-body scan, was subject to a pat-down. During the pat-down, the woman was found to be wearing a Victorian-era metal chastity belt.
The virtuous passenger refused to unlock the device and so was denied entry into the country.
“Dang, it must be pretty precious for her to lock it away like that,” Arl Humperdinck, a TSA official told Fox News.

TSA Find Fish in Suitcase1 Fish, 2 Fish, Suitcase of Taboo Fish
In September 2011, TSA agents screening checked baggage at LAX discovered a passenger trying to smuggle live fish in his luggage.
After one of the passenger’s suitcases set off the explosives detection system alarm, further screening revealed FOUR hard-sided suitcases, lined with plastic and filled with water and live fish swimming around just as happy as you please.
Apparently, the passenger purchased the fish at a local pet store and wanted to bring them home with him. In all, over 240 fish of different types and sizes were discovered.

Making the Case to Not Join the Military

April 5, 2013 By  

untitledThere is no logical reason or benefit today for any young man or woman to take the OATH of Enlistment to join a branch of the military; to support and defend the U.S. Constitution. I will make my case as to why I believe this is so. Hideously corrupt wicked evil individuals in state and federal governments seek this very hour to destroy your Rights guaranteed by the Constitution. You may or may not agree with my premise, but I have already convinced numerous individuals to not join Military service due to these deliberate destructive means.
The branches of the military have sacrificed their very core principles of which they were founded so many years ago in their creation. The initial destructive blow against the Constitution was committed by Congress and Senate by allowing gays and lesbians into these once great institutions. The great lie being spread now is that gay policies are working; which is nothing more than a blatant last ditch attempt to keep many from leaving military service and to keep the steady flow of bodies for their future illegal wars. The evil is set in and these once great institutions are on a death spiral to oblivion.
I call on all young men and women of this once great land of ours; gone are the days of HONOR emanating from our once great military institutions and traditions. The country is spiraling towards certain demise all at the hands of democrat and republican liberal illegal policies. The new target of attack by these anti-Americans is on our Second Amendment Right. Illegal gun control laws are spreading deliberately and illegally like cancer siphoning off what’s left of the life the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights so many have sworn to up hold.
NO longer should you young men and women enter into service of this country where evil wicked individuals seek to take away the very rights given you by God. I have given several very important reasons for you to think about that are sound and true. I’m not here to convince you; I’m here to get you to open your eyes and mind to realize you have a choice. There is absolutely 100% no reason to join the military only to be sent off to fight a politician’s illegal dirty little war in another country all the while having your Rights stripped from you back here at home.
My stern and careful warnings come from none other who knows what you are facing as you wonder out into this ever changing world to face corrupt individuals and their crimes. These same individuals’ lies proliferate about military grandeur, money for college, seeing the world, etc…but these will get you no where in the long run. Democrat and Republican liberal policies are destroying everything; especially our Constitutional Rights and Freedoms here at home. Do not allow yourselves to be led astray by anyone especially family, friends, military recruiters and the like. Recruiters will lie and tell you what you think you ought to hear and anything else just to keep their quota and the government fed with endless bodies for their massive military machine which could care less about you in the end.
I am a United States Marine and my life experiences have shaped me into the Marine who served HONORABLY for God, Family, Marine Corps, and Country. I have never waivered from it. You must make your own way and your decisions wisely with no room for influence of others who only seek your downfall. Do not allow yourself to be meat for the meat grinder. Joining the military is very hazardous to your Constitutional Rights and this is evident today more than ever with gun control.
Listen and listen carefully, the democrat and republican elite never send their sons or daughters to war although they are responsible for the decisions that lead to it. Now they seek to take away the very Rights and Freedoms you hold dear and fought for. Do I think I can slow down if not interrupt enlistment into the military? I hope so due to the fact of what is taking place illegally in our country today by liberals seeking her downfall.

Ted Cruz vows total repeal, no piecemeal fixes for failed ObamaCare

Investor's Business Daily ^ | April 4, 2013 | Andrew Malcolm

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has called for the complete legislative repeal of ObamaCare and its replacement by comprehensive healthcare reforms that actually increase patient choice, decrease the role of government bureaucrats and disconnect health insurance from employment.
"If you lose your job," Cruz said, "you don't lose your house, life or car insurance. They go with you wherever you go." It should be the same for health insurance.
In a wide-ranging exclusive interview with IBD's weekly M&M podcast, the Texas freshman said, "Our first priority is repealing ObamaCare and repealing it in its entirety. The program isn't working." And he added, it's already killing jobs, curtailing work hours and benefits.
The complete Cruz audio podcast is available here, Episode No. 100, involving the two regular hosts, Andrew Malcolm, IBD's national politics columnist, and Melissa Clouthier of Liberty Pundits.
Cruz is a 42-year-old political neophyte (senator is his first elected office) who rode to an upset GOP primary runoff and a general election victory last year on a potent collective wave of dissatisfaction with status quo political forces in the Lone Star state and beyond.
The Princeton cum laude graduate credits the Tea Party, Sarah Palin and the conservative blogosphere with his win. But the fact is, like someone else who once was in the Senate and moved on to higher office, Cruz has earned a reputation for eloquence and clear communication of complex ideas. These are skills honed as Texas' first Hispanic solicitor general, in private practice and teaching Supreme Court litigation at the University of Texas.....
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts: Is Dr. Ben Carson ‘Just a Black Sarah Palin’?

Newsbusters ^ | April 4, 2013 | Paul Bremmer

Liberals remain fearful of the rising political star of Dr. Ben Carson, and they are on the lookout for any possible way to undermine him. On last Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, MSNBC fill-in host Thomas Roberts did his part by comparing Carson to the Left’s favorite target of ridicule. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Roberts was talking to Republican strategist Joe Watkins about recent controversial statements made by Dr. Carson and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska). Watkins thoroughly denounced both of the insensitive statements in no uncertain terms. But then Roberts followed up by essentially dismissing Dr. Carson:
"Joe, explain though, why do we care what Dr. Carson says? He’s somebody that doesn't have ambition for a political career, at least the last time I saw him talk about a political career, he says he doesn't want one, he’s more interested in a TV show. So is he just a black Sarah Palin basically, a fire thrower?"
Now that is a surefire way to turn liberals and moderates against Dr. Carson: compare him to the ultimate conservative punching bag, a woman who has been practically ridiculed right out of politics by left-wing mudslingers. However, the comparison is silly. Dr. Carson is an incredibly gifted and intelligent man, who, as a career neurosurgeon, is a novice to politics. As someone who lifted himself out of inner-city poverty through hard work and an insatiable curiosity fueled by his mother inculcating in him a love of reading, he cannot be easily dismissed as a dumb conservative. What's more, Carson's pointed, principled, but scrupulously polite criticisms of President Obama’s policies cannot be dismissed as partisan pyrotechnics.
But there is more that’s wrong with Roberts’ comment. First of all, he asked Watkins, “Why do we care what Dr. Carson says?”(continued)
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

It's "I Told You So" on ObamaCare

Real Clear Politics ^ | March 6, 2013 | Jonah Goldberg

"What we've learned through the course of this program is that this is really not a sensible way for the healthcare system to be run."
That was Gary Cohen, director of the Department of Health and Human Services' Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, talking. He was specifically responding to the apparently surprising need to halt enrollments in a program designed as a temporary bridge for people with preexisting conditions who couldn't wait until the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) fully kicks in next year. The program was allocated $5 billion, but some estimate it will take $40 billion to fund the effort.
Such surprises are becoming routine. The New York Times has reported that many small and mid-size firms may be opting out of Obamacare entirely. "The new healthcare law created powerful incentives for smaller employers to self-insure," Deborah J. Chollet of the Mathematica Policy Research told the paper. "This trend could destabilize small-group insurance markets and erode protections provided by the Affordable Care Act."
It turns out that Obamacare actually makes self-insurance less of a gamble because you can always throw workers on public exchanges without penalty. Naturally, the administration's response is to look for ways to tighten the ratchet and make self-insurance harder. It's a typical response. The shortcomings of a wildly ambitious law only justify more regulatory strong-arming.
As Yuval Levin of the Ethics and Public Policy Center notes, the NYT never paused to ask why it's OK that "a design flaw in the law somehow empowers" regulators to punish private employers. But this is typical of so much coverage of Obamacare. It is just taken for granted that thing must be made to work.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

EXCLUSIVE: ACLU says Reid’s gun legislation could threaten privacy rights, civil liberties

Daily Caller ^ | April 4, 2013 | Vince Coglianese

As Senate Democrats struggle to build support for new gun control legislation, the American Civil Liberties Union now says it’s among those who have “serious concerns” about the bill.
Those concerns have the capacity to prove a major setback to Sen. Harry Reid’s current gun bill, which includes language from earlier bills introduced by Sens. Chuck Schumer and Barbara Boxer.
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, a top lobbyist for the ACLU announced that the group thinks Reid’s current gun bill could threaten both privacy rights and civil liberties.
The inclusion of universal background checks — the poll-tested lynchpin of most Democratic proposals — “raises two significant concerns,” the ACLU’s Chris Calabrese told TheDC Wednesday.
Calabrese wouldn’t characterize the current legislation’s record-keeping provision as a “national gun registry” — which the White House has denied pursuing — but he did say that such a registry could be “a second step.”
“[U]nfortunately, we have seen in the past that the creation of these types of records leads sometimes to the creation of government databases and collections of personal information on all of us,” Calabrese warned. “That’s not an inevitable result, but we have seen that happen in the past, certainly.”
“As we’ve seen with many large government databases, if you build it, they will come.”
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

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GOP keeps distance from NRA (GOP sprinting towards irrelevancy)

The Hill ^ | 04/05/13 | Russell Berman

Republican lawmakers have kept their distance from the National Rifle Association during the debate over gun laws in Congress, even as many have echoed the powerful lobby’s arguments against President Obama’s agenda.
While polls suggest more than half the country approves of the NRA, the aggressive approach by its outspoken vice president, Wayne LaPierre, has led to some criticism of the group — and claims by some Republicans that they could be hurt by association.
“The NRA has made it more difficult for members to vote with them based on their statements,” said former Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.), a centrist Republican who received an “F” rating from the group when he served in the House. “They look so stubborn, so out of touch with the mood of the country.”
Yet the NRA's approach has also been effective: Obama has struggled to win GOP support for legislation to expand background checks on gun purchases and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Republicans leading the charge against the president’s gun-control proposals are not touting their alliance with the NRA, and they have not endorsed LaPierre’s call for Congress to appropriate funds to put armed guards in schools across the country. But they have built a bulwark against efforts by gun control advocates to win far-reaching changes to gun laws, despite the national shock of the Newtown, Conn. elementary school killings that left 20 five- and six-year-olds dead.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) last week won majority support in the Senate for his non-binding budget amendment calling for any gun legislation to require a two-thirds majority for passage. He received the NRA’s endorsement in 2010, and along with Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) he is vowing to try to block gun legislation from even coming to the Senate floor.
“While they certainly wind up on the same side of the aisle a lot of the time, the senator comes at this from both a Constitutional and public safety perspective,” Lee spokesman Brian Phillips said. “It’s not like he’s been sitting down and reading NRA materials to determine what he believes. He knows what he believes.”
Phillips said he did not know whether Lee backed LaPierre’s proposal for federally funded guards in every school. “To the extent that they can drive attention to an issue, that’s helpful,” he said.
The NRA is a popular ally for Republicans and many Democrats during campaign season, when candidates in rural and conservative districts vie for the endorsement of the organization’s political arm. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) appeared with LaPierre at an event touting the opening of a new shooting range in Nevada during his re-election campaign in 2010. The gun group contributed about $650,000 to 261 House and Senate candidates in 2012, with 90 percent going to Republicans, according to an analysis by the Washington Post.
The organization has taken a public relations hit, however, in the months since the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. LaPierre drew criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for a defiant speech he delivered weeks after the shooting, during which he rejected calls for new gun restrictions, made his proposal for armed guards in schools and blamed the media and Hollywood for violence in American culture.
Polls taken since the shooting and after LaPierre’s public statement have shown a dip in the NRA’s public image, although a majority of respondents, 54 percent, still held a favorable opinion of the group in a late December Gallup survey.
Vice President Biden has argued that the politics of gun control have changed in the nearly two decades since Congress passed an assault weapons ban, which was blamed in part for the Democrats’ loss of their majorities in the House and Senate in 1994. Yet with the passage of any new gun restrictions in doubt, Biden’s analysis could prove erroneous.
“If it’s changed, it’s changed slightly,” said Shays, who is now at the University of New Haven after losing a bid for the Republican nomination for Senate in Connecticut last year.
While Democrats will eye the fallout in a general election matchup, Republicans now worry about a primary challenge if they support gun-control measures, Shays said. “In the end, I think members will do real calculation on whether this vote will cost them the election,” he said.
Although Republicans are not lining up to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with LaPierre, the NRA’s vaunted lobbying influence, now being tested by a group financed by billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), has always been strongest behind the scenes.
The chief argument from Republicans opposed to a universal background check system — that it would lead to a national gun registry — is the same one the NRA has made in its public statements and advertisements.
Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) received an endorsement and $9,900 in total donations from the NRA in 2012, tied for the most the group gave to any House Republican in that election. In a statement to The Hill, Renacci made no mention of the NRA. He said he was “heartbroken” by the tragedy at Sandy Hook but that when it came to gun legislation, “any restrictions on our Second Amendment rights must be narrowly tailored and meet the strictest standard of scrutiny our judiciary can apply.”
Renacci spokesman Shawn Ryan noted that the NRA endorsed his opponent during a congressional race in 2010 but that the congressman’s views on the Second Amendment are the same now as then. “While Jim is proud to have earned the support of the NRA in 2012, his strong belief in the Second Amendment is clearly independent of the decisions made by the NRA,” Ryan said. “Jim’s lawmaking decisions are guided by the Constitution, his conscience and his constituents – not by special interest groups.”
A spokesman for the NRA did not respond to a request for comment.