Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Forget Gold, .22 Ammo up More than 400% Include in IRA?

breitbart ^ | 6/11/13 | a hawkins

While many individuals have looked at precious metals for moderate gains and even some losses over the last year, the combination of base metals like lead and brass have seen an incredible return--particularly when those base metals are combined to form .22 ammunition. Think about it--from one year ago until now, .22 ammunition is up over 400%. It was approximately $21 to $23 per 500 rounds in May 2012, and it's now $100 to $135 for 500 rounds.
.22 ammunition has been easy to find and cheap to buy for decades. For this reason, .22 rifles and pistols have long been among some of most popular firearms in America. In fact, the first gun I ever shot was my dad's High Standard Double Nine .22 revolver and the first firearm I owned was a Marlin model 60 .22 rifle.
But following Obama's re-election,there arose a sense of uncertainty among gun owners. And this lead to moderate runs on ammo. Then President Obama and other gun control advocates came out in force following the heinous crime at Sandy Hook Elementary, and .22 ammunition was literally sucked off the shelves.
Not only is it now 400% higher than it was a year ago, but it's so scarce that when stores get a shipment of it they typically limit sales to one or two 50 round boxes per customer. And buying a full brick of 500 rounds anywhere but online is almost unheard of.
Historically precious metals have been a great hedge in uncertain economic times. But lead and brass may be making a comeback.
(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...

Rand Paul: We Fought a Revolution Over Behavior Like the NSA's

Town Hall ^ | June 11, 2013 | Katie Pavlich

In an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal yesterday evening, Senator Rand Paul outlined how vast NSA surveillance of hundreds of millions of Americans is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. He also reminded readers that the Founding Fathers fought a revolution over this type of behavior....cue John McCain calling him a whacko bird again in 3...2...1...
These activities violate the Fourth Amendment, which says warrants must be specific—"particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." And what is the government doing with these records? The president assures us that the government is simply monitoring the origin and length of phone calls, not eavesdropping on their contents. Is this administration seriously asking us to trust the same government that admittedly targets political dissidents through the Internal Revenue Service and journalists through the Justice Department?
No one objects to balancing security against liberty. No one objects to seeking warrants for targeted monitoring based on probable cause. We've always done this.
What is objectionable is a system in which government has unlimited and privileged access to the details of our private affairs, and citizens are simply supposed to trust that there won't be any abuse of power. This is an absurd expectation. Americans should trust the National Security Agency as much as they do the IRS and Justice Department.
Monitoring the records of as many as a billion phone calls, as some news reports have suggested, is no modest invasion of privacy. It is an extraordinary invasion of privacy. We fought a revolution over issues like generalized warrants, where soldiers would go from house to house, searching anything they liked. Our lives are now so digitized that the government going from computer to computer or phone to phone is the modern equivalent of the same type of tyranny that our Founders rebelled against.
In addition to pointing out why secret monitoring is a violation of American rights, Paul makes one very important and crucial point.
I also believe that trolling through millions of phone records hampers the legitimate protection of our security. The government sifts through mountains of data yet still didn't notice, or did not notice enough, that one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects was traveling to Chechnya. Perhaps instead of treating every American as a potential terror suspect the government should concentrate on more targeted analysis.
What an idea! We've heard everyone from John McCain to President Obama defend vast NSA monitoring, but the fact is, that same monitoring didn't prevent Boston. Not to mention, while the Obama administration defends the program, it is also saying large scale attacks are no longer a threat and that al Qaeda is "on the run."

The Totalitarianism at the Heart of the Obama Scandals

FrontPage Magazine ^ | June 10, 2013 | Mark Tapson
- FrontPage Magazine - http://frontpagemag.com -

The Obama administration’s legs are wobbling under the weight of so many scandals lately that whole chunks of the edifice – the IRS, the NSA, the DOJ – are threatening to implode, particularly without support from the normally adoring media. Even the New York Times – theNew York Times! – is no longer willing to bolster an administration whose totalitarian urges have been exposed to the light.
Let’s begin with the Internal Revenue Service’s thuggish targeting of conservative groups. From April 2010 to April 2012, the IRS placed on hold the processing of applications for tax-exempt status received from organizations with such presumably conservative indicators as “Tea Party,” “patriots,” or “9/12” in their names, approving only four while green-lighting applications from several dozen organizations whose names included the likely left-leaning terms “progressive,” “progress,” “liberal,” or “equality.” It demanded from some conservative organizations unwieldy amounts of documentation and private information, such as what books their members were reading or what they had posted on social networking sites. The Coalition for Life of Iowa was actually asked to detail the content of their prayers at meetings. The Cincinnati office of the IRS leaked confidential donor information from some conservative applications to an investigative reporting organization. Even some conservative individuals are now alleging that they were personally targeted by the IRS for political reasons. Mark Steyn correctly labeled this abuse “a scale of depravity hitherto unknown to the tax authorities of the United States.”
Then Obama’s sycophantic press itself discovered to their dismay that Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department secretly collected telephone records for April and May of 2012 from as many as twenty of the Associated Press wire service’s reporters and editors, in relation to an apparent leak to the AP about an al Qaeda plot in Yemen. For the first time, Obama’s fanboys among the media found themselves on the wrong end of his political bullying, and they didn’t like how it felt.
In further persecution of media figures who aren’t sufficiently obsequious, Holder signed off on a search warrant identifying Fox News reporter James Rosen as a “possible co-conspirator” in violations of the Espionage Act. The warrant authorized seizure of Rosen’s private emails. Holder and Obama later half-heartedly reassured the press that reporters would never be arrested for “doing their job” (meaning they’ll be fine as long as they continue to provide cover for the Obama regime), but the media got the intimidating subtext.
Let’s not forget the ongoing saga of the Benghazi cover-up, although certainly the Obama administration would like for us to do so. “What difference at this point does it make?” Hillary Clinton snarled in response to questions about her involvement. “Benghazi happened a long time ago,” Obama’s press secretary Jay Carney said dismissively when pressed about whistleblowers being prevented from testifying. This administration would prefer, in true totalitarian fashion, for the whole embarrassing debacle to simply disappear down the “memory hole” George Orwell wrote about in 1984.
Then of course the National Security Agency was caught recently collecting the telephone records of millions of Verizon customers. But the intrusive secret data-mining didn’t end there. Through a top-secret communications surveillance program called PRISM, instituted during the War on Terror years of the Bush administration, the U.S. intelligence community can access the servers of nine Internet behemoths such as Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Skype and Facebook for a wide range of digital data. That NSA service has grown exponentially under Obama, which is curious since he declared the War on Terror to be over.
And most recently, it has come to light that the Environmental Protection Agency displayed political bias when charging fees to groups seeking information via Freedom of Information Act requests. Research by a conservative think tank showed that the EPA waived fees for documents requested by left-leaning groups about 90 percent of the time, while denying fee waivers to conservative counterparts about 90 percent of the time.
So much for the administration that promised transparency. But such behavior is entirely consistent with the power-hungry nature of Obama and his cronies. Remember, this is a cabal of Alinskyites who possess an open resentment of and frustration with the Constitution, the “flawed,” “living document” that throws up roadblocks to their totalitarian agenda. They have made no secret of their lack of respect for the First Amendment, working as they have in concert with the Muslim Brotherhood to criminalize criticism of Islam. They have made no secret of their lack of respect for the Second Amendment, working as they are toward the de facto banning of private gun ownership.
What lies at the heart of these scandals – actually, “scandal,” implying merely naughty behavior, doesn’t adequately describe what these transgressions are: criminal and politically abusive activities – is that they confirm the totalitarian mindset of this supposedly “liberal” administration and reflect the validity of our motto at FrontPage Magazine: “Inside Every Liberal Is A Totalitarian Screaming To Get Out.” The Obama White House is brimming with political bullies who secretly and illegally surveil and target opponents among the media and “average” American citizens. That is the totalitarian way.
Let’s be clear about the misnomer “liberal,” which implies a political philosophy advocating personal freedom. But self-proclaimed liberals are actually very uncomfortable with the notion of individual freedom. After all, if people are free to make their own choices in life, they will very likely make ones that the left doesn’t agree with; better to have an authoritarian government to step in and make the correct choices for you that you can’t be trusted to make for yourself.
From Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s obsession with eliminating choice from the lives of New Yorkers, to the IRS punishing people for their politics, “liberals” have a very illiberal compulsion to control every aspect of your existence, not too dissimilar from the way in which sharia dictates every aspect of a fundamentalist Muslim’s life. Our side needs to be as conscious of the power of language as the left has been for the past several decades. Terminology matters. The left is not liberal, it’s totalitarian, and it’s time we call it like it is and do so relentlessly.

The Police State of Obamaville

Flopping Aces ^ | 06-11-13 | Vince

When people think of a police state, they usually think of heavily armed, uniformed police kicking in doors and dragging out family members in the dark of the night. A police state doesn’t require police kicking down your door… at least not in the beginning, particularly when one is evolving from some other form of government, say for instance a constitutional republic. I’m not sure any police state ever came about as a result of some politician saying “When I get elected I’m going to use various elements of the government to take away your civil liberties, oppress my opponents and crush any opposition.” Typically dictators come to power promising to restore order amidst chaos or empowering the people against a tyrannical or corrupt regime. Putin was seen as bringing order to a crumbling Russia while Castro led a revolt against the corrupt Batista and Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew a hated monarch.
But this is the United States and by definition it could never become a police state.
But just for argument’s sake, let’s imagine someone had designs on becoming a dictator and wanted to turn the US into a police state, what kinds of things might be helpful? Obviously no dictator worth his salt wants to have opponents running around shining a light on his actions or stirring up the population against him or his policies. If only there was a way to keep opponents quiet. One way might be to choke off their funding by keeping them from raising much money and by intimidating their supporters. Check and check!
Of course, what good is being dictator if you can’t listen in to what subversive things people are saying about you… or anything else? Not much. As such it would be great to have a program where the government could listen in on every single phone conversation going on in the entire country… Not just when citizens are talking to known terrorists overseas, but simply when they are talking, period.. Check! But young people barely talk on the phone anymore… all they do is text, so you’d want to make sure you can see what’s going on there too.Check!
Unfortunately for you, every conversation in the country doesn’t occur on a phone as sometimes people still actually talk face to face. You might consider placing listening devices everywhere so you could listen in on those conversations too. Not likely however given the logistical nightmare it would be. If only there were a way to use their phones as listening devices, even when they’re turned off. Check! And maybe you could use the phone’s GPS data to track where everyone was at any point in time… and who they were with. Check!
As popular as talking on the phone is, people still spend a lot of time on computers at home. You’d probably want to have a program that allows you to monitor virtually everything anyone does online. Check!
Of course there is more to life than just what people say to one another.
It might also be helpful if you could make it so that a big portion of the population were dependent upon a check from the government (i.e. you), that way you could use that dependency as a tool with which to keep people in line and to whip up populist sentiment against anyone who was seeking to oppose your policies. Check!
(Excerpt) Read more at floppingaces.net...

Tim Tebow's reported signing with Patriots puts QB in perfect position

Yahoo ^ | 6-10-2013 | Dan Wetzel

The strange part of the circus that surrounds Tim Tebow's every move – including reports Monday that he's going to sign with the New England Patriots – is that he does so little to keep it alive.
He doesn't court the media. He doesn't say outlandish things. He doesn't complain about coaching decisions or teammates. He doesn't publicly beg for another chance. Even the quarterback's outward displays of faith (Tebowing, for instance) are nothing that dozens of other NFL players don't do each week after scoring a touchdown.
Tebow is a good soldier, a young player who never said he was as good as his fans claim or publicly ripped into his critics. He, even during his star turn with the Denver Broncos in 2011, always claimed he was just looking to get better.
The circus never cared. His supporters never stopped pushing, his detractors never stopped blasting and the media never stopped feeding that ratings-gold beast.
And it nearly crushed his career.
So now it's New England. Now it's Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. And now for Tebow it's the perfect place and the perfect opportunity at the absolute most desperate of times.
No one pulls the stakes out from under the big top like Belichick.

(Excerpt) Read more at sports.yahoo.com ...

Truth, Snowden and the Surveillance State

The Death of the Grown-Up ^ | 6/11/2012 | Diana West

On November 14, 2002, the late, great New York Times columnist William Safire wrote a column called "You Are a Suspect." It is posted below, an early signpost to our current state of dislocation and upset.
It is dislocating and upsetting to be confronted with the Edward Snowden leaks: the leaked court order, the leaked logistical scope of what is being aptly labeled the Surveillance State. This what Safire predicted would be foisted on Us, the People. We are told it is The Only Means Possible to prevent "another 9/11."
The mendacity of this rationale is as appalling as the totalitarian structure of the hyper-state it supports.
Yesterday, I focused on the failures of former NSA and CIA chief Michael Hayden to comprehend the quite simple patterns of Islamic conquest that history is replete with, that our own era is undergoing, that Western civlization is being transformed by. Why would an intel chief draw such blanks? One reason might be hostile Islamic penetration of the policy-making chain, which appears to have influenced key actors inside our government. Congress blindly, resolutely refuses to examine any evidence of this. Rep. Michele Bachmann's political career seems to have cratered after and because she quite logically and patriotically asked for Inspectors General outside Congress to examine the evidence and was demonized as a second coming of Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
Another wrong on its face, as my new book, American Betrayal, argues.
Hayden, of course, is not alone. Indeed, he exemplifies the hollowness at the very top of our security bureacracies: FBI Director Mueller, DNI Clapper, JCC Dempsey, DHS Secretary Napolitano. CIA Director John Brennan, overtly sympathetic and even protective of Islam, is another bird entirely. He may well be a Muslim himself.
Under the fundamentally flawed guidance of such hollow people, a terrifying super-state has arisen to defend their beliefs, their ideology, not the Constitution.
It doesn't protect the public, either, although this is the rationale that is supposed to excuse the "overreach."
If US leaders had really wanted to prevent another 9/11, they would have admitted the obvious: that the world of Islam, from its terrorists to its kings, is engaged in the latest cycle of jihad to extend the reach of Islamic law (sharia). To protect the US Constitutuon they would then have taken wartime (anti-jihad) precautions accordingly. For starters, these would include securing our borders; halting Islamic immigration and travel, canceling Islamic education visas, barring return-travel from jihad nations such as Chechnya, Pakistan, etc.; preventing US institutions, including colleges, media organizations and banks, from accepting money from sharia-ruled dictatorships; closing down mosques where jihad is preached and supported.
Not a single phone call or email would thus have to be read to fend off jihad and the vectors of sharia aimed at the heart of the US Constitution.
But such measures would undermine the prevailing, Marx-derived ideology that has poisoned the wellspring of every American institution, from academia to churches to the family unit itself. This is an ideology that knows no partisan bounds. It is as prevalent on the "right" and it is on the "left."
How this ideology triumphed is the story of American Betrayal.
In the secretive and powerful hands of our ideologically zealous leaders, facts play acolytes to Marx-inspired ideology. Some facts are picked, some are discarded, but always to strengthen the ideology. This is how The Big Lie lives. We know it as "universalism" -- the concept that all peoples, religions, cultures are the same -- but this is an undisguised precept of global Communism. Consciously or not, everything our leaders do serves to advance this Marx-derived orthodoxy, from sending young men to lose their body parts on IED-studded Afghan roads to prove we are all the same, to shredding the Constitution at home to prove we are all the same.
The peoples of the world are not all the same. Indeed, some peoples, some cultures, some religions, are our enemies because they are hostile to our liberty.
Why is this so hard to understand? This is also the story of my book, which is subtitled, The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character.
On September 11, 2001, a ticket-taker at Logan Airport did not need to mine the meta-data on three billion electronic phone calls and comunications to know that she should be looking more closely into the i.d.'s of several Arab men about to board a plane who were acting oddly. What we know as "political correctness" -- pure Marxian mental conditioning -- however, made her suppress her survival instincts, her logic processes, and say "Have a nice flight" instead. A dozen years later, "profiling" is considered worse than terrorism and we all routinely strip naked electronically for TSA and consider ourselves protected.
Progress? You bet. Only not for "the people" as a nation of individuals. But we are more and more identifying with the collective. Collective safety. Collective security. Funny how both Marx and Mohammed founded collectivist creeds. Actually, it's not funny at all. The similarities are profound -- and alarming (also in American Betrayal).
Islam rises alongside our collectivist Superstate. Mosques prolierate in this country, sharia advances, the superstate flexes, freedom of speech constricts, policing becomes more thuggish, the superstate stockpiles bullets, crowd control becomes more restrictive, fear grows, privacy is extinct, the superstate imposes, requires, invades, provides, rewards, punishes, socializes medicine, targets individuals, covers up everything, ramps up the IRS for your "health," tracks your electronic life, your phone calls, your travel, your mail.
Snowden strikes, grabs our attention about what we should have known was happening.
It was a gigantic act of courage, it has struck me so far, seemingly from idealism, seemingly to unmask the machine secretly grinding away any remaining semblance of the American republic. Then again, as others have noted, this is a young man who seems to consider himself a citizen of the world. Then again, given that he is a creature of his time, how could he not? What school system in America teaches youngsters pride in the founding of this country?
Is Snowden real? Was he duped? Is he dead? We don't know. Is he a hero? I think so, but if it turns out he is working for China or takes refuge in Russia -- both totalitarian enemies of liberty -- then I will think again.
What I do know for sure is that Edward Snowden has thrown down the gauntlet.
The heroism is up to us.

Did Hillary Clinton's Run for the Presidency End Monday Morning?

Breitbart Big Government ^ | Tuesday, June 11, 2013 | Kristinn Taylor

You wouldn’t know it from the media, but Clinton’s efforts to smash the last glass ceiling has come crashing down around her as the result of a devastating report by CBS News about cover-ups of rampant sex crimes and drug abuse at the State Department under her watch. The report, based on an Inspector General’s memo, included charges of cover-ups of sex assaults on foreign nationals by a State Department security officer in Beirut, an ambassador reprimanded for soliciting prostitutes in his host country, members of Clinton’s own security detail’s “endemic” use of prostitutes while on official trips in foreign countries and a drug-dealing scandal involving security contractors in Baghdad—all covered-up with alleged interference of investigators by higher-ranking staff.
Team Clinton knew Hillary had taken what for others would have been a career-ending hit. In response, Clinton’s debut on Twitter was rushed out within hours of the CBS story breaking. Clinton’s Twitter bio was hastily rewritten after news of her impending Twitter debut was first leaked to select reporters.

(Image from Buzzfeed)
The distraction worked for now. Reporters reacted like schoolgirls, gushing about Clinton’s bio and hipster-wannabe photo on her Twitter homepage.
Curiously, the Inspector General’s memo cited by CBS News is dated October 23, 2012--two weeks before President Barack Obama faced reelection. The release of that memo by a patriotic American back then might have also doomed Obama’s dream of a second term.
Update: Tuesday morning the New York Post poured gasoline on the fire engulfing Clinton’s political career. The Post reports Clinton’s State Department covered-up the child sex exploits of the same ambassador accused of soliciting prostitutes:
(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The angst brought about by the latest revelation we have “leaks” in the vessels we use to gather and hold intelligence concerning the enemies of American interests is heating to a molten consistency already spilling over onto the sensibilities of the average American. The real and easily understood fact the United States government, no matter thecolor of the ideology (Red State or Blue State) in power, shows the sanctity of the American dream of governmental non-interference in individuals’ personal lives andcommunications is a lie.
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects the individual citizen from unreasonable searches and seizures. It requires a warrant be judicially sanctioned and supported by statements of probable cause. Search and seizure (including arrest) should be limited in scope according to specific information supplied to the issuingcourt, by law enforcement officers swearing to its accuracy.
Progressive elements of the governmental process have distanced themselves from the strict understanding of the constitution as written (and understanding the thoughts and motivations of the original signatories of the document) to interpretations favoring political ideologies. In essence the government, as it gains more and more power from presidential edicts and self-serving governmental actions, pressures the Supreme Courtto rule from the basis of the justices’ personal prejudices and “enlightened Solonic reasoning and judgment.” The judicial findings favor the egos of the all-knowing justices (really?). The breadth, depth and scope of Supreme Court findings are monumental.
Intelligence gatherers say the government MUST have the tools necessary to combat global terrorism and stunt these threats seeking to wreak havoc on Americans. I agree. I don’t want a terrorist getting through to hurt my family. We must stop the covert, vile enemies at the gate.
But, what do we do when government sees the people as the potential enemy. Governments are no more than people aligned by ideology. As that ideology narrows in scope, the mindset narrows as well. They see enemies behind every action, every protest, and every statement in controversy to the government’s actions. These are individual’s actions, but they’re still violations of a common trust developed and espoused in the Constitution of the United States of America and its Bill of Rights.
Those documents are our protections against the possibly detrimental application of law developed unrighteously, not from the assent of the people but by despotic edicts issued by presidents and the self-serving legislation empowering those entrenched in bureaucratic governmental positions.
Watergate, Irangate and the present instances of governmental outreach stomped heavily on the Constitution. The rights of Americans were diluted by political ideologies and the operatives seeking to profit through their association with the administration in power. It was a president and his sycophantic followers ran this ship of state onto the reefs gutting the rights of the people and endangering the principles enumerated in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Intelligence gathering is a must. We must know what are enemies are doing and take every possible step to ensure they don’t succeed. But, who decides who the enemy is? Who defines the symptoms of treason and sedition? When does government become despotic and constricting of simple dissent by people acting from their understanding of their Bill of Rights? When does the disestablishment of those rights to protect the individual from the despotic government, come into force by government?
The accused mustn’t decide the trial’s course because society loses in general and then endangers individuals by precedent.
There’s no balance point in this argument lest it be in favor of the individual being tried. No government should be able to solidify the foundation of despotism based on the peoples’ need for security.
“They, who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”.  Benjamin Franklin
Thanks for listening


Richard J. “Sarge” Garwood runs Thanks For Listening website.  Sarge is a retired Law Enforcement Officer, with 30 years service, a syndicated columnist in Louisiana. Married with 2 sons.
Sarge can be reached at: sgtnipmuc@gmail.com

‘PBS NewsHour’ Plans Layoffs as It Closes Offices (Good News Alert)

NY Times ^ | 6/11/13 | BRIAN STELTER

The “PBS NewsHour,” the signature nightly newscast on public television, is planning its first significant round of layoffs in nearly two decades.

Facing a multimillion-dollar shortfall in the program’s budget, the show’s producer, MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, will close its two offices outside of the Washington, D.C., area — in Denver and San Francisco — and lay off most of the employees there.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


Saddle Up, Wimps, a Wild Ride Is Coming (Charlie Daniels)

CNS News ^ | June 9, 2013 | Charlie Daniels

One of my biggest heroes was my maternal grandfather or "Granddaddy" as I called him. He was born in 1895 and I never knew anyone who fit the description of a "man's man" any better than he did.
He could build a house, a boat, grow crops, handle livestock and supervise the work of other men, a natural leader, master hunter and fisherman, a big man with a heart full of charity and a head full of common sense.
He worked all his life, until he was in his middle 80s, didn't ask for or receive assistance feeding his family, weathered his storms and raised his children with nothing more than his own ingenuity and an abiding faith in his Creator. And, the amazing thing is that he was, by no means, an anomaly. Most of his generation, give or take a little, had the same work ethic and the same abilities and the same sense of responsibility as him.
You could literally have left these men and their families in the wilderness with some seed, some tools, a mule and plow and a bushel of shotgun shells and they could have made it.
They were not only capable, but they were also practical and willing to accept responsibility for the wellbeing of them and theirs. They didn't waste time whining about what might have been and knew how to make do with what they had.
(Excerpt) Read more at cnsnews.com ...

AP Takes Blow-Torch to Obama Presidency

 FoxNews ^ | June 11, 2013 | By LIZ SIDOTI | The Associated Press 

WASHINGTON (AP) — As a candidate, Barack Obama vowed to bring a different, better kind of leadership to the dysfunctional capital. He'd make government more efficient, accountable and transparent. He'd rise above the "small-ball" nature of doing business. And he'd work with Republicans to break Washington paralysis.
You can trust me, Obama said back in 2008. And — for a while, at least — a good piece of the country did.
But with big promises often come big failures — and the potential for big hits to the one thing that can make or break a presidency: credibility.
A series of mounting controversies is exposing both the risks of political promise-making and the limits of national-level governing while undercutting the core assurance Obama made from the outset: that he and his administration would behave differently.
The latest: the government's acknowledgement that, in a holdover from the Bush administration and with a bipartisan Congress' approval and a secret court's authorization, it was siphoning the phone records of millions of American citizens in a massive data-collection effort officials say was meant to protect the nation from terrorism. This came after the disclosure that the government was snooping on journalists.
Also, the IRS' improper targeting of conservative groups for extra scrutiny as they sought tax-exempt status has spiraled into a wholesale examination of the agency, including the finding that it spent $49 million in taxpayer money on 225 employee conferences over the past three years.
At the same time, Obama's immigration reform agenda is hardly a sure thing on Capitol Hill, and debate starting this week on the Senate floor is certain to show deep divisions over it. Gun control legislation is all but dead. And he's barely speaking to Republicans who control the House, much less working with them...
(Excerpt) Read more at nation.foxnews.com ...

Main Core: A List Of Millions Of Americans That Will Be Subject To Detention During Martial Law

The American Dream ^ | 6-11-2013 | Michael Snyder 

Are you on the list? Are you one of the millions of Americans that have been designated a threat to national security by the U.S. government? Will you be subject to detention when martial law is imposed during a major national emergency? As you will see below, there is actually a list that contains the names of at least 8 million Americans known as Main Core that the U.S. intelligence community has been compiling since the 1980s. A recent article on Washington’s Blog quoted a couple of old magazine articles that mentioned this program, and I was intrigued because I didn’t know what it was. So I decided to look into Main Core, and what I found out was absolutely stunning – especially in light of what Edward Snowden has just revealed to the world. It turns out that the U.S. government is not just gathering information on all of us. The truth is that the U.S. government has used this information to create a list of threats to national security that the government would potentially watch, question or even detain during a national crisis. If you have ever been publicly critical of the government, there is a very good chance that you are on that list.
The following is how Wikipedia describes Main Core…
Main Core is the code name of a database maintained since the 1980s by the federal government of the United States. Main Core contains personal and financial data of millions of U.S. citizens believed to be threats to national security. The data, which comes from the NSA, FBI, CIA, and other sources, is collected and stored without warrants or court orders. The database’s name derives from the fact that it contains “copies of the ‘main core’ or essence of each item of intelligence information on Americans produced by the FBI and the other agencies of the U.S. intelligence community.”

It was Christopher Ketchum of Radar Magazine that first reported on the existence of Main Core. At the time, the shocking information that he revealed did not get that much attention. That is quite a shame, because it should have sent shockwaves across the nation…

According to a senior government official who served with high-level security clearances in five administrations, “There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously.” He and other sources tell Radar that the database is sometimes referred to by the code name Main Core. One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.

Of course, federal law is somewhat vague as to what might constitute a “national emergency.” Executive orders issued over the last three decades define it as a “natural disaster, military attack, [or] technological or other emergency,” while Department of Defense documents include eventualities like “riots, acts of violence, insurrections, unlawful obstructions or assemblages, [and] disorder prejudicial to public law and order.” According to one news report, even “national opposition to U.S. military invasion abroad” could be a trigger.

So if that list contained 8 million names all the way back in 2008, how big might it be today?

Read More: http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/main-core-a-list-of-millions-of-americans-that-will-be-subject-to-detention-during-a-national-crisis

A Meeting On Tolerance Turns Into A Shouting Match ("Hate Speech not protected by First Amendment")

NPR ^ | 06/11/2013 | BLAKE FARMER

The public meeting in Manchester, Tenn., about 70 miles from Nashville, was supposed to address and tamp down discrimination toward Muslims there.
But instead it turned into a shouting match.
Bill Killian, the local U.S. attorney who organized the meeting, told the people in attendance that hate speech was not protected by the First Amendment. Over the last few years, there have been tensions between Muslims and many Christians in Tennessee. A Coffee County commissioner recently posted a picture on Facebook of a man with one eye looking down the sights of a shotgun, with the caption: "how to wink at a Muslim." The photo went viral.
Killian never directly referenced the Facebook post. But he did say that someone didn't have to follow through for a threat to be a hate crime. "If someone makes threats of violence, that is not protected speech, and they will be prosecuted," he said.
At first, Killian tried to keep from talking over the hecklers. One attendee yelled "traitor!" at him as he spoke. But as they went on, he gave up and kept his head down, following his prepared remarks on the lectern as hundreds in Manchester, Tennessee, shouted "go home" and called him a "serpent."
He slipped out of the meeting and declined to comment about his remarks.
The heckling didn't stop with Killian. An FBI agent who spoke and Muslim advocate Sabina Mohyuddin were greeted with jeers.
"In 2007, a mosque was burned down in Columbia, Tennessee," she said. But many in the crown cheered that statement. "Shame on you," Mohyuddin said in response.
Three men were convicted of hate crimes in that case.
Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the mood at the meeting felt like people should be carrying "pitchforks and torches."
But the county's mayor, David Pennington, said he disagreed with that characterization of the area's residents.
"We're not just a bunch of old country hicks out here, sitting on the side of the road whittling," he said. Pennington said that the residents were offended because they didn't like being scolded by the federal government. "I think a lot of people were offended that the U.S. attorney was coming down here to give us a lecture."
Pennington also said that many of the loudest protesters at the meeting weren't locals. Indeed, activists from around the country — including Pam Gellar, the blogger and author of "Stop The Islamicization of America" — were outside stirring up the crowd with bullhorns and waving American flags.
"This is the line in the sand!" Gellar yelled.
Some of the protesters said that the federal government was playing favorites with religions and giving special protections to Islam. Tim Cummings of Nashville, which is 70 miles away, said that he respected Muslim beliefs until they begin infringing on his own First Amendment rights.
"When I'm being told that if I post something which they might interpret as being inflammatory or I will be subject to criminal or civil penalties, yeah, that's being infringed upon," he said.
But he said the heckling was inappropriate and likely hurt their cause.
Remziya Suleyman, who belongs to a lobbying organization called the American Center for Outreach, said the yelling was intimidating but also emboldening.
"If it was to scare us off, if it was to push us away in anyway, it actually did the opposite for me," she said.

Ellsberg: Snowden’s NSA leak more important than my Pentagon Papers

Yahoo ^ 

Daniel Ellsberg, whose leak of the so-called Pentagon Papers to The New York Times in 1971 exposed the secret history of the war in Vietnam, thinks Edward Snowden's leak of the National Security Agency's surveillance programs was more important than his.
"In my estimation, there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden's release of NSA material, and that definitely includes the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago," Ellsberg wrote in an op-ed published by the Guardian on Monday. "Snowden's whistleblowing gives us the possibility to roll back a key part of what has amounted to an 'executive coup' against the U.S. constitution."
Ellsberg added on CNN Sunday night that “it can’t be overestimated to this democracy. It gives us a chance, I think, from drawing back from the total surveillance state that we could say we’re in process of becoming, I’m afraid we have become.
Government claims it has a court warrant under Fisa – but that unconstitutionally sweeping warrant is from a secret court, shielded from effective oversight, almost totally deferential to executive requests. As Russell Tice, a former National Security Agency analyst, put it: "It is a kangaroo court with a rubber stamp."
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...

Drug Combo Helps Immune System Fight Tumors

ScienceNOW ^ | 30 May 2013 | Jocelyn Kaiser

Double whammy. Combining a SIRPa protein (CV1 mono) and the cancer drug rituximab virtually wiped out tumors in mice after 29 days.
Credit: Adapted From K. Weiskopf et al., Science (2013)

To avoid being destroyed by our immune systems, cancer cells engage in a bit of trickery. As they divide to form tumors, they fly under the radar of macrophages, immune cells whose job it is to ingest dead cells and dangerous invaders. Today, many cancer patients are treated with antibody drugs that work in part by marking tumor cells for destruction by macrophages. Although these drugs have extended lives, they don't always work very well—partly because cancer cells fight back by sending a "don't eat me" signal to the immune cells. Now, researchers have created a small protein that shuts off this signal and dramatically boosts the power of antibody drugs to shrink tumors in mice.
Stem cell biologist Irving Weissman of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, has been studying a protein responsible for broadcasting this "don't eat me" signal. Known as CD47, it protects leukemia cells and other cancer cells from rampaging macrophages. Last year, Weissman's group reported that an antibody that blocks CD47 on the cancer cells can spur macrophages to destroy tumors in mice. The anti-CD47 antibody will soon be tested for safety in humans with $20 million in funding from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
As promising as this approach is, antibodies have drawbacks—their relatively large size limits how easily they can penetrate tumors, for example, and they can have toxic side effects—so Weissman's group has also teamed up with structural biologist Christopher Garcia's lab at Stanford to test a different way of blocking CD47. Garcia's team and Weissman describe the new work today online in Science.
The collaborators began by studying a protein called SIRPα that pokes out from the surface of macrophages and connects with CD47 to receive the tumor cell's "don't eat me" signal. Their idea was to block CD47 with a free-floating, synthetic form of SIRPα that was engineered so that the macrophage's real SIRPα couldn't latch onto the cancer cell and be tricked into leaving it alone. Garcia's lab synthesized many versions of the SIRPα protein, determined their structures, and found that two forms bound 50,000 times more tightly to CD47 than the natural SIRPα receptor.
Added to a petri dish of cancer cells and macrophages, the synthetic SIRPα proteins didn't do much—the macrophages still ignored the cancer cells. However, when the researchers threw in a tumor-specific antibody drug, which they realized was needed to draw the macrophages' attention to the cancer cells in the first place, the combination packed a powerful punch in cell cultures as well in mice implanted with cancer cells. For example, while lymphoma tumors merely grew more slowly in mice given either the drug rituximab or SIRPα proteins, the tumors virtually disappeared for at least 7 months in most mice treated with both drugs. And adding SIRPα to the breast cancer drug Herceptin shrank tumors faster in mice with the disease. "SIRPα weakens the cancer cell's ability to protect itself from destruction," Garcia explains.
Because the synthetic SIRPα proteins are relatively nontoxic, Garcia and Weissman hope that they can find funding to quickly develop them into an experimental drug. "I would like to see this tested in humans as soon as possible," Garcia says.
Cancer immunologist Drew Pardoll of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, says that the idea of blocking CD47 with a small protein instead of a large antibody is "pretty nifty. I'm not aware that this sort of approach has been taken before." However, he cautions that as with other new treatments that work by lifting the brakes on the immune system, there could be side effects. "These negative regulatory pathways aren't there for no reason at all" but can have important roles for normal cells, he says. For example, the CD47 "don't eat me" signal also protects red blood cells from destruction by the immune system.
University of Amsterdam cell biologist Timo van den Berg adds that while "the data are quite convincing and exciting," because CD47 is expressed on most cells in the body, these cells will suck up the SIRPα protein, which could make it difficult to get enough to the tumor cells. His own group is working on an antibody that blocks the SIRPα receptor, which appears mainly on macrophages, as a way of preventing these immune cells from receiving the cancer cell's deceptive message. Garcia responds that although he thinks his team's approach will work well in patients, "certainly blocking from the other direction is a viable strategy and worth looking at."

Genetic research clarifies link between hypertension and vitamin D deficiency

Science Codex ^ | June 10, 2013 | NA

Paris, France: Low levels of vitamin D can trigger hypertension, according to the world's largest study to examine the causal association between the two. Although observational studies have already shown this link, a large-scale genetic study was necessary before the cause and effect could be proven, the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG) will hear today (Tuesday).
Dr. Vimal Karani S, from the Institute of Child Health, University College London, London, UK, will tell the meeting that data from the D-CarDia collaboration, involving 35 studies, over 155,000 individuals, and numerous centres in Europe and North America, showed that those with high concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) had reduced blood pressure and therefore a reduced risk of hypertension. "We knew from earlier observational studies that low 25(OH)D concentrations were likely to be associated with increases in blood pressure and hypertension, but correlation is not causality", he says. "Additionally, randomised controlled trials of vitamin D supplementation in humans have produced inconsistent effects on cardiovascular outcomes. The whole picture was somewhat confused, and we decided to try to figure it out once and for all."
The researchers used genetic variants known as single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs*, as proxy markers to reflect individual's vitamin D status in order to test for a causal association with blood pressure and hypertension. When the results were analysed, they found a significant link; for every 10% increase in 25(OH)D concentrations, there was a 8.1% decrease in the risk of developing hypertension.
"Even with the likely presence of unobserved confounding factors", Dr. Karani S will say, "the approach we followed, known as Mendelian randomisation, allows us to draw conclusions about causality because the genetic influence on disease is not affected by confounding. To put it in simple terms, by using this approach we can determine the cause and effect and be pretty sure that we've come to the right conclusion on the subject."
Low vitamin D status is common throughout the western world, the researchers say, and hence these data have important public health implications. The best-known manifestation of vitamin D deficiency is the childhood bone disease rickets, where long bones are weakened by the deficiency and start to bend. Recently, however, Vitamin D has been implicated in a number of other non-skeletal-related conditions, but studies involving supplementation have given conflicting results.
"Our study strongly suggests that some cases of cardiovascular disease could be prevented through vitamin D supplements or food fortification", says Dr. Karani S. "Our new data provide further support for the important non-skeletal effects of vitamin D. We now intend to continue this work by examining the causal relationship between vitamin D status and other cardiovascular disease-related outcomes such as lipid-related phenotypes, for example, cholesterol, inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein, and type 2 diabetes and markers of glucose metabolism. We believe that we still have a lot to find out about the effect of Vitamin D deficiency on health, and we now know that we have the tools to do so."
Source: European Society of Human Genetics

The Next Obama Scandal


Scandal number five: Insider-trading probe of Medicare announcement reveals hundreds of HHS.....

Hot Air ^ | 11:21 am on June 10, 2013 | Allahpundit

Is this scandal number five or number six? There’s Benghazi, the IRS, the DOJ snooping on reporters, Sebelius shaking down health executives for ObamaCare contributions, and now the NSA/PRISM/Snowden mega-clusterfark. This new WaPo story makes six. No, wait — seven. Ed just posted on the State Department covering up misconductWe’re going to need a bigger boat.
Actually, there are two potential scandals here. One is HHS tossing around what was supposed to be sensitive information to a huge swath of employees in-house. The other scandal is who actually leaked it, assuming anyone did. It might not have come from HHS at all but rather from some old-fashioned Beltway congressional/lobbyist incest. As with most of the other Obama scandals, this story is less about O himself than about the foreseeable abuses that result as the federal whale grows. You can have bigger government or you can have more accountable government. The guy who signed ObamaCare into law has made his choice.
Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) told The Washington Post late last week that his office reviewed the e-mail records of employees at the Department of Health and Human Services and found that 436 of them had early access to the Medicare decision as much as two weeks before it was made public…
“In the statistical agencies, where the handling of sensitive information is their bread and butter, they’re very serious about confidentiality,” said Keith Hall, a former commissioner at the Bureau of Labor Statistics who has spent more than two decades in government. “But in other parts of the government that handle policy issues, there’s a whole different level of treatment.”
Hall said employees in other parts of the government, including the Medicare office, are not subject to the same types of potential consequences as employees at statistical agencies, who can land in prison for up to five years and face a fine of a quarter of a million dollars for disclosing information early.
Giving hundreds of government employees advance notice of a policy decision “is way too many,” said Hall, now a senior fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center. “I’ve done my share of working on policy issues and policy decisions, and you just don’t spread that stuff around like that.”
A brokerage firm in D.C. announced late in the trading day on April 1 that a decision to boost funding for Medicare Advantage was forthcoming. Shares of Humana and Aetna skyrocketed. Later that day, after the markets had closed, the feds confirmed that, indeed, another $8 billion would be plowed into the program. So who at HHS blabbed? Maybe no one: Per WaPo and this WSJ report from a few weeks ago, the feds seem to be interested in a lobbyist who — ta da — used to work as a health-care policy advisor to Chuck Grassley himself and who now specializes in “political intelligence.” (He also had a “role” in writing ObamaCare, per the WSJ, and used to work on health-care legislation with someone who’s now a “senior official” at CMS, the division of HHS that made the decision on increasing funding for Medicare Advantage.) The SEC knows he was communicating with at least one current staffer in Grassley’s office; the question is whether that staffer slipped the information on the Medicare decision to the lobbyist or whether the lobbyist somehow “guessed” that Medicare funding would be increased based on tidbits of info he gleaned from various sources on the Hill. Even if it’s the latter, with no one having directly fed him confidential information, the surge in Humana/Aetna shares based on his analysis is a direct result of his access to government’s major players. When a former Grassley advisor and colleague of a bigwig at CMS tells you that he thinks a windfall’s coming, you listen. Big government takes care of its alumni.
No wonder those alumni are unhappy about this SEC probe:
The episode is sending tremors through Washington’s world of policy experts, lobbyists and Wall Street researchers. The investigation has signaled that federal prosecutors are trying to clamp down on what they see as the capital’s loose oversight of market-moving information.
More broadly, it has shaken a city where acquiring and sharing information is a basic tool of business. Some insiders say the traditional ways of operating may need to change.
It “is astounding that so many in Washington view the trading of unreleased government information as simply ‘business as usual,’” said William Pewen, a former Republican health-care aide who also was on the Senate Finance Committee.
Task one for the SEC is finding out who leaked the Medicare Advantage scoop. Task two is taking a hard look at movement in Humana’s and Aetna’s shares in the weeks before the news dropped and seeing if any HHS employees who knew what was coming had any investment epiphanies. As for HHS itself, this is a timely reminder of something that the NSA and Booz Allen are learning today the hard way: The sloppier you are about controlling access to sensitive information, the more certain it is that you’ll be haunted by it eventually. Even if no one exploited the Medicare Advantage decision this time, it’ll happen going forward if hundreds of people continue to receive sensitive scoops. That’s simple probability. And that points to an irony of Scandalmania: Whatever else comes from all this policy-wise, the one guaranteed result is tighter secrecy protocols within a government that already treats as secret too much information that isn’t truly sensitive. Information will get tighter, there’ll be more disaffected Snowdens trying to leak it, and of course more lobbyists making a buck on their special access to the many Washington secrets that haven’t leaked. The cycle of big-government life.

Is Barack Obama a communist? I don’t know. But here are five things I do know.

wordpress ^ | October 17, 2012 | Dan from Squirrel Hill 

1) The Obama administration spent $1.6 million to restore graffiti that glorified communist murderers Che Guevara and Fidel Castro.

2) During Hispanic Heritage Month, the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency honored communist mass murderer Che Guevara when it emailed the following picture to its employees:

3) Obama nominated Van Jones, a self described communist, to be his green czar.
4) Anita Dunn, Obama’s White House Communications Director, said that one of her favorite political philosophers was Mao Tse-tung, the Chinese communist dictator who murdered tens of millions of innocent civilians.
5) President Obama gave Dolores Huerta the Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that can be given to a civilian. Huerta has praisedHugo Chavez, the Venezuelan communist dictator who has repeatedly used the military to seize food from private owners. Chavez also had butchers arrested, held at a military base, and strip searched for running out of beef. In addition, he shut down a TV station that criticized him. Chavez placed a “luxury tax” on toilet paper. After Chavez seized farmland from farmers, he stated, “The land is not private. It is the property of the state.” He has seized many supermarkets from their owners, and under government ownership, the shelves in these supermarkets are often empty. Chavez’s mismanagement of the nationalized oil industry is so severe that the country has actually had to import gasoline, despite having some of the hugest oil reserves in the world. Chavez’s takeovers have also caused severe damage to the steel industry, the cement industry, the construction industry, the telephone industry, and the electric industry. He has also caused a brain drain, with many of the most intelligent and well educated people fleeing the country.
Meanwhile, Lech Walesa was a major participant in the defeat of communism in Eastern Europe. National Review wrote:
Lech Walesa was once a trade-union activist. He was often arrested for speaking his mind against Communist oppression behind the Iron Curtain in Poland and for defying the Soviet Union. He was an electrician who, with no higher education, led one of the most profound freedom movements of the 20th century — Solidarity. He became president of Poland and swept in reforms, pushing the Soviet Union out of his homeland and moving the country toward a free-market economy and individual liberty.
But President Obama wouldn’t even let Walesa in the White House.
Obama gave the highest civilian award to someone who wants the U.S. to copy the policies of communist dictator Hugo Chavez. And at the same time, Obama refused to let an anti-communist hero into the White House

Press Offices


Getting Stoned


Clicking on your phone!


Taxpayer Spelling Bee








Deal with the devil!


Call me Congresswoman!


Numbers don't lie!


Screw You!


Pssst! QUIET!


I know nothing!


We'll get you!


Hot Meals




Obama's future


Excuse Meter